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Dog Separation Anxiety

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One of the extremely common problems that the average dog owner experiences is dog separation anxiety. At the low end of the scale, anxiety is often irritating, causing your dog to bark whenever you leave your house. Yet, if it is permitted to escalate, your dog may begin to destroy your home, creating messes, or barking continuously for hours if you leave.

The Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety

Dogs are pack animals. They feel a direct connection to their owners so when you leave the home, they may become distressed. Having said that, a lot of the anxiety they experience is a result of the attachment of certain actions you take to your absence. Although dogs don't like it when you leave, there is absolutely no direct reason for them to grow so agitated.

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It occurs because you give them attention before and after you leave or else you go through the same routine each morning. Their behaviors are reinforced every day and the outcome is a dog that is unable to control his anxious feelings whenever you go out.

Reducing Dog Separation Anxiety

There are numerous ways to lessen the anxiety your dog feels if you leave your house. Here are some of the easiest techniques.

  • Change Your Routine – Begin by varying your morning routine. If your dog begins acting strange the minute your alarm clock goes off, he has tagged that sound to the process of you leaving the home. Wake up at various times, get dressed earlier, take your keys down prior to leaving and hang around for a while. Small modifications will decrease pre-leaving anxiety.
  • Do Not Reinforce It – Whenever you pet your dog before leaving or lavish him with attention when you arrive home, you are just reinforcing the behavior. The simplest way to lessen separation anxiety is to remove the connection between your comings and goings and their attention. Ignore your dog for 10-15 minutes when you get home, do not pet him when you leave and stop giving in whenever he makes unhappy noises. This may be practised with crate training or placing him in a separate room within your house then leaving and returning in intervals.
  • Building Up to Longer Periods – If your dog becomes anxious the minute you go out of the door, begin working on departing the house for shorter time periods. Leave for just a few seconds and then return. Dog separation anxiety is treatable by altering the dog’s expectations for how long you will be absent and when you will return. If he discovers you are returning every time, you'll be able to extend the length of time you can leave each time.

You are Not Being Mean

A lot of people believe that the solutions to anxiety are cruel to the dog. In fact, you are helping your dog to calm down and understand that you are not only coming back home but that you are in charge of the domain so there's no reason for him to feel such anxiety. Decreased separation anxiety is beneficial for your dog's well being – both physical and mental.

If your dog has lengthy periods of serious anxiety issues, you must deal with it immediately. Even if your dog just becomes upset and does not damage anything when you leave, you are able to significantly lessen his feelings of abandonment if you train him not to connect your comings and goings with the pack order and his survival.

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For help with puppy separation anxiety and whining
, visit

Puppy Separation Anxiety | How to Stop Puppy Whining


Does your dog become distressed,
cry and whine when you leave him alone?

Secrets to Dog TrainingIf you answered "Yes" to this question, I strongly recommend that you take a look at Secrets to Dog Training.  This comprehensive and easily understood course will put an end to your dog's separation anxiety FAST! 

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If you prefer an online video course, Dove Cresswell's Puppy & Dog Training is another great option.