What really causes separation anxiety in dogs? Is it from a traumatic experience? How do we explain it in a dog that has had only one home and owner? Should we call it separation anxiety if a dog doesn’t want to go into a crate? Certainly there are situations where a dog has true containment phobia but when is it actually separation anxiety?
Some of the reasons behind the behaviors are often owner created.
Behaviors that can be associated with separation anxiety to name a few:
- excessive salivating
- pacing. barking & whining
- destructive behaviors
Certainly, this doesn’t include the total list, these behaviors can also be associated with other behavior problems. You can see where this is going. It is not always easy to determine if your dog has true S/A or just needs training for poor behavior. Some of the reasons behind the behaviors are often owner created. Yes, it is true!
Typical scenario’s may have occurred.
-A dog carries on loudly in a crate when an owner attempts to leave or go to bed. The dog gets removed because of the noise. We now have a dog that has learned what to do to get out of their crate.
-When bringing home a new dog or puppy, failing to leave them alone, being constantly there and available. This creates a dog that is very needy and dependent that may panic when you must leave.
-Over comforting a dog when it is nervous can reinforce that behavior accidentally.
There are many situations that occur that may cause your dog some distress, that’s life. It is up to us as owners to set the rules and boundaries. Our dogs cannot have everything they want and unfortunately, they aren’t the best at realizing that. Don’t feed the situation by over indulging, over nurturing and constantly giving in.
Medication is often the go-to for dogs that have been labeled with separation anxiety. That should be a last resort after training and behavior modification has been attempted. Let’s not create the problem in our dogs and hopefully there will be no need, in most cases, to have to fix it.