If your dog tends to chew on furniture, bark excessively or perhaps won’t eat or drink when their beloved family members are not at home, separation anxiety might be the culprit. At Tip Top K9, our professional dog trainers can provide dog separation anxiety training in OKC to help alleviate your furry friend’s fretfulness and eliminate the problem behaviors associated with it.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition where a dog exhibits distress and behavioral problems when separated from its owner or primary caretaker. The symptoms can vary in intensity and manifestation, but some common signs include:
- Destructive Behavior: Dogs with separation anxiety may chew on furniture, doors, or window sills, dig at doorways or windows, or destroy household items. This behavior often occurs shortly after the owner has left.
- Excessive Barking or Howling: Persistent barking, howling, or whining when left alone is a common symptom. This vocalization is typically more continuous and different in tone compared to barking for other reasons.
- Pacing: In some cases, a furry friend with separation anxiety will pace in a fixed pattern when left alone.
- Urinating and Defecating Indoors: House-trained dogs may urinate or defecate in the home when their owners are absent, despite normally having good control. If you are having potty training issues in general, during training sessions, we can work on potty training until your dog learns the proper way to relieve themselves. Crate training might be needed for this process, and sometimes dogs feel safer in the crate while their family is away from home.
- Escaping: Attempting to escape from an area where they are confined when left alone can be a sign. This can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws, and damaged nails.
- Coprophagia: In some extreme cases, dogs with separation anxiety may defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement.
- Excessive Salivation, Drooling, or Panting: These can be signs of stress and anxiety in canines.
- Changes in Eating Habits: Some pets with separation anxiety may not eat when their owner is not present and may even refuse treats or food.
- Increased Attachment or Clinginess: Dogs may become overly attached to their owner, following them from room to room and exhibiting distress when the owner prepares to leave.
- Change in Greetings: Dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit overly enthusiastic greetings, which are much more intense than the normal greeting behavior.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
Dogs do not like to be away from their humans, but not all dogs display signs of separation anxiety when their people are away. This type of anxiety is quite common with rescue dogs or dogs that have experienced some type of trauma. Here are a few common scenarios that can lead to the development of separation anxiety.
- Early Life Experiences: Puppies that are separated from their mother and siblings too early may be more prone to developing separation anxiety. Similarly, dogs that have experienced multiple rehoming or shelter stays may develop this condition.
- Change in Routine or Environment: Dogs are creatures of habit, and significant changes in their daily routine or environment, such as a family member leaving, moving to a new house, or changes in work schedules, can trigger separation anxiety.
- Loss or Change of a Family Member: The departure (due to death, moving out, etc.) of a significant person in the dog’s life can lead to separation anxiety, especially if that person was the dog’s primary caretaker or companion.
- Lack of Socialization or Training: Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized or trained to spend time alone may exhibit signs of separation anxiety.
- Traumatic Events: Experiences such as being lost or spending time in a shelter can be traumatic for dogs and may result in separation anxiety.
- Genetic Predisposition: Some breeds or individual dogs might be more predisposed to anxiety disorders, including separation anxiety. We have experience with more than 130 dog breeds, so we truly understand the personalities inherent in many breeds.
- Over-Attachment: Dogs that have not been taught to be independent or have been reinforced for clingy behavior might develop separation anxiety.
- Sudden Change in Schedule: Dogs used to constant human companionship who suddenly find themselves alone for long periods can develop this condition.
- Aging: Older dogs might develop separation anxiety, often related to cognitive decline or confusion associated with age.
- Illness or Pain: Sometimes, the onset of separation anxiety can be related to a medical issue. Pain or discomfort can make a dog more anxious, and their anxiety may peak when they’re alone. In this case, training may not be needed as resolving the illness or alleviating the pain might prevent issues in the future.
Dog Training Can Help
Dog training in OKC can be highly effective in addressing separation anxiety in dogs by teaching them to feel comfortable and secure when left alone. We know there are plenty of videos out there offering this suggestion and that method, but with separation anxiety, it’s truly best to have a professional dog behaviorist come into your home and assess your dog and family situation.
There’s no single solution to solve anxiety because each dog is unique and each dog exhibits anxiety differently. With Tip Top K9, a professional dog trainer will come to your home, talk with you about what’s been occurring, spend some time working with your dog to get a sense of their personality, and then develop a training plan that addresses the separation anxiety as well as any other training issues that need to be fixed.
Our plans involve a variety of strategies, and you can opt for in-home dog training classes in OKC or our dog boot camp in OKC. Boot camp is an intensive experience where dogs will stay with a trainer around the clock for several weeks. This type of dog board and train in OKC is ideal for dogs with severe behavioral issues, and our dog trainers will let you know what type of dog training program is likely to produce the best results for your dog and your family.
Keep in mind, that we can help with a variety of behavioral issues, not just separation anxiety. If you have a dog that jumps on people, won’t come when called, drags you by their leash, etc., dog training is the best way to nip this behavior in the bud. Not only will we train your dog, but we also train our dog parents so that you know how to continue to reinforce good behavior once lessons have been completed.
Of course, our training doesn’t simply end there. Most of our training packages include lifetime group classes. In the group classes, you can perfect and reinforce good behavior and brush up on those obedience skills. This also provides a great outlet for your dog to expend energy and spend some time socializing with some four-legged friends.
Get Started Today
If you’re struggling to manage your dog’s anxiety and behavior, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time for dog separation anxiety training in OKC. Your first lesson costs just $1 and will include an in-depth consultation with one of our experienced dog trainers. Our intensive dog behavior training in OKC can transform an anxious or aggressive dog into a happier, healthier companion.