How Can I Help My Dog Manage Separation Anxiety? Help Needed Here!

Dogs can experience separation anxiety too. When they do, it can be destructive, noisy, and problematic. They will defecate, pee, chew, howl, and dig like crazy when left unaccompanied for long. It’s a fact that you can train your dog to be polite and disciplined, but distress can sometimes get the best of them. When you go home after a long day away, you will be welcomed with shreds of your couch, poo everywhere, and a neighbor that’s fuming due to the intense howling. All these could have been managed using the best dog crate for separation anxiety and some tips.

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Some signs of separation anxiety may take place when the dog sees you preparing to go out. They can learn your “morning drill”. The next scenario is you’re bargaining with them to release your shoe from their mouth. This spikes their stress levels, much so if they see you exiting the door. As much as this is normal to some point of emotional attachment, it could be a bit upsetting when they start to be destructive.

Simulated vs. true anxiety

While it’s true that your pooch can be under intense stress when you leave, some doggos tend to simulate the symptoms. They do this to grab your attention. With that, we’ve arrived at two types of anxiety: the simulated and the true one.

Simulated separation anxiety is a learned behavior. Over the course of petting and saying your goodbyes, your dog learns that you pay attention when they behave as such. This is usually tagged as a behavioral problem and lack of discipline. Even a negative response to the rude behavior can give the satisfaction that he needs. He feels as though he is noticed.

But when it comes to the true separation anxiety, the dog experiences real stress. It’s not just misbehavior, although it could be tricky to tell. But whatever your dog is exhibiting, it’s important that you address it with equal importance.

Causes of separation anxiety in dogs

As what it indicates, separation anxiety happens when the pet owner leaves the doggo alone for a long period. Since a lot of dogs are used to pampering and companionship, they long for the presence of their human. They become sad and fearful due to the insecurity brought by being alone and locked up.

Instead of managing separation anxiety in dogs, pet owners unknowingly add up to the problem. They make a big deal out of the fact that they are leaving the house. They hug, pet, and give their buddies endless kisses. Such habits are also done when they arrive home. Over time, your dog will associate this reward of affection to his concern and flustered behavior.

As much as dogs can be trained to be independent and to behave when alone, they will reach an age when they need companionship the most. It’s either you train them to crate or hire a pet sitter.

You also have to recognize that some breeds are inclined to dig, chase, and run. If you contain them in an enclosed area, you deprive them of that freedom. Soon, they will associate your presence with the liberty to run outdoors. And when you leave, they are going to exhibit separation anxiety.

Sometimes, separation anxiety in dogs is caused by the lack of leadership of the owner. They yearn for the cuddles and smooches that they fail to establish their independence. Managing separation anxiety in dogs is better done with Cesar Milan’s mantra: exercise, discipline, and affection as the last.

Possible symptoms

It’s quite hard to tell basically if a dog is experiencing true anxiety or just simulating it. But whatever it is, such behavior is still the cause of concern among pet owners. Based on my experience and the advice of veterinarians, these are the common symptoms of separation anxiety in canines:

Destruction. Mostly, this takes place to households with hound breeds. They will dig, chew, and scratch everywhere. It’s their way of venting out their stress or trying to escape the house. Aside from the material damage, such behavior can also cause injuries to the dog’s mouth, nails, and paws.

Defecating. Dogs experiencing separation anxiety will usually “plant bombs” all over the house. If that behavior doesn’t usually happen when you’re around, it’s a red flag for separation anxiety. Some dogs also exhibit coprophagia or eating their own stool.

Loud howling or barking. Consistent loud barking and howling when you’re away is one of the telltale signs of separation anxiety in dogs. Unfortunately, some dogs won’t stop until you get home. This can put you in a big trouble with the neighborhood.

Trying to escape. Is the back of your door filled with scratches? Or is the mesh wire of your window chewed and half-removed? If this happened when you’re away, your dog is probably trying to escape to follow you. It’s advisable to use the best dog crate for separation anxiety in this case.

These are just some of the possible symptoms. If you’re thinking whether it’s simulated or not, you can install a hidden cam. If your dog exhibits most of these without you in sight, it’s usually the real thing.

Not sure if your dog has separation anxiety? Check this video from dog expert Zak George:

Dog breeds prone to anxiety

All dogs can experience this emotional problem from time to time. But there are some breeds that have higher risks of developing separation anxiety. These doggos are usually the breeds used for companionship or herding. The likes of German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Bichon Frise, and Vizsla are more likely to have this behavior.

If you’re going to leave them alone most of the time, you might as well get a companion dog they can live with. Just take note that not all doggos like the presence of other pets.

How dog training tames separation anxiety

In my opinion, much of the negative behavior shown during a bout of separation anxiety is related to discipline. If you raise your pup with proper training, the doggo will learn to stay behaved. Dogs are intelligent beings; they can learn what is expected of them. If you reward good behavior and punish the bad, they will become good-natured pets.

