It is often really hard for dog owners to tell whether or not their dog’s behavior is worrisome or not, especially when it comes to separation anxiety. It is important to know when to hire a professional trainer, because the earlier that you treat separation anxiety, the easier that it usually is to fix. Early intervention means that we can prevent your dog from practicing their panic, and show them early on how to cope with being left alone. Separation anxiety is a complex behavior pattern, so even if your puppy was the star of his group class, they might not have had the right kind of training to help with their separation anxiety. So… When is it really time to reach out to a certified separation anxiety specialist?
If your puppy’s separation anxiety is impacting your mental health.
We can’t pour from an empty cup. If you find yourself feeling exhausted, imprisoned, or anxious about your pup’s separation anxiety, that’s a sign that it is time to seek out a professional to help. It is really hard to have a dog who struggles with alone time. I know that not only because I see my clients struggling with it, but because I have lived it twice. It is so stressful to feel like you can’t leave the house, and be nervously glued to your Furbo app when you do. It doesn’t help that when you search for advice online, you’re hit with a massive wave of conflicting and misleading information. Hiring a trainer will help you create a trustworthy plan. Your trainer will be able to talk you through coping strategies and create a management plan that will allow you to regain your freedom. A trainer can answer all of your questions, and help reassure you that you are on the right track.
If your puppy’s separation anxiety is impacting your life in serious ways.
Separation anxiety is unlike most behavior issues, because we do not have full control over what our dog does in our absence. Panic related behaviors often tend to be hard to miss in one way or another. If your neighbors are starting to leave you passive aggressive notes, it is probably best to reach out to a trainer. If you say a prayer before you open the door, hoping that your couch survived the day, it may be time to get a trainer on board. If you have missed out on your third girls night in a row because you just can’t bear the thought of your pup being alone, calling a trainer can't hurt. A dog who is giving you a hard time, is probably having a really hard time. For your sake, and your pup’s, it's time to bring a trainer on board when you are having trouble going about your everyday life.
If your dog is going potty when left alone.
If your dog has become so anxious that they are urinating or defecating, it is time to call a trainer. Dog’s are generally clean animals, they do not want to sit in their own waste. While it is often said that dogs are doing this “out of spite,” the dog is really having a bodily reaction to the panic that they are experiencing from being left alone. Save you and your pup a lot of stress and mess in the future by reaching out to a trainer today.
If your dog’s separation anxiety is getting worse, not better.
This applies to dogs of all ages, but it is especially directed at puppy owners who are not sure whether or not their puppy’s behavior is “normal.” Most puppies struggle with being left alone when they first come home, so it can be challenging to determine whether or not their behavior is a problem. If your dog is struggling more as time goes on, it is a good idea to get a trainer on board. The more that dogs with separation anxiety are left alone to panic, the worse the panic usually gets. We do not want your dog to practice their panic attacks, so getting a training plan in place as soon as possible is really important.
If your dog is putting themselves in danger.
Dogs with separation anxiety are experiencing panic attacks, which means they are largely incapable of thinking logically. Panicking dogs may act in self injurious manners, or do things that really put them in harm's way. If your dog is licking their paws red, chewing on their own tail, or pulling at their own fur, it is time to call a professional. These are signs of serious mental distress. It is also important to note that if your dog is desperately trying to escape their crate, or open a door, they can cause significant harm to themselves. We do not want your dog to get a blockage or to catch themselves on their crate. Before your dog hurts themselves, it is best to create a plan with a professional to work towards a solution.
If your dog takes a long time to settle down.
There are some dogs that would prefer to come with you wherever you go, and there are some dogs that have separation anxiety. While we always want to make sure that our dogs are comfortable being left alone, it is most concerning when a dog takes forever to settle down after we leave. There are plenty of dogs that try to leave the front door with you and watch you leave through the window, but it becomes concerning when a dog is unable to self soothe. If your dog paces, waits at the door, sits stiffly, or vocalizes for more than a few moments when you leave, it is best to reach out to a trainer.
Contact us today to get started!