How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog

There are some things you can do to avoid triggering separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition in which your canine companion suffers a full-blown panic attack every time you leave him. This can lead to extreme vocalization including howling, barking, and screaming. It is also common to find destruction to your home when you return. This damage typically occurs when your dog scratches or bites at or around doors and windows in an attempt to escape and find you. Defecation, urination, and vomiting in the house while alone are also signs of separation anxiety though they can be indications of other behavioral or medical problems as well.

For a thorough discussion of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of canine separation anxiety, visit this article: "Separation Anxiety in Dogs."

While there are ingrained survival-related reasons as well as environmental triggers that cause dogs to be prone to separation anxiety, it may be surprising to you to learn that there are things that loving human caretakers do that also promote its development.

Warning Signs of Canine Separation Anxiety

First, here are some things to look for when you are choosing a new puppy or an older dog from a shelter. These behaviors may indicate that a particular individual is closer to developing separation anxiety than his companions:

Remember that, while these are some signs you can look for, not all dogs acting this way will develop separation anxiety, and not all dogs with separation anxiety will show these signs upon meeting them.

Steps to Avoid Triggering Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog

There are some critical things that you can do in the first week with your new dog that can help create an independent, relaxed atmosphere where he will feel comfortable about being left alone.

First, be sure that you don't give in to your desire to have your new pet on your lap, in your bed, and generally right with you every moment during his first few days at home. This doesn't mean that you should abandon him either. You should make sure to spend time playing, petting, and holding him; just not all the time.

If your dog is a puppy or a crate-trained adult, set up a safe, sturdy crate in a shared space like the living room, and make sure you put your new dog into it routinely. The crate should not be too large; just big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. Learn how and why to use a crate for your dog in this article: "Crate Training."

Next, follow these steps to get your dog used to being independent:

These training exercises are all best done after a 20-30 minute play session. You want to make sure that you are bonding with your dog and tiring him out so he will be content and satisfied when he goes into his crate.

It isn't possible to avoid the development of separation anxiety in all dogs. However, following these steps when you first acquire your new dog will allow you to ensure that you don't inadvertently trigger a case of it yourself.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

DOGTV: A Great Way to Help Dogs That Are Home Alone All Day

How to Stop a Dog from Digging

Crate Training

Destructive Chewing In Dogs

Benefits of Multiple Dog Households

Tips for the First Few Weeks with Multiple Dogs

Dog Training Tips: Using Treats Properly

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with