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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Do you sometimes find that your dog has acted up in your absence? If you frequently return to your Poway home to find that your canine buddy has made a mess, or if you can hear him barking before you walk in the door, your pooch may have separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a fairly common occurrence in our furry pals. Dogs are not meant to be solitary animals. Our canine friends, by nature, live in packs, and are very rarely left alone. Dogs with separation anxiety might bark, howl, chew, dig, or try to escape. Some dogs will even urinate or defecate as a response to separation anxiety. Dogs may also soil due to physical issues, or incomplete/poor housetraining, so if this is the main issue you are seeing with your dog, check with your vet.

If your pooch is displaying signs of separation anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help Fido work through his fear of being alone.

Morning Walks

You’ll want to be sure to walk Fido before you leave the house for the day. You should walk fast enough for him to burn off some excess energy. Reward him with a treat if he behaves well during the morning walk.

Don’t Reinforce Bad Behavior

Don’t fuss over your dog in the mornings before you go to work, and ignore him at first when you come home. We know, it’s hard to resist that wagging tail, but giving him too much attention at these key times will only reinforce his behavior. The time frames may vary from five minutes to an hour, depending on your pup’s anxiety levels. The point is to make Fido feel that leaving and returning are common, and not a big deal. Also, don’t punish your dog for making a mess. Negative attention is still attention, and some dogs will prefer that to being ignored.

Give Fido Space

When leaving, put your dog in a room that can stand up to a bit of wear and tear. Leave him with some toys, food and water, but nothing he can destroy.

It may take a bit of time for your dog to work through these issues. You may find that your pooch has good days and bad days. It isn’t likely that he will ever stop missing you when you are gone, but hopefully, as time passes, he will realize that he won’t be alone for very long, and begin to relax when left alone in your home.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions on helping your Poway dog cope with separation anxiety.

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