My personal experience with separation anxiety led to my interest in this common and sometimes severe behavior problem. In the early 90’s one of our dogs, Nacho, a siberian husky, had this behavioral problem. Nacho’s distress when left alone was severe – he would bark constantly, injure himself, break out of crates and defecate when confined. I successfully modified Nacho’s behavior problem. Nacho was, after several weeks of behavior modification, able to be confined calmly at our home.
My success with Nacho led to colleagues referring similar cases to me. I have since helped many owners address their own dog’s separation anxiety and am referred to by area veterinarians for this common behavioral problem.
Facts about Separation Anxiety
- This is a behavior problem that is particularly common in dogs that have been adopted from shelters and rescue groups.
- Not all barking and destructive behavior is “separation anxiety.” Dogs may bark, engage in destructive behavior or house soil for many different reasons.
- Every case of separation anxiety is unique. Some dogs cannot be crated at all as the confinement triggers even more panic. Other dogs are more calm in a crate.
- Some dogs have very severe problems while other dogs may show some milder signs.
- Some dogs with separation anxiety also have other anxiety related behavior problems such as fearful behavior with loud sounds or thunderstorms.
- Many people who contact us with dogs that have separation anxiety have recently had a major change in their living situation or home that triggers the behavior. For example, they may have moved, implemented a home renovation or recently had a divorce.
- Separation anxiety is potentially very serious. Dogs can be injured or worse if they are extremely anxious.