Message Us

Separation Anxiety in Dogs and How to Manage It

Separation anxietySeparation Anxiety Dog Problems of Being Left is one of the most debilitating dog problems I see as a canine behavior specialist in Los Angeles.

In addition to the many dogs suffering greatly from this condition, it is also frustrating for an owner who is afraid to leave their dog alone for any period of time. This is out of fear their dog will harm themselves or destroy the home when they are gone. I even saw a case where the dog was so overwhelmed by his anxiety that he thought crashing through a window would be a better option than being left alone! Fortunately this dog was amazingly unharmed! However, despite the severity and widespread problem of separation anxiety in dogs I find its root cause is still misunderstood by many dog owners and professionals in terms of it being treated in a way that at times makes the problem worse or mistakenly views the dog as untrainable. Separation anxiety is often interpreted by dog trainers and behaviorists as the dog "missing their owner" or "just being anxious by nature" and take approaches to dog training that do not directly address the causality of the anxiety by trying to build up time duration and object permanence skills or rely on confinement and devices alone. Even worse sometimes are veterinarians who immediately medicate a dog out of pure misunderstanding of why the problem exists before even looking into a behavior and lifestyle change for the dog and their owner as the possible solution! By taking a more thorough multi-faceted approach, I have had great success with cases of separation anxiety by following my 3 part program that addresses the actual cause of the problem from the ground up by consistently applying the necessary Security, Safety, & Supplements in a dog's daily life.

1. Structure + Awareness = Security

The bottom line is that some dogs have a greater potential for anxiety than others. This has far less to do with a dog's breed than individual levels of misdirected drive and the makeup of their sensory/nervous systems. Because of this, many dogs are raised with an incorrect perception that they are getting through the day and getting their resources (food, shelter, attention, etc.) by keeping track of the everyday life us, humans are creating around them in terms of the chores, interactions, and routines we commonly do on a daily basis. In speaking with and observing thousands of dog owners, I find these behaviors are usually misinterpreted as something less important to them than it means to their potentially anxious dog. Examples of what I often hear from owners is that their dog is just following them and reacting to every little thing they do because he simply, "Wants to be near us." or "He's just excited to (blank)". Unfortunately, if this goes unchecked due to lack of awareness or understanding of what these behaviors mean and contribute to on our part (I totally understand we do not own our dogs to have to monitor them 24-7 like a prison guard while we come home from work, entertain our guests, go to the bathroom, etc.) a highly sensitive dog with these potentials will try to wrap their head around the thought of, "how to keep track of you when you are now out of the environment since it works all day long when your are home???" Since a dog has no perception of what has happened, they quickly learn that by acting out in some way or retaining their anxious feelings, you miraculously return so they may resume the daily monitoring of your everyday routines unbeknownst to you. (Until now!) As much as my clients hate to hear this, the solution is to take time throughout your busy day to "keep track" of these dogs in real time as they are getting to wrapped up in human business to promote both structure and awareness on your part that you are able to manage your family/pack just fine without their help. This eventually carries over to when you are gone and gives them the message that you can do this when you are away from the environment as well. Keeping track of our dogs in need of daily structure can be accomplished by doing something as simple as giving them a focus-based command (Heel, Sit, Down) to simulate a job they need to perform whenever they are getting too caught up in your human activities. Even if this means keeping your dog on lead here and there for a few weeks, it can re-establish a more secure relationship based on a structured and calmer association in your presence plus prove great awareness on your part as their human packleader who can allow them to relax when not in their presence.

2. Safety

In addition to keeping a dog with separation anxiety safe when alone, a kennel/crate, or even confinement to a secure room can lessen the options a dog has to scan their environment to look for a seether to chew or destroy out of desperation vs. accepting the situation and relaxing. (I tell my clients that for some dogs, the pressure they feel when anxiety develops is like shaking a soda bottle!) Although a dog will not learn much from simply being confined when alone without addressing the cause of the anxiety as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it certainly is the most effective way to keep them safe while allowing them to relax enough to ride out the time alone more peacefully until the issue is fully resolved. 

