Why does my dog freak out when I leave the house? A Step-by-Step Guide

Why Do Dogs Have Separation Anxiety?

It is not understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. There could be an underlying medical condition. Or it could be triggered by an environmental change, like the addition of a new baby, a move to a new home, or the death of an owner or another pet. Other causes could be from a change in schedule (the dogs owner is away more), or because the dog is spending more time in the crate, kennel, or vets office.

Why does my dog freak out when I leave the house?

How to handle a more severe problem

Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training. Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help them learn that they can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.

Exercise and mental stimulation are critical to reducing anxiety and stress. Be sure your dog receives adequate exercise before you leave. Walking the same city block each day won’t reduce anxiety, but sniffing and exploring new places will.

Create a “safe place” to limit your dogs ability to be destructive while you’re away. A safe place should:

  • Confine the dog loosely (a room with a window and toys, not total isolation).
  • Contain busy toys for distraction.
  • Have dirty laundry to lend a calming scent cue or other safety cues.
  • Info For Pet Parents: What Is Separation Anxiety In Dogs And What Are Some Potential Signs?

    Separation anxiety goes beyond the occasional whimper or misadventure when you are away from the home. It’s an affliction that can be severely stressful for your dog when they are left alone.

    If your dog exhibits some of these behavior problems when you are away, they may be suffering from separation anxiety:

  • Excessive barking or howling when left alone
  • Destructive behavior, like chewing clothing, furniture, or other items around the house
  • Frantic scratching on the doors or windows in an apparent attempt to escape
  • Pet ‘accidents’– urinating or defecating inside your home when the dog is otherwise potty-trained
  • Noticeably increased salivation, drooling, or panting (this may be a sign of stress)
  • Intense pacing
  • Anxiously following a pet parent from room to room when they’re preparing to leave
  • Hectic over-excitement when the pet parent comes home1,2
  • In dogs with separation anxiety, these symptoms will occur every time the owner leaves them alone. They may even begin when you start your typical “leaving routine” like grabbing your purse, your keys, and putting shoes on.

    Separation Anxiety: Does your dog go crazy when you leave? Here’s what to do!