So many dog owners (including myself) can tell you that living with a dog who has separation anxiety is not easy.
If you are in my position, where I am a single mum of four children (and a dog) doing the school runs is one of the most stressful of times, and it is because of our dog, I can’t leave him at home. I can’t put him in his crate in the car without him barking excessively which distracts me from my driving and my kids get embarrassed when their classmates pass our parked car, and the dog has not stopped his barking.
Leaving my dog at home seemed like an option but my dog would bark, howl, chew at his crate and try to escape and, once, got stuck in the entrance and perimeter of his crate and, in so doing, destroyed it.
Although my dog has behaviour problems, he has made significant progress. He is not now badly behaved when we are at home, but only when he is left alone. His separation anxiety is triggered when he realises his family has left the room or house. That is when he becomes upset.
It’s important if you have a puppy to train them so you don’t have to face future difficulties. It is not fair on the puppy if you do not do this because as they get older being separated from the family will cause them a great deal of stress to the point where they will destroy furniture, damage doors and windows –anywhere they see as an exit point- and harm themselves in the process.
And this causes distress and anxiety for the owner too. Knowing what you are likely to find when you get back home. You don’t feel relaxed when you are out doing your grocery shopping. It is like rushing to the toilet when you are desperate. You throw things in your trolley, rush to the checkout, rush to the car hoping there will be minimal damage when you get home.
If you are not sure if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety here are what symptoms that I have observed in my dog.
Barking and Howling
My dog started barking and howling, whimpering, whining and crying when he would sense that we were getting ready to leave whether or not we were in same room with him.
Chewing, digging and destruction.
My Bruno, this little dog, chewed the metal bars of his dog crate. He chewed his bedding. He destroyed everything inside the crate. he tried digging himself out of his crate. He has injured his forehead by squeezing his face through the locked crate. Blood was running down his white coat.
The above are just a couple of things. There are more.
But there is hope.
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