Some dogs will literally suffer panic and start digging in front of a door or window to try to get out and find their owner.
Generally, this is triggered when the owner leaves the dog at home and can even start when the dog detects or sees small signs indicating that the owner is about to leave the house.
It is common for a dog suffering from separation anxiety to play excessively also on returning home owners with hyperactivity after a period of loneliness. Some dogs will even follow their owner from room to room to make sure they will not be left alone.
Some owners may find that using a distraction for their pet while they are out is a good way to relax them, such as leaving the radio or television on for the dog to hear humans, or leaving with a toy or a ball of treats. Give them something to focus on.
With more serious separation anxiety problems, it may be helpful to change the exit routine so that the dog is not aware of your intention to leave. Normally, a dog will notice small signs like the owner who puts on his shoes or picks up the keys. In a dog with separation anxiety, this can result in panic.
The owner must change his routines, and do something the dog does not see, such as putting the shoes on the outside or leaving without doing your departure routine. After waiting 10 minutes outside, try to go back home. This starts to desensitize the dog to the fear of separation.
It is good to make sure that leaving the house and arriving is always a quiet event. If the owner reacts enthusiastically with the dog, it increases the dog’s excitement.
Another strategy to desensitize a separation-minded dog is to show the dog several times that the starting routine does not necessarily have to lead to a panic attack. The owner of the dog follows the usual departure routine: he picks up the keys, puts on shoes and picks up a bag to leave, then sits down again.
After repeating this exercise several times, try going a step further and complete the starting routine by opening the door and staying outside for a minute, but with the door open. These exercises must be repeated again and again to desensitize the dog.
It is important that the dog suffering from separation anxiety feels comfortable even with short absences. This can be used for the dog to feel that his owner will come back rather.
Once your dog can handle short absences (30 to 90 minutes), he will usually be able to handle longer intervals alone and you will not have to repeat this process each time you plan a longer absence.
The difficult part is at the beginning, but the work becomes easier as and when. Nevertheless, you must start slowly. The time it takes to get your dog to be alone depends on the severity of his problem.