Dog Training and Behavior Consulting, LLC

Laura Donaldson, PhD, CDBC, KPA CTP

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, IAABC
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Lead Behavior and Training Consultant,
Cayuga Dog Rescue

Popular Myths About SA
1. My dog is just bored and needs a job.  Most dogs display symptoms just minutes after their owners leave, which is much too soon for a dog to feel under-stimulated or deprived.  Video evidence has shown that most dogs with SA refuse invitations to play by other dogs & do not play with food toys either.

2.  My dog destroyed my house because he is angry at me.  SA is about a dog experiencing panic & distress about an owner's absence.  Try to see it from your dog's perspective!

3.  My dog is just a "Velcro" dog.  A dog that just wants to be with people is not the same as a dog that panics in the absence of his owner.  The former is an unusually social dog; the latter is experiencing profound mental & physical distress.


Punishment:  Punishment isn't effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse. The destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety aren't your dog's revenge for being left alone: they're part of a panic response.

Another dog: Getting your dog a companion usually doesn't help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of her separation from you, not just the result of being alone.

Crating: Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate, and she may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure herself in an attempt to escape.

Radio/TV noise: Leaving the radio or television on won't help (unless the radio or TV is used as a safety cue).

Obedience training: While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn't the result of disobedience or lack of training; therefore, it won't help this particular issue.

*adapted from the Humane Society of the United States

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