What is Separation Anxiety, and what are the behaviors associated with this challenging condition?
What is Separation Anxiety, and what are the behaviors associated with this challenging condition? Head of Training & Behavior and Certified Separation Anxiety trainer, Karishma Warr, explains.
Separation anxiety is a blanket term for a fear response that occurs in dogs when separated from either a specific person, another animal, or when left alone. We usually make the distinction between three behavioral presentations of SA:
Dogs with separation anxiety are not getting back at you for leaving, or just being ‘naughty’ dogs. The infamous ‘guilty face’ that some dogs exhibit upon guardian return is most likely a response to the shock/ concern their humans are exhibiting and an attempt to pacify and avoid punishment. When dogs with separation anxiety are left alone, they experience genuine fear, stress and panic, and are not in control of their alone time behavior.
“When dogs with separation anxiety are left alone, they experience genuine fear, stress and panic, and are not in control of their alone time behavior. ”
There are a wide variety of behaviors that indicate an animal is suffering from Separation Anxiety. These behaviors will be observed when the dog is left alone, or about to be left alone.
hen the dog is left alone, or about to be left alone.
Vocalizations include whining, barking and howling. Destructive behaviors are often targeted at the door or window, but can include destruction of furniture, raiding the trash etc. Elimination (peeing and pooping) can also be seen even in fully potty trained dogs.
Fixation on exit points - Trembling or shaking - Urination/ defecation - Ears pinned back - Hyper-salivation/ drooling - Hyper-vigilance - Increased Activity (pacing) - Increased Grooming - Repetitive Behaviors - Rapid Respiration - Self Mutilation - Escape Attempts - Dilated Pupils - Furrowed Brow - Wide Eyes - Tightly closed mouth - Freezing
The biggest question we get is: is separation anxiety treatable?
The good news is YES!!
One thing that can significantly speed up progress is to collaborate with a professional. Our separation anxiety specialists craft individualized daily desensitization sessions for our clients to systematically introduce alone time and minimize the development of separation anxiety.
Contact us today to set up an Initial Consultation and GET STARTED.