Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures

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Canine Separation Anxiety
Canine Separation Anxiety Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Canine separation anxiety symptoms can manifest in many ways. Often the first indications is negative types of behaviour from your dog.

These negative behaviors may include:

  • Digging, chewing, and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to escape and reunite with their owners.
  • Howling, barking, and crying in an attempt to get their owner’s attention and let them know that they need for them to return.
  • Urination and defecation in various places in the house; even with housetrained dogs


A dog that exhibits these types of behaviors while his master is home, as well as when they leave, is not suffering from separation anxiety. A dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious specifically due to separation from his owner. The negative and destructive behavior that ensues is a genuine panic response from the anxious dog. A dog with separation anxiety is not acting out of boredom or lack of training or exercise, even though plenty of exercise can tire the dog to the point that he is contented to be less active when the owner is away.

Making the distinction between a misbehaving dog and a dog stricken with separation anxiety is very important. It is widely believed by vets and dog behaviorists that misunderstood separation anxiety is the number two reason for the euthanization of dogs in America. A dog that is acting out negatively, for any number of reasons, can be punished and trained to achieve positive results. A dog acting out due to fear and anxiety is a different story, and requires a different approach.

The owner of a dog with separation anxiety must realize that they can’t punish away the anxiety that results from separation. The approach and methods needed to deal with these separate behavioral issues are exclusive to the issue, making it extremely important to ascertain whether a dog is suffering separation anxiety or simply behaving badly when given the opportunity.


Canine separation anxiety: Consider these behaviours:

Before deciding that a dog does or doesn’t have separation anxiety, consider these behaviors that are indicative of separation anxiety:

•     The dog chews on a variety of household items, often focusing on items that smell most like his owner, such as recently worn clothes. This includes underwear or socks, which may have a stronger owner scent that other articles of clothing. 

•     The dog only chews these items when his owner is gone. If the dog chews on his owner’s possessions even when the owner is around, there is a different problem.

•    The dog tries to stay close to or lie on items that smell most of his owner. This probably explains why an otherwise well-behaved dog disregards his boundaries and gets on the owner’s sofa or favorite chair when the owner is away. 

•    The dog, although completely house broken, urinates and/ or defecates in numerous places in the home. 

•    The dog barks continuously during his owner’s absence; the barking is not on-off-on-off, but consistent for the duration of his owner’s absence. You won’t be there to hear it, but your neighbors will probably let you know about it. Or, if you suspect that this is happening and don’t have neighbors close enough to hear the dog barking, you may want to leave a recording device going while you’re away from home. 

•    The dog always shows these behaviors when left alone, even for short periods of thirty minutes and under.

•    The dog is overly excited to greet his owner and remains stressed, anxious, and clingy for some time after his owner returns.

•    The otherwise well trained and obedient dog shows no shame or remorse for destroyed and chewed items.

•    Destruction begins soon after the owner leaves. You can test this one by leaving for a few minutes and then coming back home and seeing if the dog has already started chewing, urinating or defecating, has already been on the furniture, or engaged in other destructive behavior. 

•    The dog cannot be isolated from his owner at any time without exhibiting negative behavior; even in a different nearby room with the door closed.

•    The dog gets increasingly distressed as his owner indicates that he is preparing to leave the home. The dog may start following you and whimpering when you put your shoes or coat on, or grab your purse, or take the car keys off the key peg.

•    The dog is constantly following his owner from room to room, demanding attention. Every time you get out of your seat, the dog will get up and follow you to wherever you go. If you go into the bathroom and close the door, he may sit at the door and whine until you come back out. 

•    The dog dislikes spending time outside alone, and may act like you are punishing him when you put him outside unless you go outside with him.

Whatever the individual behaviors exhibited, if a dog is experiencing any form of separation anxiety it is very important to investigate the cause as well as a possible solution to the unwanted actions.

When a dog with separation anxiety is not redirected to feel secure while alone, his chances of remaining in a happy and healthy environment are slim.

Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures