Training For Specific Challenges – Separation Anxiety, Aggression and BEHAVIOUR Challenges

Training For Specific Challenges

Training For Specific Challenges – Separation causes anxiety and increasing stress in dogs which makes them fear each absence and encourages them to compensate for their suffering abnormal behavior.

However, when this phenomenon takes hold, the animal is drawn into a spiral of terrible suffering which can push it to develop serious behavioral disorders. So, see here how to train your dog to deal with separation anxiety.

Here’s a breakdown of your information on separation anxiety, along with some key takeaways and additional insights.

Key Takeaways

  • Separation Anxiety is Complex: It’s not just “bad behavior.” It’s a genuine emotional distress for the dog, needing tailored solutions.
  • Two Main Types: Fear-based is most common, but some dogs exhibit control-based anxiety. Understanding which type your dog has is crucial.
  • It’s Not About You: Dogs don’t act out of spite. They are expressing a deeper sense of panic or loss of control when left alone.
  • Patience is Key: Resolving separation anxiety takes time and consistency. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks.

Recognizing Separation Anxiety

You’ve outlined classic indicators of separation anxiety:

  • Destructive Behavior: Chewing, digging, scratching at doors/windows.
  • Bathroom Accidents: Even housebroken dogs may regress when anxious.
  • Vocalization: Barking, howling, whining.
  • Pacing, Panting, Restlessness: Signs the dog is unable to settle.
  • Escape Attempts: Indicates extreme desperation.

Addressing Separation Anxiety

Your guide offers excellent strategies. Here’s how to break them down:

  • Pre-Departure Routine: Expending your dog’s mental and physical energy beforehand helps reduce anxiety while you’re away.
  • Minimize Fuss: Keep departures and arrivals low-key to prevent “triggering” the dog’s anxiety.
  • Gradual Desensitization: Start with very short absences, slowly increasing duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.
  • Counterconditioning: Pair being alone with something positive (special toy, treat-filled puzzle) to change your dog’s association.
  • Crates: Can Help or Hinder: Crates can be a secure space for some dogs, but for others, they increase anxiety. Observation is key.

Additional Tips

  • Consider a Camera: Monitor your dog’s behavior while away to better understand their specific anxieties.
  • Safety First: If the anxiety is severe, ensure your dog can’t hurt themselves or destroy the home while you’re gone (remove hazards, use barriers, etc.).
  • Adaptil/ Supplements: Calming pheromone products or anxiety supplements can be helpful in addition to training. Consult your vet
  • Professional Support: A behaviorist is invaluable for complex cases or if you’re struggling with the training process.

It Gets Better! While challenging, separation anxiety can be successfully managed with the right approach.

Questions to Consider

  • How old is your dog? Puppies or newly adopted dogs may need different approaches than older dogs with ingrained anxiety.
  • How severe are the symptoms? Mild cases may respond quickly, severe ones may require more intensive therapy.
  • Has anything in your routine changed recently? Even small shifts can trigger anxiety in sensitive dogs.

Types of Separation Behavior: 

Dogs who are afraid of being left alone can gain two different types of behaviors. These behaviors are…

Separation Anxiety and Fear:

In cases of separation anxiety, it is the fact of being alone that causes fear in the dog. As a dog trainer, you take the position of the alpha animal who is in control, decides what to do, and looks after the safety of the pack.

The animal relies on you and remains relaxed as long as everything is in order within this constellation.

For less serene dogs, the disappearance even of their master is a real catastrophe. The alpha animal is gone suddenly and the dog’s basic trust is shaken.

If the dog’s anxiety is due to bad experiences with previous owners or dates back to childhood, then it is well-founded and understandable.

But often, human behavior plays a determining role. Unconsciously, we give the animal the impression that a separation is something important.

The numerous caresses and consolations reinforce the farewell atmosphere and increase the tension in the dog. When the pack leader leaves the home, the dog begins to exhibit the behaviors described above.

Loss of Control and Aggression Behaviors In Dogs:

In dogs suffering from loss of control, it is on the contrary a worry, even anger, which is expressed because you, his “pack”, have left without him and no longer allow him to take care of you. He considers this a mission that falls to him and that he can no longer fulfill if you leave.

