Separation anxiety in dogs affects around 14% of the canine population and can be especially common among teddy bear breeds. People often misunderstand this stressful behavioral issue when they try to treat it by approaching it from a human point of view. They fail to see the cause and recognize that the simplest answer to the question of how to stop separation is by showing their dogs that they are the pack leader.
First, accept that separation anxiety behaviors are symptomatic of something bigger. Though they may seem to you as being very distressing for the dog, treating each display of anxiety ad hoc does not necessarily mean that you are treating the root cause of the problem. For example, if the anxious behavior stops when you return home from a drive to the shops then this should suggest that you being away from home is actually connected to the cause.
The following are some of the symptoms of separation anxiety:
Excessive salivation and self-mutilation
Excessive salivation and drooling, self-mutilation including constant chewing and licking oneself are mistaken for being medical conditions but maybe surprisingly, are more often known to be signs of stress.
Sometimes your toilet-trained dog might start going to the toilet indoors and you probably think that it is behavioral. Most likely, however, it is due to your dog having separation anxiety, especially when the action is occurring while you are away from your dog.
Whining and barking
Whining and barking may be calls for the dog’s owners to return to the pack. This is in the same way you would call out for your children when you cannot find them. You might find that digging and destruction accompany your dog’s whining and barking. Such actions can also be connected to anxious and stressful behavior.
Additionally, if while you are not home and your dog escapes it is looking for you. Since this act is dangerous, extreme and potentially destructive, people are often advised to try to exercise their pet more in the hope that they will wear them down – but this will not absolutely solve the problem.
Overt chewing can also be a sign of separation anxiety in dogs. Humans actually release an endorphin when chewing gum to help stay calm; dogs do the same thing when chewing or gnawing on something.
So what brings on these symptoms of Dog Anxiety?
Separation anxiety in dogs generally occurs when your pet starts seeing you as a member of their pack, or simply a puppy. Your dog is assuming the role of the pack leader. Your dog’s anxiety will only end when you return to it after being away from home, or pay it enough attention.
Your goal should be to have your dog being content whenever you want to come and go.
While you will find an abundance of words of advice on how to treat such symptoms individually, there is no better way to treat the cause of the problem than to become the pack leader. When you have achieved this your dog will no longer appear stressed when you leave home.
Read more here on how to become the pack leader and ease your dog’s anxiety with you being away from them.