Dogs that do not want to be alone

SEPARATION: All dogs are prone to this form of anxiety

I HAVE already talked about separation anxiety in dogs. Because it is such a serious subject I will return to the subject.

Separation anxiety sometimes occurs:


            When a dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.

            Following a long interval, such as a vacation, during which the owner and dog are constantly together.

            After a traumatic event (from the dog’s point of view), such as a period of time spent at a shelter or boarding kennel.

            After a change in the family’s routine or structure (such as a child leaving for college, a change in work schedule, a move to a new home, or a new pet or person in the home).


If most, or all, of the following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation anxiety problem:


            The problem behaviour occurs exclusively or primarily when he’s left alone.

            He follows you from room to room whenever you’re home.

            He displays effusive, frantic greeting behaviour.

            He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house.

            He dislikes spending time outdoors by himself.


Next week I will look at some long term solutions to help your pet cope with anxiety. But because the treatments can take a while, and because a dog with separation anxiety can do serious damage to himself and/or your home in the interim, consider these suggestions to help you and your dog cope in the short term:

Consult your vet about the possibility of drug therapy.  A good anti-anxiety drug should not sedate your dog, but simply reduce his anxiety while you’re gone. Such medication is a temporary measure and should be used in conjunction with behaviour modification techniques.

Take your dog to a dog day care facility or boarding kennel when you are away.

Leave your dog with a friend, family member, or neighbour. 

Take your dog to work with you, even for half a day, if possible.


David the Dog Man

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