Animals Dog Training Dogs

Dealing with Dog Separation Anxiety: Tips and Techniques

When your dog has a tough time being away from you, it’s hard on both of you. This article is here to help you understand ‘dog separation anxiety‘ and how you can make things better. We get it—being apart is tough for your furry friend. We’ll talk about spotting the signs and share some expert tips to help out. Let’s jump in and make life easier for your dog.

Common Concerns of Dog Separation Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety is a prevalent issue faced by many dog owners. This condition occurs when a dog becomes extremely distressed and anxious when separated from its owner or left alone. The distress can show through various actions, such as excessive dog barking, destructive chewing, pacing, and even house soiling. Understanding the root causes of this anxiety is important for effective management.

Identifying the Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety

It’s essential to recognize the signs of dog separation anxiety to address the issue effectively. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Dog Excessive Vocalization: Does your dog bark, howl, or whine excessively when you leave?
  2. Destructive Dog Behavior: Is your furniture, shoes, or other belongings often the target of your dog’s anxious chewing?
  3. Pacing and restlessness: Does your dog seem restless, pacing back and forth when left alone?
  4. Inappropriate Elimination: Does your dog urinate or defecate indoors, even if it’s house-trained?
  5. Dog Escape Attempts: Does your dog try to escape or destroy doors, windows, or enclosures when you’re not around?

These symptoms can be distressing for both the dog and the owner, but with patience and the right strategies, improvement is possible.

Understanding the Underlying Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety can stem from various factors. Some common causes include:

  1. Past Trauma: Dogs that have experienced abandonment, abuse, or sudden changes in their environment may be more prone to separation anxiety.
  2. Change in Dog Routine: Dogs are creatures of habit. A sudden change in their daily routine, such as a new work schedule, can trigger anxiety.
  3. Lack of Dog Socialization: Dogs that haven’t been adequately socialized during their early stages of life might struggle with being alone.
  4. Attachment: Dogs with a strong attachment to their owners may find it difficult to cope with their absence.

Dog Separation Anxiety: Techniques to Help Your Dog

Fortunately, there are several effective techniques to help your furry friend cope with separation anxiety:

  1. Desensitization: Gradually get your dog used to being alone by starting with short periods and gradually increasing the duration.
  2. Create a Safe Space: Designate a comfortable and secure area where your dog can retreat when you’re not around.
  3. Interactive Toys: Provide your dog with engaging toys that can keep them occupied while you’re away.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog for calm behavior when you leave and return.
  5. Consult a professional: If your dog’s anxiety persists, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.

Home Remedies for Dog Separation Anxiety

  1. Gradual Departures and Arrivals: Practice leaving and returning home in a calm manner. Gradually increase the time you’re away, so your dog becomes accustomed to your absence.
  2. Create a Safe Space: Designate a comfortable and safe area for your dog to relax in when you’re not around. This can be a crate, a specific room, or a cozy corner.
  3. Desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to the cues that indicate you’re about to leave (putting on shoes, picking up keys) without actually leaving. This helps reduce the anxiety associated with those cues.
  4. Interactive Toys and Puzzles: Provide toys that dispense treats or require interaction. These can keep your dog engaged and distracted during your absence.
  5. Regular Dog Exercise: Ensure your dog gets ample physical and mental exercise daily. A tired dog is more likely to be calm and content when left alone.
  6. Calming Music or White Noise: Playing calming music or white noise can help create a soothing environment and mask outside sounds that might trigger anxiety.
  7. Positive Departure and Arrival Associations: Associate your departures and arrivals with positive experiences. For example, you can give your dog a special treat only when you leave, which they’ll start to associate with your departure.
  8. Ignore Attention-Seeking Behavior: When you return home, wait until your dog has calmed down before giving them attention. This avoids reinforcing overly excited behavior.
  9. Frequent Short Separations: Practice leaving your dog alone for short periods initially, gradually increasing the time. This helps build their confidence and tolerance for being alone.
  10. Soothing Scents: Some dogs respond well to calming scents like lavender or chamomile. You can use a diffuser or scented spray in a safe space.
  11. Training and Obedience: Engage in obedience training to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. This can increase their confidence and trust in you.
  12. Desensitize to Departure Cues: Gradually expose your dog to cues like putting on your coat or picking up your bag without actually leaving. This can help reduce the anxiety associated with those cues.
  13. Stay calm: Dogs can pick up on human emotions, so ensure you stay calm when leaving or returning. Your relaxed demeanor can help reassure them.

Remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It’s important to be patient and consistent in your approach. If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe or doesn’t improve with home remedies, consider seeking advice from a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian who specializes in behavior.

Puppy Separation Anxiety: Understanding and Managing It

Puppy separation anxiety is a common condition where young dogs experience distress and anxiety when separated from their owners. It’s important to address this issue early to prevent it from becoming a more significant problem as the puppy grows. Here’s what you need to know about puppy separation anxiety:

Signs of Puppy Separation Anxiety: Puppies with separation anxiety might exhibit behaviors such as:

  • Excessive whining or barking when left alone.
  • Destructive chewing or scratching, especially around exit points like doors.
  • Pacing or trying to follow you around excessively.
  • House soiling, even if they were previously housetrained.
  • Overly enthusiastic greetings upon your return.
  • Signs of agitation or restlessness before you leave.

