Separation anxiety is the excitement of a dog over the loss of his pack. The dog is overactive, howls and barks, and goes potty in the house, although he is otherwise housebroken. The dog scratches doors, tears out carpeting or sofa cushions. The activities could include physical exhaustion. Food and treats remain untouched for the time being alone. Some dogs tremble and respond with increased heart rate and dilated pupils. These dogs are in a situation of extreme suffering.
Particularly at risk are affectionate dogs, who try to follow their owner anywhere. Dogs are social animals who thrive in the company of their social partners. In the modern human-dog society, the human family has taken over the role of the pack. To be left behind is an extremely unpleasant situation.
But every dog has a chance to learn to be alone. Because it is natural for puppies that the mother is removed from time to time to its “business” to pursue. With a successful puppy training, care must be taken, therefore, that this habit is not lost and the puppy must be let alone occasionally. If a dog is not accustomed to being alone and spends much time in close contact with its people, then problems may arise. Especially dogs that require a lot of attention from their people react when they are left alone, quite often with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety should not be confused with vandalism out of boredom. This sets in only when the dog was left alone for a while. Instead, we see the symptoms of separation anxiety possibly even before the departure, because the dog has learned the signs pointing to announce the departure of the people.
The problem may worsen if the behavior is unintentionally reinforced, for example, if you happened to be coming home when the dog is acting up. That is an extremely powerful reward. The dog remembers that “if I really put to the wheel, the man comes back and I am redeemed.” Separation anxiety can be fought only with permanent behavioral therapy. You can teach an “old dog” new tricks. As part of a desensitization Fido can get used to being alone. Very slowly.
In principle, he learns to be alone at first only for very short periods of time. As the training progresses, the lesson periods get longer and longer. It is important that the dog is never left alone during the treatment period except for the training. First, the dog learns to be alone, while his owner is staying in the apartment. You stay with him in the room and the dog learns to behave calmly in a particular place. In later stages of training you leave the room briefly, but leaves door open to them. Later, close the door. Still later, you leave the house for a few minutes to return. One must not cheat, but really needs to go away – the dog will notice this! You come back after irregular intervals, so that the dog never knows how long it takes.
Ideally, the dog is behaving calmly through it all. Therefore, one should choose the time period beginning not too long and they may increase only slowly. With patience, consistency, and possibly the help of a good dog trainer you can get the problem under control.