A Guide to Treating Your Pup's Separation Anxiety

A Guide to Treating Your Pup's Separation Anxiety

A Guide to Treating Your Pup's Separation Anxiety

Dogs LOVE their humans. They form a special bond and thrive on our presence. However, we must leave from time to time for work, errands, social events, vacation, etc. And when we leave some dogs experience a condition known as separation anxiety. It can be stressful for both the dog and the pawrent, but the good news is that there are effective ways to treat and manage this issue.

What is separation anxiety? Separation anxiety is a behavioral disorder characterized by extreme distress and anxiety when dogs are separated from their owners or left alone. When a dog has separation anxiety, it can lead to excessive barking, destructive chewing, urinating or defecating indoors, pacing, and attempting to escape. It can be caused by a change in routine, change of household, or loss of a family member. What can we do to alleviate the issue? First, visit your vet to make sure there aren’t any medical issues your pup may have. Then, you can try the suggestions below.

Gradual Departures and Arrivals

One effective technique is to desensitize your dog to departures and arrivals. Start by leaving your dog for a short period of time then gradually increase how long you’re gone. This approach helps your dog realize that you will return and that being alone isn’t worrisome. When you return, avoid exciting greetings, as this can reinforce anxiety. Instead, remain calm and offer attention only once your dog has settled down. You can also try changing the way you leave. Some dogs will learn that putting on shoes and grabbing keys means you are about to leave. Instead of doing these things right before you leave, try doing them several moments earlier.

Establish a Routine

Dogs thrive on routine and predictability. Establishing a consistent daily routine helps alleviate anxiety by providing a sense of security. Regular feeding times, exercise, and play sessions should be incorporated into their daily schedule. A tired and mentally stimulated dog is less likely to experience separation anxiety.

Grey puppy in a crate

Create a Safe Space

Creating a designated safe space for your dog can provide comfort and security. This can be a crate or a specific room in your home. The area should be equipped with cozy bedding, toys, and familiar scents. You can gradually get them used to the space with positive reinforcement and treats. They will learn to associate the safe space with feelings of relaxation and security, and when you’re gone you can leave them in this calm space.


Counterconditioning involves changing your dog's emotional response to being alone. Associate your departures with positive experiences by giving your dog a special treat or toy just before you leave. This helps redirect their focus and establish a positive association with your absence.

Seek Professional Help

In severe cases you can seek help from a certified behaviorist or trainer. They’ll assess your dog's needs and develop a custom course of action. You can even speak with your vet about medication that can help manage their separation anxiety while you train your pup.

Treating separation anxiety in dogs requires patience, consistency, and understanding. Remember, each pup is different, and what works for one may not work for another. With time and dedication, you can help your dog feel more comfortable and confident, strengthening your bond and ensuring their overall well-being and your peace of mind.

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