Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Other Behavior Problems to Rule Out continued...
Incomplete House Training
A dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained. His house training might have been inconsistent or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby. For help with house training, please see our articles, House Training Your Adult Dog and House Training Your Puppy.
Some dogs urinate in the house because they’re scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate. For more information about urine marking and how to resolve it, please see our article, Urine Marking in Dogs.
Many young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their guardians are home as well as when they’re away. Please see our articles, Destructive Chewing and Digging, for more information about these problems.
Dogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because they’re bored and looking for something to do. These dogs usually don’t appear anxious.To learn about fun, effective ways to combat boredom and spice up your dog’s life, please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life, Exercise for Dogs and How to Stuff a KONG® Toy.
Excessive Barking or Howling
Some dogs bark or howl in response to various triggers in their environments, like unfamiliar sights and sounds. They usually vocalize when their guardians are home as well as when they’re away. For more information about this kind of problem, please see our articles, Barking and Howling.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Treatment for Mild Separation Anxiety
If your dog has a mildcase of separation anxiety, counterconditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counterconditioning is a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. It’s done by associating the sight or presence of a feared or disliked person, animal, place, object or situation with something really good, something the dog loves. Over time, the dog learns that whatever he fears actually predicts good things for him. For dogs with separation anxiety, counterconditioning focuses on developing an association between being alone and good things, like delicious food.