It is said, that a dog is a mans best friend. Though all pets reciprocate the feelings of their owners, the love and affection that dogs provide is incomparable to other animals.
Often this affection gets a little out of hand, when the dogs become emotionally attached to their owners. So much so, that any time spent apart becomes unbearable for the dog and he or she becomes a victim of dog separation anxiety.
History of the Dog’s Life
Not all dogs display this behavior; dog separation anxiety is often seen in dogs which have a history of being abandoned by their mother. These dogs often spend their lives in shelters or pet shops and so become overwhelmed when they are given attention by their new owners. Some dogs show the symptoms of dog separation anxiety when they are subjected to a new environment or a new owner.
Typical Signs and Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety
Almost all dogs experiencing dog separation anxiety exhibit destructive behavior after their owners departure. They usually go around knocking things out of place or chewing on shoes. Twenty to thirty minutes later they may start a period of howling or barking endlessly. The most typical sign of dog separation anxiety is the excessive greeting behavior which is seen when their owner returns.
All in all, the dog is seen to undergo a series of psychological changes, which are not seen in the same dog when his owner is around. Dog separation symptoms are usually hyperactive in nature, but some dogs prefer to become slow and depressed. They may even defecate or urinate in inappropriate places, even though trained well before.
With the passage of time, dogs begin to sense the impending departure of their master. They follow their loved one from room to room and scratch and dig at the door after their owner has left.
How to Combat Dog Separation Anxiety
Dog separation anxiety can be overcome by training the dog over time. The dog should be gradually taught to spend time on his own. These intervals should be short at first and then increased in length over time. Professionals often advise the caretaker to let the dog run around and exercise before he is to be left alone. This will hopefully tire him out and let him take a nap while his owner is out. A heavy meal might have the same effect.
Vets recognize this problem and medication is available for dog separation anxiety. But in most cases gradual training of the dog will help him out of this phase and allow you to enjoy a fulfilling relationship with your pet.