Separation Axiety

Posted by yunicobb
Sep 28, 2007
We have a 5 month old small yorkshire terrier (4 lbs); he is loving and generally well behaved dog; our only concern is separation anxiety; when we leave home he is left in a relatively large room; he has food, water, a dog bed, and chew toys; a minor problem is that he scratches the door; we are more concerned that he seems very anxious; it is to the point that we often come home he has thrown up in front of the door and is very, very hyper. We are concerned and it makes us feel very bad to leave him at home because he seems so anxious. He also shows other signs of this condition such as following us around the house. The first few months we had him we rarely left him alone. This was because our schedules were different and our daughter was home from school. Now that my daughter is back in school and our schedules have changed it is necessary to leave him alone for periods of time (rarely more than 2 hours).
Posted by ncolby
Sep 28, 2007
Hi there,

I would strongly suggest crate training your pup. Many folks think it is mean, but it is honestly not. It gives them a sense of security and safety, and also a place that is all theirs! Eventually your pup will go to the crate on it's own just because it represents pup's own place!

Things to keep in mind:

The crate should only give them enough room to stand up, turn and lay comfortably.

Start off slow, and only while you are at home. Put doggy in for short intervals and stay close. Praise and reward doggy for being calm in the crate. Gradually increase time, and even leave the house for short periods.

Never use the crate as a punishment.

[B]Never leave collar on while doggy is in crate.[/B]

Good luck!

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 29, 2007
Hi there!

Poor doggie! He must feel so insecure and worried when left by himself. But people have things to do outside home, such as work, schools, and errands so it can't be helped to leave him home sometimes.

I agree with ncolby's suggestion of crate training, although my dogs are not crate trained.

Another thing you can do is to give your doggie a chance to get used to be left alone. On weekends, just leave him inside the house and all of your human family go out of the front door without making a big scene. Come back one by one in a few minutes. Praise him for being good and you will repeat this practice by extending the duration of the time him being left alone. The goal is to let him learn that you will always come home so he doesn't need to feel insecure.

Holly, our rescued Border Collie mix, was 1-2 years old when we adopted and she had a separation anxiety although we had another dog (13 years old German Short Hair) at that time. Since she was a stray and was starving to death when found, she ate everything she could reach inside the house when all human family was gone. She stole foods from the kitchen counter every time she was left. It took her a couple of weeks until she finally realized that we would always come home so she doesn't have to steel foods.

Dogs don't know if you will be back in a few minutes or may not be back forever. By repeating to disappear and come back, they will get used to the patterns. I think everything they learn is from experience. As they get used to it, it becomes a routine and not a big deal anymore.

Good luck!!