Behavior and Training

5 Myths About Managing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

5 Myths About Managing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult to treat, yet I’ve read over & over again that there’s one magical tip that can cure it overnight. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Just like treating any sort of anxiety problem the solution is not quite so simple, and it often involves multiple methods for an extended period of time.

If you’re trying to treat your own dog’s anxiety check out the methods I had success with when treating my dog, and the additional links at the end of this post — they’ll give you actionable tips to help manage the behavior. As you can see they rely on a few different methods and a lot of repetition; anxiety can be rather complex to treat, and it won’t go away overnight.

As for the myths surrounding treatment options the following methods aren’t completely false (well the one about it being a phase is absolute garbage), but they’re not necessarily complete either. Used on their own they’re not often enough to treat a dog with moderate or severe anxiety. When it comes to managing separation anxiety in your dog there are no overnight cures.

Here’s 5 myths about managing separation anxiety in dogs, and why they’re not always guaranteed to work. And if you’re looking for some advice on treating your own dog’s anxiety check out the links at the end of this article — they’ll give you a better understanding of how to manage anxiety in your dog, and actionable tips to use.

A Second Dog Will Cure Your Dog’s Anxiety

The myth about getting a second dog to help treat a dog’s separation anxiety is a pretty pervasive one. And I understand why — taken on it’s own it seems like it would help. In theory getting a second dog makes perfect sense; your new dog will help keep your current one company, right? But unfortunately it doesn’t generally work out that way. But it’s not guaranteed to work; getting a second dog is not a cure for separation anxiety.

If your current dog has separation anxiety it may be tempting to get another dog to help them feel less lonely when you’re gone. The problem is dogs with separation anxiety aren’t suffering from loneliness — they’re suffering from anxiety when their owner leaves.

Dogs that have separation anxiety are anxious when they’re away from their owner(s), and while the addition of another may help them feel less lonely it’s no guarantee that it will ease their anxiety. They get anxious when their owner leaves, regardless of how many other animals you have in the house.

Other pets might bring some comfort to your anxious dog, but they won’t cure their separation anxiety. When you get another dog because yours has separation anxiety one of three things will happen:

  1. Your current dog will still have separation anxiety when you leave.
  2. Your current dog will teach your new dog that stressing out when you leave is “normal.”
  3. Your current dog will be less anxious with their new buddy around.

The problem is there’s no way to guarantee that the third option will happen. Another dog might make your dog less lonely, but it’s not likely to cure your dogs anxiety when you’re away.

And don’t forget that dogs learn from one another, so there’s a possibility that your current dog will teach your new dog that being anxious when you leave is “normal.” This is especially true if the second dog you’re considering is a highly impressionable puppy. In the worst case scenario you may end up with two dogs with separation anxiety.

Getting a second dog can be a great choice, but it’s a big commitment. Do it for the right reasons. Don’t get a second dog just for the sake of your current dog — get a second dog because you want one.

5 Misconceptions About Canine Separation Anxiety
Getting a second dog is great when done for the right reasons, but it’s not a good option if you’re just hoping it will cure your dog’s separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety when they’re away from their owners — the addition of another dog is not guaranteed to help.

Crate Training Will Cure It

Crate training isn’t a bad idea on it’s own, but when it comes to treating separation anxiety it’s not a guaranteed cure. It all depends on how your dog feels about their crate to begin with.

If your dog has separation anxiety, using a crate makes sense if you may want help keep them safe while you’re away, but before you do it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable with it….

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