If your dog falls into this category of behavior, you must clearly show him the hierarchy and make him understand that you are number 1 in the pack.

He must accept that you are the boss and that you decide for yourself when you leave and come back. The hours of absence must be something completely normal for him.

A dog suffering from loss of control must learn not to feel responsible for its human companion. At that point, he will agree to stay alone.

Remember to check where your dog’s bed is. Is it directly behind the front door or high up on the sofa? This means that he considers it his mission to have everything in the house under control. Changing the location of the bunk to a less exposed area in the house can sometimes improve the situation.

How To Train Your Doggy For Behavior Challenges: 

It happens that adult dogs have to learn late in life to be alone, whether because they have been adopted or because their owner is facing a new life situation. 

Training for an adult dog suffering from separation anxiety initially involves taking care of him with great attention before leaving the home.

Play fetch games or take a long walk with him. Search games or Agility training are tiring in the positive sense of the word for dogs and visibly bring pleasure to most of them. This way, you tire your dog out in a manner appropriate to its species before leaving it alone.

If you say to yourself “My dog suffers from separation anxiety”, and at the same time you are content to look for a quick solution instead of trying to find the real cause of the problem, then it risks never being resolved.

It is essential to take the time to understand your dog to discover the source of his concerns. It could be that he just needs reassurance, or he’s scared of being alone with something he doesn’t like in the house, or he’s just too attached to you.

In some cases, the problem can be easily resolved by making a few minor changes, but many times this will require dog training in separation anxiety.

  • When it comes to treating separation anxiety in dogs, the primary goal will be to manage your pooch’s underlying emotions by teaching him to have fun when he’s alone, or at least to accept staying alone. There are several things you can do to assist your dog cope better during these difficult times.
  • If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, start with small separations of 5 to 10 seconds, and gradually extend this time interval over several weeks until it reaches 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes before leaving your dog alone. This will tire him out and support him to relax and rest when you are not around, which can be a good way to understand how to help a dog with anxiety.
  • Dogs are particularly intelligent and sensitive beings. So if you are too emotional when leaving them, they will sense that something is wrong. Just say a simple goodbye when you leave and hello when you return so that your absence no longer feels like the end of the world.
  • It can be helpful for some dogs to understand that their crate is a safe place for them to retreat when they are alone. However, the cage can be a source of additional stress and anxiety. To know whether or not you should use a crate for this purpose, observe your dog’s reaction while you are with him at home by putting him in his crate. 

How To Do Training Your Dog To Stay Alone:

  • Lack of physical activity promotes the phenomenon. It is important to allow your pet to go out for a walk with you for at least 30 minutes each day and to plan two to three longer walks per week. He will thus be able to exercise and run to release his excess energy.
  • In your absence, offer stimulating toys to your dog to relieve boredom. Choose toys that stimulate his intelligence and physical appearance to keep him occupied and vary them regularly.
  • When you leave and return home, don’t make an event of it. Ignore your doggie for 10 to 15 minutes before and after so that your departures and returns become moments of great banality.
  • Don’t hesitate to play on false starts. We said that your pooch is anxious to see you getting ready before leaving. To help him stop feeling this oppressive stress, touch your keys, tie your shoes or put on your coat, then put them away without going out. Your animal will thus understand that these elements are not necessarily associated with your absence.
  • When you return, don’t punish your dog for his mischief. He is not trying to provoke you, but he is expressing his anguish and his suffering and thus seeks your help.
  • Avoid letting your dog sleep with you. He should spend his nights in another room.
  • You must be the originator of the caresses. So don’t always respond to your little companion’s requests. Initiate contact. Likewise, if he follows you everywhere, send it to his basket from time to time.
  • Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice and to be accompanied by a dog behaviorist. It is also possible to implement therapy and drug treatments to help the dog no longer suffer from this severe and debilitating anxiety.
  • Unfortunately, separation anxiety is one of the leading causes of abandonment. Some owners even opt for euthanasia to no longer have to put up with this behavior in their dogs. Without understanding that they are, in large part, at the origin.


Your dog suffers from separation anxiety. To remedy this, you will have to gradually help him to detach himself from you, but you should not introduce new habits too suddenly, as he would be disoriented and this could encourage the occurrence of more serious social problems.

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Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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