It's time to talk about the dreaded SA: Separation Anxiety
While COVID-19 has enabled lots of people to spend more time with their dogs or bring a new puppy or dog home, it has also set us up for challenges with separation anxiety once life begins to go back to normal.
The first step to preventing or helping your dog with SA is to understand what SA is and be able to recognize it.
Separation anxiety in dogs describes when a dog exhibits distress and behavior problems when separated from its person/people.
These are some of the scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety:
Being left alone for the first time.
Being left alone when accustomed to always having your people around and not having alone time.
Suffering a traumatic event, such as time at a shelter or boarding kennel.
Change in the family's routine or structure, or the loss of a family member or other pet.
SA can look different in different dogs, affects puppies and adult dogs, and can include one or more of the following:
Following handler excessively - aka dog shadow
Excessive shaking (usually seen in smaller breeds like the Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier)
Barking, howling, whining
Urination, defecation in the house
Digging, shredding, destruction, scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to reunite with the handler.
We know how stressful and upsetting it can be when your dog struggles with SA. BUT! SA is a totally manageable behaviour that you and your dog can overcome. Keep following this series and we will share tips and tricks of how you and your pooch can overcome SA together while apart.