Separation anxiety is a common phenomenon in dogs. This is often due to excessive attention in the newly adopted puppy. In fact, when one thinks about it, his master tends to want to overly calm this little doggie who has just passed away from his mother. The latter, however, has begun to establish the natural phenomenon of detachment, which the master must continue with in order to prevent his animal from developing a hyper-attachment to him, which forces him to see his master as his only referent and to become dependent on him . to the point that one no longer supports not having him permanently in his field of vision.
Separation anxiety causes anxiety and growing stress in dogs, which causes them to fear each absence and encourages them to compensate for their disorders with “mistakes” and abnormal behavior. But once this phenomenon is established, the animal is drawn into a spiral of terrible suffering, which can force it to develop serious behavioral problems. Let’s take a look at this case.
Separation anxiety in dogs: what is it? What are the reasons?
Separation anxiety, also known as abandonment neurosis or of detachment disorder, is relatively common in puppies and dogs. The consequences of this disorder can be significant and especially difficult to bear for the animal and for its master, but also for their neighborhood.
Puppy needs and natural detachment
Separation anxiety can have several explanations. To understand the reasons why this phenomenon can develop, it is necessary to look at the needs of the dog, and especially the puppy, from birth.
In fact, the little puppy is completely dependent on its mother in its first weeks of life. This natural bond calms him, calms him and allows him to grow and develop calmly with a loving being who teaches him to become a dog. This attachment is so naturally transferred to its master, who, when the little one is separated from his mother, raises it and takes the place of referent.
But this affiliation is gradually changing. The female dog learns each of her little ones to detach from her gradually, not to get rid of her, but for them to learn to become autonomous and independent, to live and survive without her. To do this, when they are able to meet some of their basic needs on their own, she will respond less and less to their requests, she will push them away little by little, and she will prefer to sleep at a distance. This natural process will allow the puppy to learn to detach and be ready to live his life as an adult dog.
Therefore, when he joins his master’s home, it is normal for him to postpone the attachment he had to his mother to this new referent. It is also natural for the master to take care of his new little companion. On the other hand, do not go overboard and accept all the whims of the animalrespond immediately to all his requests or even pamper him all the time.
Why ? Just because this excessive care does not allow the puppy to detach itself enough from its master. This one takes care of it as if it were an abandoned baby, but the puppy has already been used to natural detachment from its mother and is ready to continue this healthy process that aims to bring it towards autonomy. . By making it a newborn again, it somehow cannot develop. He attaches himself to his master, and the latter becomes his only reference, which pushes him to create an overdeveloped addiction.
As a result, the dog only sees through its master. This will be his only landmark, his lighthouse. As soon as he is absent, he is lost and he develops separation anxiety, a kind of feeling of anxiety that leads to behavioral problems with catastrophic consequences. The desperate animal becomes hyper-anxious, constantly barking and / or destroying the interior of the house.
Hyperlink and the master’s attitude
Of course, we do not invite dog owners to no longer care for their little companion. No, it’s just a question, as the mother did, about encouraging the animal to learn to become independent and about helping it continue this learning that has already begun.
Many masters also tend to favor the phenomenon of attachment by committing certain behavioral errors. Many are used to making every departure and every return an event. As they go, they reassure their doggie by explaining to him that they have to go, but that they will be back very soon. However, this is a mistake because this behavior in no way calms the animal, but on the contrary, it will worry it. He then understands that something is wrong, that it is not normal for his master to be absent as he needs to be reassured. As a result, any gesture associated with leaving him causes growing anxiety (shoes, coat, keys, etc.). The dog is stressed about seeing his master leave him.
Upon returning home, the master is often happy and flattered that his animals are making him the party. When he feels guilty about leaving him alone for a few hours, he responds to his requests and spends time with him immediately to reassure him. Again, this only reinforces the idea that the absence was abnormal and gave rise to concern.
Moreover, if the doggie who lost being alone has done something stupid, his master tends to scold him. Big mistake! No folly that is not caught in the act shall not be punished or wroth. The dog is unable to associate its owner’s anger with the behavior he had an hour or two before. On the contrary, scolding him will increase his anxiety. In this case, it is better to remain calm, ignore him and kindly send him to bed to clean up his stupidity, but especially not in front of him, for he would take it for a play!
It should also be noted that certain dog breeds, such as Jack Russel, develop a strong dependence on their master. It is therefore important to be aware of it so as not to let bad habits take over. Also, puppies that were separated from their mother prematurely and those that were abandoned are also more likely to suffer from this disorder.
How is separation anxiety manifested in dogs?
It is interesting to observe how this phenomenon manifests itself in the dog. If you are not sure if your little friend is suffering from it, these signs may shed light on you.
How does separation anxiety manifest in dogs in the presence of their master?
The animal suffering from separation anxiety assumes a characteristic behavior in the presence of its master. Hypersticky, he follows him constantly and constantly seeks his attention. He waits for her in front of the toilet or bathroom door and moans. At night he sleeps with him, or he lies outside the door and cries.
When he walks, he stays close to his master and never wanders away so as not to lose sight of him.
How does separation anxiety manifest in dogs when their owner is gone?
In the absence of its masters, the dog suffering from separation anxiety may exhibit the following behaviors:
- he barks or moans;
- he destroys objects, furniture, wallpaper;
- he relieves himself in the dwelling;
- he searches in the bins;
- he may refuse to eat;
- he forcibly licks his paws or pulls his hair out at this level.
What to do if your dog suffers from separation anxiety?
Your dog suffers from separation anxiety. To remedy this, you will need to gradually help him detach from you, but do not introduce new habits too suddenly because he would become disoriented and it could favor the onset of more serious behavioral problems.
Here are the ideas you can put in place to help your dog and teach him to be alone:
- The lack of physical activity favors the phenomenon. It is important to allow your pet to go out for a walk with you for at least 30 minutes each day and plan two to three longer walks per week. He will thus be able to exert himself and run to evacuate his overflow of energy.
- In your absence, you can offer stimulating toys to your dog to relieve boredom. Choose toys that stimulate his intelligence and physique to engage him and vary them regularly.
- When you leave and return home, do not make it an event. Ignore your dog for 10 to 15 minutes before and after, so that your departures and trips home become everyday moments.
- Do not hesitate to play on false starts. We have said that your dog is eager to see you get ready before you leave. To help him no longer feel this oppressive stress, touch your keys, lace up your shoes or put on your coat and then put them away without going out. Thus, your animal will understand that these elements are not necessarily associated with your absence.
- When you return, do not punish your dog for his nonsense. He does not seek to provoke you, but he shows his anxiety and his suffering, and he thus seeks your help.
- Avoid letting your dog sleep with you. It is preferable that he spends his nights in another room.
- You have to be the source of the hugs. So do not always respond to requests from your little companion. Make contact. Likewise, if he follows you everywhere, send him to his basket from time to time.
- Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice and to be accompanied by a dog behavior expert. It is also possible to set up therapy and drug treatments to help the dog no longer suffer from this severe and disabling anxiety.
Unfortunately, separation anxiety is one of the leading causes of abandonment. Some masters even choose killing to no longer have to put up with this behavior in their dog. Without understanding that they are very much at the origin.