3. Supplements

Although a structured lifestyle is essential for dogs with the potential for separation anxiety, many dogs can develop a buildup of tension from not having appropriate outlets for their physical and mental energy or an environment conducive to a calm, balanced state. To remedy this, it is important to provide a daily routine of exercise, training, and structure in their environment. If time is limited, treadmill training, backpacks, or dog daycare/dog parks can be another option to provide a regular exercise outlet for your dog. Some other supplemental factors to consider would also be a dog's food, blood chemistry, and additions to their diet such as vitamins and supplemental homeopathic remedies like herbs/minerals, pheromones, and body wraps (thundershirt) you can add to supplement steps 1 and 2. Keep in mind, many external remedies are not always proven to work, however many clients have reported success when using some of these in conjunction with a training and exercise plan. Chances are your dog has adopted separation anxiety as a way of life and is going to initially have stress and difficulty associated with "letting go" of what they felt was their mainstay to survival.  This is quite normal and I find harder for the humans than the dogs in terms of having to change their ways and let the dog go through the therapeutic process. Once in motion though, you will begin to see your dog relax and not be as impatient and impulsive in keeping track of the ebbs and flows of daily life. This in turn begins to carry over to less concern of when you are away by learning that remaining calm and patient still allows life to go on and resources are still provided. Through dogs, I have found that this mantra has helped me in my own life as well. Separation Anxiety and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers
brett endesBrett Endes Brett Endes (The Dog Savant) is a Los Angeles-based dog trainer and behavior expert who has  22 years experience working with severe problem behavior and rescue dogs.  Brett is a graduate of the State University of New York and is the owner of Ican! K9, a state of the art training, boarding, and aqua therapy facility in L.A.  He is known for his unique personality and effective style of dog communication he has developed by his years of work as an applied canine behavior expert.  Brett lives in Los Angeles with his daughter Skylar and their Rottweiler Boo.  To learn more about Brett visit www.dogtrainingla.com.  Please forward all inquiries to dogtrainingla@gmail.com.

 
Marketing by

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Why Did I Wait So Long?

I should have bought these years ago. Easy to use, easy to clean, and tons of headaches saved in trying to keep a blanket or covering on the car seat when taking the dogs on the trails, camping, etc. Highly recommend.

READ MORE »
Kathleen B.

Second Cargo Cover!

This is our second cargo cover for a new car! Our first cargo cover is 3 years old and still in excellent shape!

READ MORE »
Kenny G.

Love these seat covers.

Love these seat covers.

READ MORE »
Dina B.

Terrific product at a great price

I am beyond pleased with everything about my new 4Knines split rear back seat cover! The fabric is soft and attractive. The fit in my 2018 CR-V is perfect. Dirt just brushes off it, and water beads and wipes right off. It couldn't easier to put on and take off. This is a wonderful product at a great price.

READ MORE »
Donna D.

Excellence

We purchased seat covers, door covers and cargo area cover for our Honda Odyssey. Prompt service, fair prices and great quality. Overall a great company to do business with.

READ MORE »
James M.

XL Back seat bench cover

Love our new purchase from 4Knines. We were looking for a back seat cover that would fit our new 2017 F250 crew cab and this one fits perfect. Highly recommend for those wishing to maintain their seats. The material is excellent quality and it’s quick and easy to put on and take off. We also have the bucket seat covers from this company for our 2015 Yukon Denali and have gotten a lot of use out of them over the last couple of years and they are still in excellent condition and so are our seats. Thanks 4Knines for a great product!

READ MORE »
Amy T.

great product, sturdy, XL great fit for new 4Runner, cleans easy

I was worried this product might not hold up since one I recently purchased from another company ripped w/in 2 weeks from my 30lb Aussie pulling on it when trying to get into the back. I have been extremely pleased with the XL cargo liner. The straps are much more durable with more stitching and better fabric. I have a 50 lb Border Collie mix and 30 lb Aussie. They have already put the liner to the test!!! I have used it numerous times in the short 2 weeks I have had it. The XL was a great choice for my new 2017 4Runner. It allows me to strap to the front headrests and protect the whole back of the SUV. The skirt protects the bumper. It is too long when I only strap to the middle seats but I just fold under the extra fabric and still have the skirt. I use the full length most of the time and reason I got the XL. The fabric is sturdy and protected the back when the dogs spilled water. So far I have used it to haul bags of topsoil, go on a camping trip and visit family. I purchased the liner mainly to protect the back b/c we have flyball practice every week and tournaments every month. That's a lot of in/out for equipment, doggies and crates. I was very glad to see the edges fold up to protect the wheel wells. I am extremely pleased with this product and sorry I wasted money on my first purchase from other company. I have already recommended the liner to fellow flyball teammates. Shipping was great also. I ordered on a Sunday and it arrived Sat. So far I have just swept the dirt off and used a shop vac. Cleans up well and easy.

READ MORE »
Kim W.

Awesome!!

Great quality! Absolutely love it!

READ MORE »
Lisa M.

4Knines.com

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509
Email: support@4Knines.com

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy