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Dog Separation Anxiety: History, Signs and Symptoms

A dog is a man's best friend, this is a phrase we have heard many times. The feelings of their
owners are reciprocated by pets, dogs provide love and affection that is incomparable to other
animals.

When dogs become emotionally attached to their owners this affection can often get a little out
of hand. Sometimes this can become so much that time spent apart can be unbearable for the
dog and they become a victim of dog separation anxiety.

History of the Dog's Life
This behavior is not displayed by all dogs and it is typically seen in dogs that have been
abandoned by their mother. Often times these types of dogs spend their lives in shelters or pet
shops and when they are given attention by their new owners they become overwhelmed.
When dogs are subjected to a new environment or a new owner a dog may show the
symptoms of dog separation anxiety.

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety
Destructive behavior after their owner's departure is exhibited by almost all dogs experiencing
dog separation anxiety. They will often knock things out of place or chew on the owner's shoes.
A period of endless howling or barking may start twenty to thirty minutes later. Excessive
greeting behavior that is seen when the owner returns is the most typical sign of dog
separation anxiety.

A series of psychological changes is undergone by the dog which the owner doesn't see when
they are not around. Usually dog separation symptoms are hyperactive in nature, but some
dogs will become slow and depressed. Even though well trained before some dogs may
defecate or urinate in inappropriate places.

Dogs begin to sense the impending departure of their master with the passage of time. Before
the owner leaves the dog will follow their loved one from room to room and then scratch or dig
at the door after the owner has left.

How to Combat Dog Separation Anxiety
By training the dog over time, dog separation anxiety can be overcome. It is best to gradually
teach the dog to spend time on his own. At first the intervals should be short and then
gradually increased in length over time. Before he is to be left alone, professionals will often
advise caretakers to let the dog run around and exercise. However the dog will tire out and
then take a nap while the owner is gone. The same effect might happen with a heavy meal.

Medication is available for dog separation anxiety since vets recognize this problem. Gradual
training in most cases will help the dog out of this phase and allow the owner to enjoy a
fulfilling relationship with your pet.

From Overcoming Anxiety.org