Dog separation anxiety is very common. Being alone is something we all must learn. For dogs, this can be even more challenging. Dogs are wired to keep close to family, seeking safety in numbers. Being alone doesn’t come naturally. Furthermore, dogs have the brain power equivalent to a toddler. When you leave the house, to your dog you are simply gone!
What exactly is Dog separation anxiety?
The term separation anxiety is a little misleading. Your dog isn’t just worried about being alone, they are often panicked. There are a few telltale signs that may indicate your dog is finding it hard to be alone. These include:
- Scratch marks on the front door
- Your dog greets you then immediately eats/drink/toilets
- Your dog isn’t eating when alone
- Escape behaviours
- Over-enthusiastic greeting when you return home
- Neighbours complaining of barking
- Sleeping all day long
Spying is the best way to know how your dog is coping with aloneness. Video via smartphone is frequently the easiest option. If you want to go for something fancy check out the Furbo dog camera.
Is it safe to be alone?
For dogs, the easiest time to adjust to aloneness is in the first 3 months of life. There are three key tips to getting this right:
- Easy does it. When you bring your puppy home, the first time you leave them will be their first experience with aloneness. Keep the first separations short and gradually increase over time.
- When alone, make sure you leave little jobs for your dog to do so that they can pass the time having fun. For lots of fun of ideas look here
- Everybody needs a safe place. A safe place is a sanctuary your dog can go to when they are feeling worried or tired. It is a healing place. To introduce a safe place look here.
What about the older dog with separation anxiety?
If your dog hasn’t been coping with being alone for a while then a veterinary behaviourist is the expert uniquely skilled to get your furbaby back on track.