10 Tips on Handling a Dog with Separation Anxiety Disorder

A dog with separation anxiety disorder lacks confidence. They are most likely to excessively bark, dig, chew, pace back and forth, and fence jump.

Dogs that have been in shelters suffer from separation anxiety the most. These insecure pooches need gentle handling, and their anxiety related activities take time to cure.


Here are some simple tips to alleviate your dog's stress.

  1. Gradually increase the period of separation. Do it over many weeks.
  2. Always leave your dog with a favorite toy. Make sure the toy has your comforting scent---rub it around in your dirty laundry first. Take it back when you get home.
  3. Work on socializing him. Expose your pooch to different people, places, and situations. A well socialized dog is more confident and will handle alone time better.
  4. More exercise! I can't stress this enough. This has worked wonders on some of my most difficult rescue dogs. A tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog. A walk twice a day just doesn't cut it for certain dogs. I highly recommend roller blading or riding your bike while he RUNS along side you.
  5. Confine your dog to a crate or a small area. A confined space provides a den-like comfort zone. It will help alleviate pacing and worrying.
  6. Always leave the house quietly. If you make a big deal about leaving, so will your dog. Sneak out when your dog is busy or resting from the morning walk. Close the curtains if necessary and leave on the radio or TV to mask distracting outdoor noises.
  7. Discipline him ONLY when you catch him in the misbehaving. It is too late to reprimand him after the fact. He will associate punishment with you, not with the act itself.
  8. Feed your dog before you go out. A dog on a full stomach is more sedate. He will less energy to wreck havoc on your house.
  9. Do NOT pet or comfort your dog while he is doing anything you don't want him to do. Catering to bad behavior will reinforce it.
  10. Get a dog walker or use a doggy day care. This is important if you need to leave your dog alone all day. Dogs are social animals that love companionship.

Return from Dog with Separation Anxiety Disorder to Problems.

Return from Dog with Separation Anxiety Disorder to Home Page.

Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.