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195072_1918997260048_1395536676_2247421_7578457_oSeparation Anxiety is a common problem with dogs.  These dogs have more than the usual problems with their pet parents going away.

The symptoms of separation anxiety vary from dog to dog.  If you have a dog that is experiencing true separation anxiety it is best for you to seek a dog behaviorist or dog trainer who is very experienced with this particular behavior problem.

I can give you tips, hints, and suggestions on dealing with it, but ultimately, without seeing your dog in particular, I am of little help.

Symptoms of separation anxiety:

  • Scratches on doors or windows
  • Dented or demolished crates
  • Crates that have been moved from when you leave the house
  • Chewed baseboards
  • Large amounts of drool in the crate with your dog
  • Excessive barking or wining while you are gone

Tips for Helping Dogs With Separation Anxiety:

  • Increase the amount of quality time you spend with your dog to at least an hour a day.  Quality time is not time spent on the couch.  It is spent by playing, going for walks, belly rubs, etc.
  • Have your dog ear everything (sit for food, sit to go outside, sit before playtime etc.)
  • Work hard on crate training to make your dogs crate his favorite place
  • Take obedience classes with your dog so that he knows a variety of commands and you begin to learn to communicate better.
  • Ignore your dog when you leave or come home
  • Take away your dogs favorite toy and only give it to him when you are leaving.
  • Diminish the meaning of departure cues? (what do you do every time you leave the house)  Mix up the things you do before you leave home.  Grab your keys before you blow dry your hair etc.
  • Consider talking with your vet.  There are medications for separation anxiety.
  • Start with short separations
  • Don’t give your dog attention when he demands it.  Give him attention when he is quiet and calm.
  • Feed dinner through a toy to make your dog work for it.
  • Let another dog keep him company if possible (neighbor’s dog, friend’s dog, etc.)
  • No Eye contact when you leave
  • No attention until your dog settles down when you get home with the exception of opening the crate and letting him out to go potty.

Separation anxiety can vary in severity.  I strongly recommend you find a dog behaviorist to help you through this.  You can try the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants for sources in your area.  If you can’t find a behaviorist, let me know and I’ll try to look for someone in your area.