Lindsy Murray - Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant
Bringing out the best in your Dog
Is your dog showing signs of anxiety when being left alone?
Crying, barking, pacing restlessly, maybe urinating and defecating. Some dogs become destructive and some dogs start to self-harm, for example, chew their paws, scratch or lick themselves endlessly.
Dogs with separation anxiety don’t always show outward signs of distress. Instead, they become quiet and lie for hours in a depressed state rather than an agitated one. This is harder to detect because when dogs lie quietly it is easy to assume that they are sleeping and dozing contentedly.
Dogs that are anxious about being left alone are usually watching our every move and looking for the reliable signs that we might be leaving. Many owners report that their dog gets anxious as they pick up their keys or put their coat on prior to leaving and often dogs know the difference between work days and weekends because of the difference in routine, and change in their owners' activities.
Living with a dog with separation anxiety
Living with a dog with separation anxiety can be very difficult and can also be an underlying cause of many other behaviour problems. Owners understandably feel at a loss as to how they deal with the problem, often becoming frustrated, trying all sorts of methods in an attempt to stop the constant vocalisation or destructive behaviours.
One thing for sure is that your dog isn’t doing this as a protest because you are leaving them, they aren’t being oversensitive and just need a stricter regime. Any sort of reprimand or punishment will only increase the genuine stress they are experiencing.
Separation Anxiety can develop for a number of reasons and can be complex in nature. Understanding why your dog is reacting the way it does and then finding kind and effective ways to help your dog overcome the problem is essential.
I’m here to Help!
Not only do I work with owners to ‘help them help their dogs’ but I have also lived with rescue dogs with separation anxiety and know firsthand the level of fear and panic they can experience when being left.
My advice is to seek out compassionate professional advice and make positive changes rather than leaving this behaviour problem to escalate.