Pluto, a 5-year-old mixed-breed finally was adopted by a family of three. Initially, he was described as a hairy male dog but that’s what made Alley fall in love with the golden furball. However, the problem was that Pluto showed severe signs of separation anxiety in dogs. Originally the impulsive chewing, digging, and tearing things apart when no one was around in the house. However new owners had to focus on Pluto’s training and behavioral problems.
Dog separation anxiety symptoms are more common than you think. It’s quite a big challenge for a new dog owner to help their dogs to gain trust and sincerity in the first go.
Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
If you ever notice, puppy separation anxiety at night is rather prominent because they are restless and keep getting up even from a little bit of sound or even a crack at the window.
Dogs have a special bond with their owners. If you have adopted a stray dog, then chances are it’s going to be a tough ride for both of you, because you are not aware of things the dog’s been through. If the bond between the owner and dog is shattered, or even consider the environment is changed, the anxiety would kick in.
Besides, some of the genuinely common signs of separation anxiety in dogs published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science also include:
1. Consistent Destruction
Some dogs have a history of destruction/damaging things because of their anxiety. You may experience a dog tearing through the couch and so on.
2. Anxious Behavior
Pacing, whining, trembling are the most common signs of puppy separation anxiety from the owner.
Excessive barking or howling if they come in contact with an unfamiliar face is highly common.
4. Dog Accidents
These are more like accidents like urinating or defecating that are clear signs your dog is having anxiety.
5. Running Away
If your dog keeps chasing the door, the truth is he is anxious or depressed for some reason enough to run away such as they may fear confinement.
This is an unfortunate situation for the dog owner and for the dog, but before you can take a remedial step towards your dog’s healthy life, you need to become familiar with the reasons behind this erratic behavior.
Reasons for Severe Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Experts can say much on the matter, but as humans, all animals are prone to anxiety and depression. Different factors are involved that may trigger separation anxiety in dogs.
1. Containment Phobia
Due to their past history, a dog may hate to be confined inside the cage. Sure, you got the dog crate and dog gate but is your dog ready for this? The stress of isolation will kick in rather quickly.
2. Rescue Dog Separation Anxiety
If you get to adopt a rescue dog, the most trouble you will face is to feed them. Now every rescue dog has been through some trauma that had a large impact on them. For instance, dogs may refuse to eat in some cases.
3. New Environment
One of the most common triggers of anxiety in puppies is once they get adopted. It’s a new phase of life, totally unprepared for, and therefore switching schedules or moving to a new house can be the reason behind it too.
Even dogs feel lonely, especially when the owner spends too much time at home, doing remote work, and then suddenly returns to work or school or goes on long holidays – then the dog is spending all of his time alone rather than with you. Puppies especially are more prone to home isolation.
5. Traumatic Events
Every dog has a past good or bad, so as a dutiful dog owner identify if your dog has been through some trauma ever. A dog’s time at shelter or boarding kennels can often lead to PTSD too!
Foolproof Ways to Overcome Separation Anxiety in Puppies
Puppies are more vulnerable to having anxiety attacks. It’s definitely exhausting to come home and find everything’s a mess. It’s more devastating for the dog himself, as he cannot speak to you but the good or erratic behavior of your dog speaks for itself.
So according to the Tufts Animal behavior Clinic states,
“You need to teach your dog to enjoy or at least train and help them develop the much needed behavioral skills so that they feel okay when left alone for a while”.
So you can begin with a series of ways to stop separation anxiety in puppies like;
1. Start the Crate Training
Dogs are your best friend, your ally. But it’s important, as a puppy’s separation anxiety solutions to train them to behave. Crate training is an effective way if used appropriately. It is an important training tool to teach your puppy, from an early age, to just sit by himself for a while, and to relax without any worries. You can put the chew toys for dogs so that they do have something to do about it. Sometimes, dogs feel safer when inside their crates. But remember, the goal is not to scare your dog but to make sure when he is put inside the crate he is safe and sound.
How will your dog develop positive associations with separation anxiety? This question may ruffle up your feathers. So you need to train your puppy with the “separation rewards”. For instance, if you have been out for long, possibly the entire day, your dog is already anxious to see you. Therefore you can reward him with a homemade dog treat or a dog chew toy. Repeat this on occasions.
This way your puppy will stop panicking over time.
3. Physical Activity
One cannot say for sure if exercises can be helpful in reducing the anxiety symptoms in dogs, but physical activities are away from preventing any further episodes. Especially for large dog breeds, this technique is quite helpful. Once the dog exerts their energy into outdoor activities they won’t feel neglect as you spend time with them playing or exercising. Training your dog for a fitness regime is workable too.
4. Be Cool
If your dog shows clinginess – step away. That’s right. You do not need to encourage your dog’s clinginess to you otherwise home isolation will become a terrible two for him. You must teach your dog by leaving home for short times and then for a bit longer duration and so on. Even most of us do this with our kids too so that they can learn, right? The same goes for your dog too.
5. Vital Supplements
Sometimes dogs vitamins play a more crucial role when counter-conditioning is not enough. So at such times, the vet recommends using dog medication like amitriptyline (to treat depression) or to boost your dog’s immunity by giving them vitamin supplements.
Separation anxiety in dogs is curable if you take proper precautions to prevent it. Put your best efforts for your paw friend.