How to Cure Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

ByABC News via logo
September 29, 2006, 8:58 PM

Sept. 29, 2006 — -- What is separation anxiety?Separation anxiety happens when a dog becomes stressed each and every time he or she is left alone. Typically the dog paces, whines, chews or scratches door and window sills, makes housebreaking mistakes, barks and generally gets stressed out. It doesn't matter if you're gone for five minutes or five hours, your dog stresses the moment you leave.

What is not separation anxiety?
When a dog gets into things from time to time or does things he enjoys doing like unstuffing a couch or raiding the trash. These are often either rewarding behaviors he's learned to do out of your sight or boredom-based behaviors. Incomplete housebreaking where your dog makes mistakes when you're home and when you're not. When problems don't happen all the time and happen most when his schedule is changed in some way such as you come home then go out again, it is probably not true separation anxiety.

Grounding Dogs with separation anxiety need your help, and the first thing to do is to start having your dog do things respond to commands for everything he gets -- food, attention, treats, play and walks all happen after he listens and responds to a command such as sit. This will calm him and help reassure him that you are leading the team. For complete guidelines click here.

Space Separation anxiety (SA) dogs are often "owner addicts." They want to be leaning, touching, sitting on, gazing up at or sitting their owners every moment. This needs to change. Get a dog bed. It doesn't have to be fancy -- a folded blanket will do -- and give him all his petting and attention there. Treats are given there. Meals are given there. Make this the best seat in the house. Do not call him off of the bed to come to you, and leave him be when he is on it. This may be hard for you at first but things have to change, right?

Teach Get the interaction you crave through training. Take a class, pick up a dog sport and find new ways to spend time with your dog --