Does dog separation anxiety get better with age? Find Out Here

It’s Gone Forever Once You Manage It

There’s a common misconception that once you find a way to manage canine separation anxiety it’s cured forever. Well that’s not exactly true. Unfortunately it can creep up back again without proper maintenance.

My dog Carter’s separation anxiety was well under control until we moved into a new home. That stress made it come back almost immediately. If I had known that was a possibility I probably would have caught the signs of his anxiety creeping back up earlier, but as it was I didn’t notice until it had gotten pretty bad.

Changes in living situations, or any extra stressors such as a new schedule, can cause your dog’s separation anxiety to come back. That’s the bad news. The good news is that since you already know the signs of anxiety in your dog you can catch them earlier the second time around. And generally speaking the earlier you manage their anxiety the easier it is to treat.

I’m not saying that your dog’s guaranteed to start acting anxious again when you leave — but it’s important to understand that it can happen. It doesn’t mean you failed the first time around, it just means that something has triggered your dog’s anxiety again.

You can help your dog by practicing the same methods you used successfully the first time around, and using them whenever you see that your dog’s starting to get anxious again.

Can dogs suddenly get separation anxiety?Change in schedule: A sudden change in schedule can trigger separation anxiety in a dog. For example, if your dog is used to spending all day with you and then suddenly you start to leave them alone for extended periods of time, that can lead to anxiety.

  • Give your dog a special treat each time you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter). …
  • Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. …
  • Leave some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.
  • Consider giving your pet over-the-counter natural calming supplements.
  • At what age do dogs choose their favorite person?Most dogs bond the best to whoever cares for them during their key socialization period, which occurs between birth and six months. At this age, puppies social experiences influence them for the rest of their lives.

  • Create quick good-bye rituals. …
  • Be consistent. …
  • Attention: When separating, give your child full attention, be loving, and provide affection. …
  • Keep your promise. …
  • Be specific, child style. …
  • Practice being apart.
  • Cesar Explains How To Fix Separation Anxiety With Your Dog

    Your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety. This means that she is uncomfortable being left home alone. Because dogs are social animals, it is not natural for them to be away from their social group (you) for long periods of time. However, most dogs can be left alone with no problems. Unfortunately your dog is not one of them and you will have to do some work in order to help her over her fear of being alone.

    It is important for you to understand that your dog is being bad when she is alone because she is anxious. It is not due to spite or revenge. Because of this, punishing her for chewing the couch or soiling the rug will only make her more anxious. Recognize that she can’t help the things she is doing and decide that you love her enough to put the time into helping her.

    The program described below will help you teach your dog to be okay when she is alone. Have patience. It often takes several weeks or months for dogs to completely get over separation issues.

    Crate training is an option, however, some dogs that are anxious when alone are more anxious in a crate. If you decide to crate train your dog make sure you put time into conditioning her to absolutely LOVE being in the crate before you leave her in there for the day.

    Daily training sessions will help to build your dog’s confidence. Have at least one or two five-minute training sessions every day where you work on basic commands (sit, down, come, stay) and/or tricks (spin, shake, speak, roll-over). Remember – training should ALWAYS be positive, especially with anxious dogs. Use food treats as rewards (not as bribes). Performing behaviors on cue for food treats is a great way to build self-confidence in your dog.

    Your dog needs to have a place to go when you leave where she feels safe and secure. Start teaching her a “go to your bed” command and praise and reward her when she does. Give her lots of attention and love when she is lying in her bed. In fact, you should make this the only place where she gets this kind of attention (at least while going through this program). She will soon find it very reassuring to be in her bed.

    Resist giving your dog attention whenever she demands it. Ignore her when she comes to you and nudges your hand to be petted. Give her attention on your terms, not hers.

    Dogs with separation anxiety are often referred to as “velcro dogs” because they follow their owners everywhere. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break this bond a bit. This is hard for some people to do, but remember, you are trying to reduce the anxiety your dog feels when she is left alone and this is the first step.

    You can’t expect your dog to be able to feel okay about being alone in the house if she can’t even be alone in another room when you are home. Discourage her from following you around the house by teaching her a solid down/stay and making her stay in one room while you are in another.

    To teach a solid down/stay you must start slowly. Put your dog in a ‘down’ and then start slowly increasing the time she must stay there before you give a food treat. Add time in seconds, not minutes, at first. Once she will stay in a down for 30 seconds, start adding distance. Move one step away from her, then two, then three, etc. Eventually you will be able to leave the room. The key is to return BEFORE she gets upset. If she gets upset and you return to her and say “its okay”, then you are reinforcing anxious behavior. If she gets upset at 10 steps away, simply go back to nine steps away for a few more trials.

    Put your dog in a room or crate (if she loves her crate), shut the door, and leave the room for short bits of time. Slowly increase the time you are out of the room, starting with a few seconds and building up to 15-30 minutes.

    Give her a stuffed Kong toy, or other chewy that takes time to consume, before you leave.

    ** Later, you will be giving this treat when you leave for real, but for now ONLY give it to her during the exercises or she will start to associate it with her anxiety. Eating is an activity that helps reduce anxiety so if we can get her to start enjoying the stuffed toy when you leave her, she will be less anxious while you are gone.

    Usually when people have a dog with separation anxiety they often make a big deal before they leave the house “don’t worry fluffy, mommy will be home soon”, and a big deal when they come home. This does not help your dog with her anxiety, in fact it is feeding into it. When you do these things you are creating a huge disparity between the time you are home and the time you are away. Therefore I recommend that you do not have long good-byes or greetings. Keep them calm, controlled and short. In fact, it would help your dog if you ignore her for 15 minutes before you leave and for 15 minutes after you get home.

    It is also advisable that you learn the signs of your dog’s anxiety (whining, trembling, not eating, panting, pacing, ears back etc.). They usually begin before you actually leave the house. RESIST REASSURING HER WHEN SHOWING THESE SIGNS OF ANXIETY.