(Closed) What to do for separation anxiety?

posted 6 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Ours too.  IT’s better when we crate her when we leave: she must feel safe in there. Have you tried crating? 

Post # 4
724 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I agree with PP, my roommates dog has terrible seperation anxiety. He scratched the door so much that there was blood all over it from his paws bleeding. He also started to pee on her bed even if she was only gone for like an hour because he was so nervous about her leaving. Crating her dog was the best thing she has ever done! He loves it in there and sometimes, even if she is home, he will go in there and sleep if he is scared from a storm or someone new being in the house. It has really become a safe place for him! I would absolutely recommend trying it. 

Post # 5
3136 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

i CURED my last dog of this and it was super easy. it’s more a testament to how smart he was than to how good i am at training. milo would bark all day long when i was gone. neighbors complained. it stressed me out. i knew he was stressed. so i hired an expensive trainer to come over and hang out with us. best decision. ok here it is.

1. starting at least 10 min before you leave the house, ignore your dog. no petting when you walk by, no quick game of tug. definitely no big long good bye baby i love you mommy see you soon. when you’re leaving, you walk out the door with no fanfare.

2. when you come home, ignore your dog. walk right on past him and do something else. i would get changed and have a drink of water- about 5-10 min. the first min he will do everything to get your attention. then he’ll just do his own thing.

3. give him space when you’re home with him. he needs to be independent of you. the best way to do this? ignore him! not for hours and hours, but my tendency was to hug and kiss and give him nonstop attention. after a while, he became independent enough that he would go sleep on my bed when i was in the living room (ok, just 1 room away, but this was big news for us!).

it sounds mean- who doesn’t want to have their dog rush into their arms, but it’s the best way to cure him. milo was part border collie (smarty pants) so i did this for 1 day and boom, he knew that this is how we do things now. it may take longer than a day, but it will work!


Post # 9
907 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My dog had this issue at first but we were able to get over it bc he gets obsessed about food I’d giving him his Kong with peanut butter 3 mins. before we left the house and he would get so distracted by it he didn’t notice us leave. We also would ” hide” tiny treats in the house to make a game for him. Good luck with ure doggie.

Post # 10
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Tswife4ever:  Separation anxiety is one of the saddest and most frustrating things to deal with as a pet owner.

The first thing to realize is you aren’t going to get a quick fix. Seperation anxiety requires rehabilitation training. This essentially means you need to go back to the very beginning and treat this dog like a brand new puppy who doesn’t know the rules.

One of the biggest issues in seperation anxiety cases is lack of firm leadership aka confusion over who is the alpha. When a dog is allowed to take the lead in some situations it creates confusion. This confusion can progressively become worse overtime. It’s not normal for someone in the pack to just get up and leave but it is completely normal for the alpha to get up and leave. Please don’t take this as a criticism or judgement toward you, we all do it. I’ve worked with animals for years and honestly it still just doesn’t come natural for me to even try to be the alpha over our dogs. It’s just not how humans are wired.

You need to firmly establish your position as the alpha of your pack. This is step one in retraining. The best way to do this is to go by the NILF method (Nothing in Life is Free) This method basically states the dog must work to get what it wants. Dogs don’t get treats for being dogs, they get treats for doing what you ask of them. Here is a good little article that goes over the basics of NILF training.


It’s very important to strictly stick to this especially in the beginning.

I’ve found counterconditioning works best if the dog is given something positive everytime you leave. For instance, kong toys are only given when we leave the house. We usually but some peanut butter in there and freeze it. This guarantees at least a good half and hour of entertainment for the dog. The important thing is they ONLY get this treat when you leave. By doing this the treat becomes high value to the dog and therefore has more positive things associated with it.

I would start off by creating situations where the dog is left alone that do not produce any fear/anxiety response in the dog, like being in another room for instance.

Simply give the dog it’s kong and close the door. Leave the dog in there for 10 minutes or so and make sure once you reenter the room you only do so if the dog is calm and quite. Entering when the dog is howling, pacing, etc. only further conditions an anxiety ridden response in the dog. Basically what you are trying to she him/her is yes you leave but he/she gets wonderful treats and you will come back as long as he/she is calm and well behaved. When you do reenter the room make sure it’s low key. Go about your business getting things together, cleaning up, or whatever but under no circumstances should the dog be given attention within the first few minutes of reentering, especially if the dog is wild, whiny, frantic and otherwise illbehaved. Remember Nothing in Life is Free and dogs don’t get rewards(like belly rubs) for behaving badly.

Anyway this is all I can post for now. I’ll give you a couple of links to check out and try to get back with you, maybe through a pm with more information. Just keep your head up and go into this with a realistic attitude. This will take some time. I have dealt with minor to severe cases of separation anxiety with all of our rescue dogs and trust me there is nothing a little time and a lot of effort can’t solve.


Oh and I would speak to your veterinarian about a reference to a behaviorist or at least a phone number to one. They can provide you with a lot more help and insight than your standard veterinarian. Also depending on the severity of the dogs anxiety you may at some point have to consider an anti anxiety medication like Clomicalm. This is not something that fixes the dog. It is essentially a medication that places the dog in a calm state of mind and helps facilitate the counterconditioning and desensitization process.

This is a fixable situation. You just have to remember that and keep some faith.  One of our rescues came to us from one of the most horrible situations I have dealt with to date. The fact that he is alive today and health as can be is a true testament to his strength and determination.
But this dog, who had long craved for some TLC, became too dependent on us(the only ones who ever cared for him) and he became so stricken with fear and anxiety that he would literally eat his feet. I’m talking about chunks of paw pads, fur and nails completely missing and digesting in his stomach. When he accidently got locked in the guest bedroom while I was cleaning he chewed straight through that wall into the bathroom and from the bathroom into the hallaway. He destroyed two chairs, chewed through two crates requiring two separate trips to the vet and a grand total of 156 sutures. He was literally the worst case I have ever seen or dealt with and as sad as I am to admit it there came a point where I seriously wondered if he wasn’t “broken” for life and we considered euthanasia because there is no way another person could deal with it. BUT that is personally not my style. So we kicked things into high gear and I am quite happy and proud to say he is every bit the happy, well adjusted dog he should have always been. There’s something special about this one and I’m glad we stuck with it despite all the heartache. I love all of our furries friends but I think he’s my favorite because I share a bond with him I’ll never be able to share with the others.

Good luck and please feel free to pm me at any time with questions, concerns, complaints, etc.


Post # 11
368 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My parents dog suffered from separation anxiety so they got a second dog.  Not probably the best solution, but it works for them.

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