One of the most common problems you’d encounter as a dog parents is your dog’s disruptive behavior when left alone. They might urinate, defecate, howl, bark or chew excessively. In many cases this may indicate that your dog is under stress. If this kind of behavior is associated with you leaving the house, it may very well mean that your dog has separation anxiety.
Your dog experiences separation anxiety when they are upset about their parent or guardian leaving. It is quite common for them to try and escape during which they end up damaging property or injuring themselves.
Separation anxiety is typically exhibited when your dog’s guardian prepares to leave. They may prevent you from leaving, become depressed; they may begin barking excessively or may show signs of distress shortly after being left alone. On returning you might find them curled up in a corner or they may greet you with a response showing as if you’ve been gone for years.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
Urinating and Defecation
Dogs with separation anxiety usually urinate and defecate in the absence of their guardian. If they do it while their parents are around, then it is not classified as separation anxiety.
Barking and Howling
Your dog may bark and howl when left alone. This may be persistent in nature and only stop when their parents return.
Chewing, Digging and Destruction
Some dogs tend to chew objects, door frames, window sills and other household objects when they are feeling anxious. This kind of behavior is really harmful for your dog as it might injure them, break their teeth because injuries in the mouth and on the face and damage nails. Dogs don’t exhibit this kind of behavior when their parent is around
If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, they may try to escape from the area they are confined in. They may attempt to dig around the door or chew through it, hurting themselves in the process.
Some dogs with separation anxiety walk along a specific pathway in a fixed pattern when left alone. Some may move in a circular fashion and some might walk in a straight line.
How to treat it?
Take your dog to the vet to rule out other causes of this disruptive behavior. It may be due to ongoing infections or hormone problems. When this is done and it is proven that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you can start with keeping them busy while you are gone. Leave them some treats, puzzle games and toys like Babble Ball to play and be entertained with for hours on end. Make sure when you come back home you don’t make a big deal out of it. Ignore your dog the first few times when you come home so that he gets used to it.