Coping with Separation Anxiety

With separation related behaviors (SRB), also called separation anxiety, your dog becomes anxious and stressed when you leave him. He's emotionally responding to being physically separated from the person he's attached to. Dogs that experience separation anxiety are usually high in pack drive and low in defense (fight) drive (see Chapter 5).

One solution to Buddy's boredom and loneliness is to get another dog. They can keep each other amused, and two dogs are more than twice the fun of one dog. But be warned that two dogs can also mean double trouble.

Separation anxiety isn't uncommon, especially among rescue dogs. In some cases, having an overly solicitous owner causes it. As the owner prepares to leave the house, he or she makes a big fuss over the dog: "Now don't worry, mommy/daddy will be back soon, but I have to go to work. You be a good boy while I'm gone and I'll bring you a nice treat." Such reassurances serve to increase the dog's anxiety at the expectation of being left alone. The owner then makes an equally big fuss upon his or her return: "Poor boy. Did you miss me while I was gone? I missed you too. Were you a good boy?" These utterances increase the dog's excitement in anticipation of the owner's return. Small wonder the dog becomes anxious.

The most typical and obvious signs of separation anxiety are destructive behaviors (chewing or scratching), vocalizations (whining, barking, or howling), house soiling, pacing, and excessive drooling.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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