Separation Anxiety in dogs

This phenomenon is really tough on dog owners who have little ones that suffer from it, for me the feeling is like leaving your two year old at the crèche while he cries uncontrollably and hangs onto your leg. Upon your return the child minder tells you “oh, not to worry he was fine two minutes after you left” but you’re not buying it!!

My little yorkie plays the “if I can make it out the door, I’m coming with” game it really is cute but awfully sad when I can’t take her with. And while I know that my behaviour towards her has cultivated this anxiety it doesn’t help me now, most of the articles I have read focus on preventing this behaviour and starting as pups, however I was completely oblivious to this when I was creating this monster, she is now 6 years old, highly strung and very possessive over me. The result is that, while she’s small enough and generally easy to handle, she is snappy and needy, she’s not well socialised with other people, dogs and especially children.  We have basically created a catch-22 I don’t mind taking her along when I go out, but she doesn’t behave well enough to go to most places.

From the research that I have done it would appear that there is no quick fix, and while it’s easier for me just to take her along and deal with the consequences, it’s probably not the right approach. 

The general solution seems lie in training, but it is something that needs to be worked on, there is no quick fix. Here are a few pointers:

 Obedience training and discipline. 

Spend time training—not just classes once a week—often and consistently.

Teach your dog to sit at the door, lie down, and stay while you go out of sight for increasing periods of time in your own house.

 In general, you should be teaching your dog in small steps to be a respectful and have confidence in himself.

When you leave him, do so quietly and don’t provide cues. Do not say anything. Go through your leaving routine quietly, pick up car keys, open garage doors, and start the car. Then, come back inside paying no attention to your dog. Do what you always do when leaving—role-play if it helps.

Generally when we are at home the TV is on, so I leave it on for them when we go out.  It provides a familiar background sound and sight for them giving them a feeling of security.

Change your routine - Use a different door, put your coat and bag in different places. Make changes to create a different picture.

Your dog does not have to follow you everywhere. Yes, he can watch but he should be able to wait until you request his company. 

Exercise, obedience, and lifestyle training; leadership; rules, boundaries, and limitations, all of these are necessary for a balanced dog. Consistency from you and from every human in your household will be also crucial to build your dog’s confidence in you as his Pack Leader, and also in himself.

Separation anxiety can be overcome, you can turn some dogs around fairly quickly, with others it takes time, patience, and consistency.

I hope this has helped and I really wish you luck in dealing with this problem, I am just thankful, for now, that I am not the only one dealing with this.