Separation Anxiety: Does your dog go crazy when you leave? Here’s what to do!

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56 Replies to “Separation Anxiety: Does your dog go crazy when you leave? Here’s what to do!”

  1. Cool video but it took 7 minutes to get to the point. You could really cut a good portion of the beginning and be much more concise.

    1. 7 minutes of offering background to the potential causes for such behavior, which can be very helpful.
      It’s a good thing you can skip around in a YouTube video based on your particular needs, huh?

  2. My dog literally crashed through a window trying to get to me when I left without him yesterday. Poor pup cut his nose. Now that’s extreme anxiety.

    1. We had problems with our dog also. He used to bark and chew shoes, table etc. when we were not at home. Both my husband and I work a lot and had no time to take our Bud to dog training classes. We asked one friend who works in foster care (he is always surrounded by dogs) what we should do. He recommended one online dog behavior trainer. I love this trainer It helped us a lot, and I strongly recommend it for you.

  3. My dog has EXTREME separating anxiety, if I go to the bathroom for like 2 mins she’ll be screaming and clawing the door and the way she screams make it sound as if she’s being abused. Same with if we leave she goes ballistic and I can hear her crying all the way from my car.

    1. Zak, we have a 4 month old puppy (we think retriever/hound/Aussie mix). We are trying to train her to use her crate/pen attached to it as a controlled environment and reward for calm behavior when training, but we can not leave her home by herself or in a room with out her winning or barking. We have attempted multiple methods that you suggest, but still unable to leave her for a few minutes to an hour. Do you have any suggestions?

    2. +Domini Gai See Saxon’s response to the OP’s question for a lesson in how to appropriately offer useful advice.

  4. That’s exactly what I did with my sheltie. He was starting crying and barking immediately I leave the house. So went out just for 1 second and got back instantly. Then I went for 2 seconds, then 3, and so on up to 10. 15 seconds, 20 seconds, etc. Yes it took a few hours to teach him to wait calmly just for 20 minutes. But at the end he understood that I’m not going forever and that me leaving and returning is not a big deal.

    1. “es it took a few hours to teach him to wait calmly just for 20 minutes. But at the end he understood that I’m not going forever and that me leaving and returning is not a big deal.”

      Or maybe it waits 20 minutes then goes nuts ….. 🙂

    2. You were incredibly lucky for this to only take a few hours, in fact makes me wonder if he had real SA if it was that quick. For most people, 20 minutes will take weeks or months to work up to

    3. Yeah my sheltie learned things a lot quicker than my doxie does tho lol. But he’s right this helps a lot

    4. I wish that was working with my dog 🙁 I’ve been teaching her for probably over a week now, I still only go out for a minute to a minute and a half, I started with 30 or fewer seconds, and she still cries within the first 10 seconds. I’m gonna start over with clicker training and if she’s quiet for longer than 10 seconds click and come back in until it’s consistent.

    1. Jorge E. My puppy has bad separation anxiety when I come back he pees of excitement lol even if I take him out to pee before I leave

  5. I waited for my dog to be quiet then gave her a treat. She stopped whining for attention for a long time after that.

    1. How long did it take for her to be Quite I work with dogs rescues Foster’s etc.I’ve never seen a case this bad as my Lab/Dalmatian She’s gonna pee in her cage and never quit till you let her outside Then ignore her while her 85lb body his bumping all around you!! This is hard when your disabled…We’ve has her for 3 years she sees we always come back never crate longer than 4-5 Hours…I have no idea what’s she’s liken when I’m gone…I know when we pull in the garage she don’t stop!! Till after being out of crate in back yard for about 10-15 mins

    1. Friends have you tried
      I think this website has the best dog training program I ever found on the internet
      Recommended to all…

    1. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution hi, my puppy is 11 weeks old and cries and barks when i leave, i am trying to leave him 5, 10, 15 minutes at a time but she still barks and pees inside. What should i do? I dont have a kennel to keep her in so she is free thru the house.

    2. my dog has anxiety when I leave her she will poop on the floor even though i i took her out to go to the bathroom she has never done anything destructive I need to be able to go to doctor or out to restaurant. I never scold d her .

    3. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution My dog is 11 1/2 weeks old and hes a German Shepherd Lab Mix and he’s showing early signs of aggression, he doesn’t wanna be near me sometimes but than when I leave the room he goes absolutely insane he either pees in his kennel or he starts biting the metal bars viciously I try to tire him out before I put him in there but it doesn’t seem to do anything for him. He will sleep for random periods of time but if I get up he instantly wakes up and cries, he won’t pay attention during some training sessions and he only wants to bite me when I’m near. I have no clue what to do, and he honestly has me in a stage where I regret adopting him. 🙁 and it kills me to say that.

    4. hi everyone ,if anyone else needs to find out about puppy training methods try Debuncar Perfect Dog Aid (do a google search ) ? Ive heard some decent things about it and my partner got great success with it.

  6. I’m disappointed to see so many people list serious issues with their dog and Zak does not answer or help them.  This video brushes mildly on the lowest basic level of separation issues and non-of the more serious issues.  It makes Zak money and does little if anything to help the pet.  Wasted 12 minutes.

  7. Love it I’m on the good side of youtube again💕💕💕my dog has a barking problem and opening the door also anxiety being separated from my mom.

  8. I could cry – thank you Zac! I’ve watched this video maybe 5 times in the past year as I’ve dealt with my babies extreme separation anxiety. I’ve tried big areas, his crate, I’ve tried kongs, CBD, thunder shirt, pheromones – EVERYTHING and nothing worked… UNTIL I rewatched this video this weekend and realized the key ingredient I was missing was to put him in a separate room (one he can’t see me leave from and is comfortable in). THIS HAS HELPED TREMENDOUSLY! He’s happy and calm and so far (knock on wood) his constant crying is little to none. So grateful for this advice! After a year of struggling I can finally leave the house again without worrying myself silly.

