Help Your Dog Overcome Separation Anxiety

Does your dog bark, whine, eliminate, or become destructive when you leave home? He may be suffering from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety results when a dog has difficulty coping with his new environment and routine. He clings to you—his pack leader—and panics if you’re not around.

To promote your dog’s independence, start by encouraging him to keep his distance from you in gradually longer increments. This means not letting him follow you throughout the house, pushing him to sleep on his own bed (instead of yours), and teaching him to relax on a piece of furniture other than the one you’re on. Vigorously exercising him before you leave the house is a big help too.

When you do leave, put on a radio or the TV for background noise, and give your pooch a toy to distract him as you depart. And don’t make your exit a long, drawn-out affair. Rather, ignore your dog for the last 15 minutes before you head out, then simply say, “Be good” before you leave.

By encouraging him to be on his own while you’re in the house, you’ll help him to learn that he’s safe without you by his side.