Obedience training will help your dog treat good behavior as a habit. You should target to teach your pet to feel sorry for showing rude behavior without any verbal or physical indication.

All of these will happen only if you’re willing to send them to training classes. It’s not enough that you hold weekly drills – you have to be consistent with training. Make it a habit to give your dog some tasks from time to time to have their obedience in check.

When you go out for walks, ask him to sit on the sidewalk with you. You can also train him to sit whenever you stop and talk to someone you’ve bumped into. These little steps paired with socialization should teach them restraint with their behavior.

Managing separation anxiety in dogs

It’s important that you deal with separation anxiety the moment the symptoms show. By managing separation anxiety in dogs, there would be no problem when you arrive home. This condition is very easy to correct if you just point out some contributing factors. Here are some of the steps you can take to help your dog overcome their emotional problem:

Don’t throw so much fuss when leaving

Stop that vigorous petting and endless kisses. It just makes your dog miss you even more. Like what I discussed earlier, this unnecessary reward of affection stirs emotional dependence. Just leave without saying your overly loving goodbyes. You’re still going home later, anyway. Just exit the door casually and off you go. Putting them on the best dog crate for separation anxiety will help a ton here.

Take him to long walks before you leave

A tired dog is a happy dog. If you’re planning to go out for a few hours, it’s best to take your pet for a long walk first.  Leave 30 minutes after you finish the exercise session. This way, the dog has settled.  Practice the first step after that.

Give reassuring cues

If your dog follows you everywhere, you probably can’t slip to the door without being seen. Just say a clear “I’ll be back” every day when you’re about to leave. Your dog will soon pick up the routine.

Don’t stick to a single routine

If you have a sequential routine when preparing to go out, try diversifying your habits. Pick up your keys, take a bath, wear your shoes or eat your breakfast in different times every day. As much as we are habitual beings, mixing the pieces of your departure will make the day unpredictable. Your dog won’t guess that you’re living.

Cut the stressors

Some pet owners chain, crate, or lock up their dog in one room while they are away. Crating works but it’s not advisable to pups together with chaining and locking up in a single room. You will prevent the material damages, but your dog will soon develop behavioral problems.

Don’t shout or hurt your dog just because he’s throwing a separation anxiety attack. This will just aggravate the situation.

Crate training in managing separation anxiety in dogs

Crating is one solution that pet owners use to arrest separation anxiety. Conditioning your dog to stay inside the best dog crate for separation anxiety will help them relax and settle.

Introduce crate training as slowly and as patiently as possible. Don’t force your pet to go inside and lock him up. That’s cruel and he will howl and bay even more. In a span of one or two months, allow him to be familiar with the new den. Feed him inside and provide treats too so he will love staying in the crate.

Lock the door when they look and feel comfortable about it. If the doggo starts to whine, let him out and try increasing crate time in the next days. Just don’t use crating as a punishment for rude behavior. It doesn’t work that way.

When they’re used to it, lock them on the crate and leave without notice. Do the same when you arrive.

Recommended crates for dogs with separation anxiety

MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate with Cover

best dog crate for separation anxietyThis crate is excellent if you want to escape the keen eye of your dog. The wire crate is covered with a Teflon-protected cover to prevent distractions. Since dogs naturally seek small spaces as their den, this added cover will provide security and warmth.

The good thing about the fabric cover is it doesn’t stain and harbor smell. It’s easy to wash plus it won’t easily rip if ever your doggo tries to paw it violently. The crate already comes with a plastic tray that suits the wire cage. Simply put on a folded blanket or a special dog bed to keep your pooch comfortable.

This MidWest crate comes in large and small sizes so every doggo gets a den of its own.

MidWest Homes for Pets Wire Dog Crate

best dog crate for separation anxietyWell, if the howling became intense with a cover on, a basic metal crate should work. This two-door dog den has breathable slits and allows your dog to see his environment. Make sure to place it somewhere away from the door so you can slip out without being noticed.

Like the first crate, this one comes with a plastic tray and in a foldable construction. What I love the most here are the rounded corner clips that reduce the chance of injuries on your dog.

The signature Pan Stop tray of MidWest is already included here so you can clean poo and pee easily. As much as this is a perfect crate, always measure the dimension in relation to your dog’s size. Allow the pooch to have some space to circle and move.

The best dog crate for separation anxiety will help suppress this emotional and behavioral problem. But before you put your doggo on the den, make sure that he has adjusted to it very well. Otherwise, they will bark and scuffle relentlessly while you’re away.

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How Can I Help My Dog Manage Separation Anxiety? Help Needed Here!

by Kevin Zhou time to read: 8 min
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