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3 simple exercises to prevent and treat separation anxiety in your dog

an emotional problem

Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem that has an emotional root.

The emotion that the dog experiences is enormous anguish at being alone and locked up without its owner.

In addition to a feeling of inability to manage the situation of loneliness and remain calm.

The stress, rising sharply, explodes in the form of destructive behaviors and vocalizations. In addition, hygienic behavior, perspiration, tachycardia and the muscles tense are unbalanced.

Why is separation anxiety so common?

  • Social animal: dogs are social and gregarious animals that like to be close to their social group, in this case you and your family. Staying alone and locked up is an unnatural situation for dogs and we must help them normalize and practice from a young age.
  • Lack of freedom: if being alone can be difficult for a dog, seeing the door closed and not being able to go out can increase his state of anguish. Some dogs suffer from emotions such as claustrophobia and for this reason one of the things that has been shown to favor dogs when they are left alone is having access to an outdoor area where they can take in the fresh air.
  • Basic needs: not having covered your dog’s exercise and walk needs specifically before leaving the house, facilitates the dog’s anxiety when left alone. Therefore, it is convenient to give it a quality walk, before leaving it alone for a few hours.
  • Fear: dogs that have experienced fearful situations being alone at home, can lead to the dog not seeing it as a safe place and therefore not wanting to stay alone in it. This occurs very frequently in dogs that are afraid of noises originating from buildings, sometimes simply as a result of the wind.
  • Changes: moving and other environmental changes raise stress levels, and it can reach a threshold where the dog, still maladjusted, does not want to be left alone.
  • Type of training: several studies have associated the appearance of anxiety due to separation from the tutor, to punitive and confrontational training on the part of the tutor. The use of punitive tools breaks the relationship and spoils the bond. This could lead to your dog not being sure that he has not suffered an abandonment when you walk out the door, that is, confidence is lost. For this reason, it is very important that you never scold the dog if you come home and it has broken something or urinated in your absence as a result of anxiety.

Routines to prevent and treat separation anxiety

When a dog is anxious about being left alone, the guardian can be overwhelmed.

Situations such as going to work, shopping, even throwing out the garbage can become an impossible mission if the dog has to wait at home.

Separation anxiety is one of the behavior problems that requires more patience. Treatment usually takes several months.

3 exercises that you can do daily with your dog and that will help him manage loneliness and gain confidence in himself and in your relationship


  1. 10 minutes training solitude:
    • Place in a room or room of the house, that your dog already knows, a few prizes and many pellets of feed scattered on the floor.
    • Leave him alone looking for them with the help of his nose, while you are at your ball in another room of the house.
    • Make sure you have enough balls or game for 10 minutes.
    • The ideal time to do this exercise is when you return from a walk.
  1. 5 minutes of regulated affective exchange:
    • Every day, you should dedicate 5 minutes to give your dog a good dose of caresses
    • Caresses are essential to strengthen the bond, since when we perform them, the secretion of oxytocin is produced, which is the hormone responsible for affection and trust.
    • For dogs, humans are experts in caressing with our two hands and 10 fingers.
  1. Give your output a hint:
    • A very common mistake is to follow exactly the same exit protocol when we leave with the dog than without it.
    • This makes your dog think he’s coming and… boom! The door closes and he stays inside.
    • This is why you can help your dog with a code phrase that lets him know that you will be back. For example: “stay there” , “I’ll be back”, “I’m going to work”.
    • You can also give it a visual clue by placing an object on the door (such as a hanger with a shirt on it, or a handkerchief on the doorknob). Something that tells you exactly the same as the sentence, that your tutor is going to return.

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