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If your dog could spend 24/7 by your side, they totally would, and while that might be your dog’s fondest wish, it’s not a realistic one. Humans have to leave their dogs behind from time to time and if your dog doesn’t handle this well, it might be time to think about dog separation anxiety training in The Woodlands.


Does Your Dog Have Anxiety?

With separation anxiety, your dog is either too attached to one or more of your family members or perhaps has a phobia of being alone.  Keep in mind, no dog wants to be home alone, but most cope with it and display only minor signs of distress such as glum behavior or perhaps they bark for a minute or two after you leave.


Separation anxiety can manifest in ways, and the symptoms range from mild issues to severe issues that cause injury to your dog or damage to your home and belongings, but dog training in The Woodlands can reduce these issues. Here are some of the signs that indicate your dog may have an anxiety disorder.


  • Incessant Barking or Howling: Dogs with separation anxiety often bark, howl, or whine persistently when left alone, which is more excessive than a typical response to outside stimuli.


  • Destructive Behavior: Chewing on furniture, doors, or window sills; digging at doorways or attempting to escape from a room or crate are common. This behavior is typically focused on points of exit and is more intense than regular play chewing or scratching.


  • Pacing: Some dogs with separation anxiety walk or trot along a specific path in a fixed pattern when left alone. Some may move in circular patterns, while others back and forth in straight lines.


  • Urination and Defecation: Even if they are house-trained, a dog with separation anxiety might urinate or defecate in the house when separated from their owners.


  • Coprophagia: In some severe cases, dogs with separation anxiety may defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement.


  • Escaping: A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where they are confined when left alone or separated from their guardians. This can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws, and damaged nails.


  • Excessive Salivation, Drooling, or Panting: These can occur when the dog is left alone and are signs of stress and anxiety.


  • Changes in Eating Habits: Some dogs with separation anxiety may lose their appetite or not eat when alone, or conversely, may engage in stress eating if food is available.


  • Extreme Greeting Behavior: A dog with separation anxiety may exhibit overly enthusiastic greetings, far beyond what would be considered normal, when the owner returns.


Why Does Anxiety Develop?

In some cases, we don’t really know why anxiety develops. Sometimes, older dogs simply become more anxious as they age. In other cases, some type of trauma or the loss of a family member might cause anxiety to develop. Changes in routine also can cause a dog to develop anxiety.


Often, during our dog training classes in The Woodlands, we see anxiety with rescue dogs as the rehoming process can be traumatic and these animals often suffered from neglect and abuse with their previous owners. In some cases, an illness could cause anxiety, so it’s always wise to take your dog to a veterinarian for a complete physical and bloodwork to rule out a physical cause.


Training Can Reduce Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety training in The Woodlands is one of our areas of specialization. Dog training classes in The Woodlands can be highly effective in managing and reducing separation anxiety in dogs by providing them with the tools they need to feel safer and more confident when alone. Here’s how dog training can help:


  1. Building Confidence: Training that focuses on positive reinforcement can help boost a dog’s confidence. This involves rewarding good behavior, which helps the dog associate being alone with positive outcomes. Over time, this can reduce the anxiety they feel when they are not in the presence of their owner.


  1. Establishing Routine: Dogs benefit greatly from having a predictable routine. Training can establish a structured schedule of activities that happen before the owner leaves, which can help the dog understand and anticipate periods of separation. This predictability can alleviate stress.


  1. Teaching Relaxation: Dogs can be taught to relax on cue. For instance, training a dog to settle down on a mat or in their bed when instructed can be a useful tool. Over time, the dog learns to go to this place of comfort when they feel stressed or when they are left alone.


  1. Crate Training: If done correctly, crate training is a very effective method for dealing with separation anxiety. The crate becomes a safe space for the dog where they can feel secure and comfortable. Dogs that are crate trained often view their crate as a den-like area where they can relax, reducing anxiety during times of separation.


  1. Gradual Desensitization: This technique involves gradually acclimatizing the dog to being alone by leaving them by themselves for increasingly longer periods. This should be done very gradually and at a pace that the dog is comfortable with to prevent exacerbating the anxiety.


  1. Command Training: Basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’ can help manage a dog’s behavior more effectively during periods of anxiety. By focusing their attention on following a command, dogs can be distracted from their anxious feelings.


  1. Counterconditioning: This involves changing the dog’s emotional response to being alone from negative to positive. This can be achieved by associating the owner’s departure with something the dog loves, such as a treat-dispensing toy.


Using these training strategies can significantly help manage and alleviate separation anxiety in dogs, making them feel more secure even when their owners are not around. Keep in mind that in addition to dog separation anxiety training, we also can eliminate other problem behaviors (jumping, leash pulling, etc.) as well as teach crucial obedience skills.


In-Home Lessons & Dog Boot Camp

At Tip Top K9, we offer two training options – we can provide you with an in-home dog trainer in The Woodlands or you can send your dog to our dog training camp in the Woodlands. The doggy bootcamp is a board-and-train experience where your dog lives with an expert trainer for several weeks until behavioral issues are resolved.


Typically, dog boot camp in The Woodlands is reserved for dogs with serious behavioral issues, such as severe anxiety and aggression. While it might seem counterintuitive to send an anxious dog away from home, in some cases, it can be smart to remove them from their current environment and work on training in a new setting. This removes distractions and allows your dog to better focus on training.

Our process begins with a $1 initial lesson. During that lesson, we will come to your home and spend time working with your dog. We also will talk to you about your training goals and the issues your dog has been experiencing due to separation anxiety. From there, your trainer will create a custom training plan for your dog and recommend either our boot camp or in-home lessons.


At Tip Top K9, we have a 99.3% success rate, and this includes training dogs with severe anxiety and/or severe aggression. We’ve resolved some of the most difficult behavioral cases imaginable, and we can help reduce your dog’s fears and improve their behavior in general.


Through the years, we’ve worked with thousands of dogs, including dogs that were heavily medicated due to anxiety. We will work for as long as it takes to ensure that your dog is more comfortable and happier, even when you are away from home.


Contact Tip Top K9 Today

To get started with dog separation anxiety training in The Woodlands, you can click on the Schedule Lesson tab on our homepage. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, aggression or other behavioral issues, our Houston dog training services will fix 95% (or more) of your dog’s problems or we’ll refund your money.