Your Dog Suddenly Learns to SingWell, not quite. One of the primary signs of severe separation anxiety and distress in dogs is excessive howling or barking, as well as destructive chewing. While all dogs feel sad when they see their parents walk out the door, howling and/or scratching at the door trying to desperately follow you is a red flag that you need to take notice of.
You Come Home to An AccidentIf your dog is already potty trained and provided you are meeting their bathroom needs and taking them out frequently, they shouldn’t feel the need to pee inside and it shouldn’t cause distress. Understandably, if you are gone for hours and hours, then an accident here and there is bound to happen. However, if you are normally only gone for an hour or two and you always come home to a pee or poop on your white sheepskin carpet, then something is definitely up. This is a common symptom of separation anxiety in dogs and we suggest consulting a dog behaviorist or professional dog trainer for further advice, treatment, and possible medication.
Destruction and DevastationThe strongest warning sign of separation anxiety and distress and, without a doubt, one of the worst is destructive behavior while you are out, even for short periods. If you regularly come home to find your furniture chewed up and your shoes destroyed, it won’t be hard to pinpoint the culprit. Many dog owners choose to crate train their dogs and they still often come home to find that Fido has broken free and destroyed his crate and everything around it.
Frantic PantingDog lovers will all agree that fireworks and thunderstorms are two things that the world could do without when it comes to the effects they can have on dogs. Think back to the last time you snuggled up by the fire with a glass of red wine in hand, all ready to settle in for the night to the sound of thunder… and then your dog just completely freaked out, panting excessively, hiding, crying - all of the things a pet parent never wants to see! The same is true with many dogs when they experience separation anxiety; they start panting like crazy usually just as they see you putting your shoes on to leave.
PacingAnother sign of anxiety in dogs can be repetitive pacing in the same pattern. Your dog might sometimes do this when you are home. However, if you notice that your pooch is frequently pacing more often than normal, you need to address it.
Clingy BehaviorThere is a saying about dogs that goes something like this: “you will never pee alone again!” This is definitely true for the majority of us dog lovers and is usually completely normal behavior. What isn’t normal per se is, if your dog suddenly starts being ultra clingy and possessive. While almost every dog wants to be by our side, most do have a small degree of independence at times. This can be something as simple as laying by the side of the bed instead of on it (and on top of you!) or in their own bed while you are sitting on the couch. A major telltale sign of separation anxiety is if they have to be on top of you all the time or they start barking or crying.
OK, by now you have probably realized that your dog has separation anxiety in one form or another. Here are a few pointers of what you can do to try and soothe them so you can leave the house with a clear conscience and not worry about leaving them alone in the future.
- Speak to a dog trainer about crate training and overcoming problem behaviors