Separation anxiety is actually a very common behavior issue for dogs. The problem is a lot of pet owners overlook the fact that their dog may be suffering from separation anxiety and leave the problem untreated for a very long time.
Dogs can become highly emotional creatures. They tend to become attached to people, even those whom they’ve only bonded with for a relatively short period of time. Up to now, there is still insufficient evidence as to why dogs develop separation anxiety. Interestingly, the majority of dogs with separation anxiety tend to be the ones adopted from shelters. This led a lot to believe that the absence of a person, usually a previous owner, is the true cause of the condition.
While a lot of symptoms related to separation anxiety may be present in other behavior problems in dogs, it is important to consider all signs. Exhibiting these symptoms when left alone is strong evidence that your dog or puppy may have separation anxiety. Here is a list of the known signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Urinating or Defecating – Dogs urinating and defecating in the wrong places is something any dog owner must have experienced at one point. It may be due to the lack of proper house training, digestion problems, or separation anxiety. Remember that when your dog urinates or defecates in the wrong place at the time when you are at home, then this is probably more of a training and housebreaking issue.
- Destructive Behavior – Chewing furniture, digging holes, and the destruction of household items is a very inconvenient behavior for dogs. A lot of puppies tend to chew and bite on random objects during teething. But if your dog is way beyond the teething period and tends to damage or destroy your furniture when left alone, then it could be a sign of separation anxiety.
- Barking and Howling – Too much barking and howling is not a normal behavior for dogs, even for those being introduced to new homes. A dog or puppy should only bark whenever they feel threatened from various factors such as a stranger, or unfamiliar sights. However, when dogs bark or howl when being left alone, it could be a sign of separation anxiety.
A lot of pet owners are not comfortable with giving their dogs drugs to cope with various behavioral problems. This is also because proper training can provide a better solution for these problems.
When it comes to medication, several treatments are already being used with substantiated success. In a process called counter-conditioning, dogs with mild separation anxiety are treated by giving an incentive to being left alone. Leaving a dog puzzle with treats inside is a good method to perform counter-conditioning. This works by keeping the dog preoccupied as well as giving him something to look forward to whenever he is left alone.(continued…)