Dog Care Tips Dog Health

Can Separation Anxiety In Dogs Be Cured?

Separation anxiety in dogs can be cured by using time-tested training methods. One of them that works wonders is desensitizing your pet to your absence gradually.

Behavioral change on your part also plays a huge role. You have to make sure that the dog disassociates certain actions from your departure or arrival.

Let’s talk about how separation anxiety in dogs is cured in detail.

Desensitizing The Dog

First and foremost is to make the pooch familiar with your absence. You have to teach him that your departure doesn’t mean the end of the world and that you always return.

You may want to use a crate to do this training. Otherwise, it can also be done without it.

Step 1:

Put the dog’s favorite treats and toys in the crate and sit with it for a while.

Step 2: 

When it’s engaged with distractions, leave the crate for as long as it begins to notice your absence. You may see signs such as fidgeting, looking frantically here and there, and so on.

Step 3:

Repeat the steps above but with time, increase the duration of your separation. Make sure you do not overfeed the treats because that may lead to diet complications. Also, ensure that the threats have low calories for obvious reasons.

Step 4:

You should praise or reward the dog for staying put for the length of the separation between you two.

Step 5:

Take things a step further by removing the crate and letting the dog roam around freely in your absence.

Step 6:

Closely monitor its behavior. With time, it will learn to stay away from you without any problem. However, the separation should not be more than 4 hours or more because dogs, no matter how trained, may not be able to stay alone for long without running into some problems.

If your work does not allow you that liberty, you could take the dog to doggy daycare. You could also buy another pet and let the two keep each other’s company while you are gone.

Related: Separation Anxiety in German Shepherd

Related: Separation Anxiety in Huskies

Remove Departure/Arrival Cues

Dogs associate your actions with cues. The way you put on your shoes and pick keys alert them about your departure.

Similarly, the sound of your keys rattling at the lock, the way you turn the knob, or your smell lingering behind the door make them realize that you’re back.

To keep a dog from the harm of separation anxiety, you should dwindle down some of these cues.

For example, take the key with you, wear your boots, and roam around the house without going out. Don that hat and sit on the couch for an extended time. Make it realize that these cues do not necessarily mean that you’re going out.

You may not be able to remove some cues from your arrival, but you can stop making it a big drama. Over Petting the dog when you come may lead to excitement which is the other side of the coin. So, with each passing day of getting back home, reduce the love you shower upon him for his best.

Let Your Vet Intervene

Some separation anxieties go out of hand. They need professional medical intervention. You can figure them out when the dog’s still showing the signs despite the training. Or, when the condition’s worse than you think in which case, your pet may have a hard time staying away from you even when you’ve gone to the loo.

How To Stop Separation Anxiety From Happening?

Loving your pet beyond healthy limits brings about behavioral nuisances such as separation-related anxieties. Therefore, keep limits to that and always keep a safe distance from the pet for his sake.

Make sure that you exercise him plenty to take his attention elsewhere and to drain his energies before you leave the house. Lastly, when you come back, do not pet him as you’ve returned after a decade.

Can Separation Anxiety In Dogs Be Cured – Conclusion

Separation anxiety in dogs can be cured by employing systematic desensitization to your departure, a change in behavior on your part, and medical intervention if things have gotten out of your hand.

To stop it from happening in the first place, make sure to keep limits on the affection you shower on your pet. Do not pet it too much on arrival, and do not let it associate your actions with your departure. You have to make sure that it’s not overly attached to you.

About the author

Linda Michaels

Linda Michaels is a proud owner of a Labradoodle named Mylo. She is a trainer who posts about dog training and behavior.
🎓: University of California, Davis
📍: Washington Boulevard Animal Hospital