  9. Having owned a dog with separation anxiety for 13 years (which two separate vets diagnosed as the worst case they had ever seen), I believe I have some first-hand knowledge of what works and doesn’t work. First, let’s translate this into something more relatable. Panic attacks…we’ve either heard of them, had them, or know someone who has experienced them. A friend who suffers from panic attacks once told me that she felt like she was dying during the attacks. Now imagine what your pet is feeling each and every time you leave home…welcome to separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is just a panic attack that your dog suffers each and every time you leave them. They come in different forms with varying degrees of stress, but make no mistake, these are doggie panic attacks.

    Here is a list of what to do:

    1. You need to make sure that your dog is thoroughly exercised. A tired dog has less anxious energy at the time of exposure to the triggers.

    2. Watch for your own type of triggers. For example, walking around while grabbing keys, wallet, purse, jacket, etc. are cues to your dog that he/she should start getting anxious. You must desensitize your pet to these triggers. This takes time and dedication, so plan ahead before having to leave the house. Add an additional 30 minutes to your routine. During that time, pretend that you are leaving. Grab your keys and jacket, go to the door, open the front door, then close it and go sit down somewhere else in a calm fashion and remain there (reading, etc.) until your dog relaxes. Then repeat a few times at different intervals. Then start exiting the front door for a minute and then return. Ignore your pet at all times during this process. Your dog will come to you all happy to see you at first. Resist the temptation to acknowledge them. Each time increase the amount of time that lapses before reentering your home. Be sure to keep your pet guessing by leaving the third time one day and the fifth time another. Keep switching it up. That will keep your dog guessing and unable to ascertain when you are actually leaving. Be patient, this may take weeks before you see major improvements. However, if you stick with it, it will work! Your dog will stop getting anxious when you leave and when you return. As time goes by, begin reducing the time that you include in your routine before leaving until you just leave without any warning.

    One important note…be sure you are calm (to the extent that it is possible) whenever leaving home. Dogs can literally read your emotional state by sensing your hormonal response to stimuli. If you are stressed and anxious…they will be too. Notwithstanding, keep in mind that any unexpected event may provoke an anxiety attack and you will then need to once again reinforce the routine. If your dog begins to regress, take a step back to examine what you are doing. Then begin the desensitization process once again. Even if your dog is not regressing, it’s good to still do these exercises from time to time to reinforce the good behavior. Conversely, if your dog continues to regress, you need to look in the mirror as you will most likely be the cause of the regression. Sometimes we fall into patterns of behavior that inadvertently send signals out to our dog. Low energy/calm routines are the best ways to keep fido relaxed.

    3. DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG loves when he/she is in an excited state. Similarly, DO NOT OVERDO the loves. This is perhaps one of the hardest things that I had to learn. Our instinct is to shower our pet with love. However, this is disastrous with dogs that have separation anxiety. You need to give them love, but only when they are calm and in small doses. If they become too excited, you need to back away until they calm down. If they begin to regress, you need to take an honest assessment of how much affection you are giving your dog. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but you will recognize that your dog will be happier and less anxious with fewer huggies and kisses from you. If you ignore this advice, you will be unwittingly reinforcing their anxiety.

    4. When coming home, DO NOT engage your pet for a good 15-30 minutes. Come into your home and go about your business completely ignoring them. He/She will be hyper-excited, so it is critical that you don’t reinforce this behavior by giving them loves at that time. Wait until they are calm and then give them some brief attention and go about your business.

    5. You must take steps to ensure that your dog is not always in the same room as you. Some dogs with separation anxiety exhibit velcro behavior. That is, they will be right by your side at all times. They will lay at your feet at any given moment if given the opportunity. Others will lay in different parts of the same room, but always staring at you or sleeping with their head aimed in your direction. It is important to not encourage this behavior and you MUST put your dog in a different room and/or out of your sight so that they can learn to become relaxed outside your field of view.

    After many…many trials and failures, I came up with a formula that worked well with my dog. It minimized the anxiety to an acceptable level and the episodes of destruction and injury greatly diminished. However, they never went away completely. Just like you don’t cure autism, you don’t cure separation anxiety; you just learn to work with it and make your pet’s life as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. I know that even after years of conditioning, an unexpected knock at the door, a strange noise, etc., when away from home can trigger a response. Such is life when owning a dog with separation anxiety.

    As long as you fulfill their needs before your own, you will have a happy pet.

    P.S. I know some will ask about medication. I went that route for short while but abandoned it after realizing that the only way to control the behavior with medicine was to use it at levels which greatly diminished her quality of life. That was a tradeoff I was not willing to make. Anti-depressants like Clomipramine did not work for us and neither did benzodiazepines like alprazolam (Xanax). Though not particularly successful in my case, there are some reports of the successful use of medication and behavioral modification (as described above) to help control the anxiety. Each dog will respond differently. Unfortunately, my dog was not a good candidate for this approach, but it is worth taking a look at this method if your dog reacts favorably to the medication.

    1. I wish there was a way to save your advice. I will need it for future reference. I really like the detail and believe this could work.

      I have a 6 month GSD that didn’t exhibit SA when I got her, until the last couple of weeks

  10. My puppy has separation anxiety every time I put her in the bathroom before I leave for school she starts wining and crying

  11. I have a dog named cookie is a 1 1/2 year old & has not trained and I go for a walk with him 4 day ago & he goes crazy
    He run so fast & barking at a person & pets like cats & dogs I also have a another dog name Bella she is my sister’s dog sometimes their fighting almost every day what would i do?

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