Managing Puppy Separation Anxiety

  1. Gradual Introductions: Begin by leaving your puppy alone for very short periods and gradually increasing the time. This helps them build confidence that you’ll return.
  2. Positive Crate Training: Introduce your puppy to a crate as a safe and cozy space. Use positive reinforcement, treats, and toys to make the crate a positive place.
  3. Desensitization: Practice picking up keys, putting on your coat, and other departure cues without actually leaving. This reduces the anxiety associated with those actions.
  4. Interactive Toys: Provide engaging toys that dispense treats or require your puppy’s attention. These toys can keep them occupied and mentally stimulated while you’re away.
  5. Routine and predictability: Establish a consistent daily routine for feeding, playtime, and potty breaks. Predictability can help reduce anxiety.
  6. Gradual Alone Time: Increase the time your puppy spends alone slowly. Consider using a baby gate to separate them from you while you’re still at home.
  7. Quiet Departures and Arrivals: Avoid making departures and arrivals overly exciting. Keep them low-key to prevent your puppy from getting overly anxious.
  8. Positive Associations: Offer treats or special toys when you leave to create a positive association with your departure.
  9. Socialization: Expose your puppy to a variety of people, places, and experiences when they’re young. This can help build their confidence and reduce anxiety.
  10. Professional Help: If the anxiety persists despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a veterinarian or professional dog trainer who specializes in behavior.


Dealing with a dog that gets really upset when you’re not around can be tough, but there are ways to help them feel better. Just take it slow, be kind, and cheer them on when they do something good. If things get really hard, it might be a good idea to talk to experts who know a lot about dog behavior. Once you figure out why your dog feels this way and try out the right tricks, you’ll see a big difference in how happy your dog is. You’ll get to enjoy a calmer, happier dog, and your friendship will get even stronger.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can separation anxiety be cured?

    Yes, with the right techniques and patience, separation anxiety can be significantly improved. It’s essential to be consistent and seek professional advice if needed.

  2. How long does it take to see improvement?

    The timeframe varies depending on the dog and the severity of the anxiety. Some dogs may show improvement within a few weeks, while others may take longer.

  3. Are certain breeds more prone to separation anxiety?

    Yes, some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, tend to be more prone to separation anxiety. However, any breed can experience this condition.

  4. Is medication an option?

    In severe cases, the veterinarian may consider prescribing medication. However, it’s typically used as a last resort after behavioral techniques have been tried.

  5. Can I leave my dog alone if they have separation anxiety?

    It’s essential to address the anxiety before leaving your dog alone for extended periods of time. Gradual desensitization and other techniques can help your dog become more comfortable with being alone.

  6. Can separation anxiety lead to other health issues?

    Yes, chronic stress from separation anxiety can have negative effects on your dog’s overall health. It’s crucial to address this issue to ensure your dog’s well-being.

  7. How do you stop separation anxiety in dogs?

    To stop separation anxiety in dogs, you can try the following approaches:
    Gradually adapt your dog to being alone through short departures and arrivals.
    Create a safe and comfortable space for your dog when you’re not around.
    Use interactive toys and puzzles to keep your dog engaged.
    Practice desensitization by exposing your dog to departure cues without leaving.
    Provide regular exercise and mental stimulation.
    Use positive associations, like special treats for departures.
    Consider calming music or white noise to create a soothing environment.
    Train your dog in obedience and strengthen your bond.
    Seek professional help if the anxiety persists or worsens.

  8. Do dogs eventually get over separation anxiety?

    With consistent training and patience, many dogs can overcome or manage separation anxiety. However, the timeline for improvement varies from dog to dog. While some dogs may show significant improvement over time, others might always need some level of support and management to cope with being alone.

  9. What are signs of separation anxiety in dogs?

    Signs of separation anxiety in dogs may include the following:
    Excessive barking or howling when left alone.
    Destructive behavior, like chewing furniture or scratching doors.
    Pacing or restlessness
    House soiling, even when previously housetrained.
    Attempting to escape from the confinement area.
    Excessive drooling or panting.
    Following the owner excessively when at home.

  10. Should you ignore a dog with separation anxiety?

    Ignoring a dog with separation anxiety immediately upon returning home can actually help in the long run. While it might be tempting to greet your dog enthusiastically, doing so can reinforce their overly excited behavior. Instead, wait until your dog calms down before offering attention. This teaches them that your departure and return are not overly dramatic events.

  11. Why do puppies experience separation anxiety?

    Puppies, like human infants, form strong attachments to their caregivers. When they’re separated from their owners, especially during the critical socialization period, they can experience anxiety due to the sudden change in their environment and routine. Young pups may struggle when left alone because they haven’t learned to cope with isolation yet.

  12. Can puppy separation anxiety be prevented?

    While some degree of anxiety is natural, you can take steps to prevent or minimize puppy separation anxiety:
    Gradually introduce your puppy to being alone in a positive way.
    Practice short periods of separation to build their tolerance.
    Encourage independence by letting them explore on their own.
    Socialize your puppy early with different people, animals, and environments.
    Avoid making departures and arrivals overly dramatic.
    Create a safe and comfortable space for your puppy when you’re not around.
    Provide engaging toys and mental stimulation.


“As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases where there is no additional cost to you. This is one way to support us.” The products displayed here are well-researched, highly rated by users, and fast-moving.

About the author


PetsCareWorld is a website dedicated to providing reliable and helpful information about pets and their care. Our team consists of experienced pet owners, veterinarians, animal trainers, and writers. The team shares a common love for animals and a desire to help others. We cover topics such as pet health, nutrition, grooming, training, behavior, and more. Our articles are based on scientific research, expert opinions, and personal experiences. We also feature stories, tips, and reviews from our readers and community members. We want to teach and motivate pet owners to choose wisely and take good care of their pets. We give honest and helpful information that makes pets and their owners happier. We like to hear from our readers and get their ideas. We hope to make a nice and friendly group of pet lovers. Thank you for visiting PetsCareWorld and we hope you enjoy our content.