The dog behavior disorder known as separation anxiety involves dogs displaying panic in the absence of their owners, caretakers or another animal. While many dogs exhibit some degree of distress when their owners leave, dogs with separation anxiety suffer the human equivalent of a panic attack due to fear and anxiety about being left alone. Separation anxiety is not just a case of a dog being bored or not getting enough exercise. Rather, it is a serious and sometimes tragic disorder whose symptoms range from obsessive following of owners, anorexia, sweaty paws and panting to destruction of property, self-mutilation and constant barking or howling. No one knows exactly why some dogs develop separation anxiety. Like most other behavior disorders, it results from the complex interaction of environment, genetics and the attributes and history of an individual dog. Environmental factors might include abandonment; re-homing to a new family; moving to a new home with the same family; sickness or malnutrition when a dog was a puppy; traumatic events; too early removal from the litter; or too much and then too little attention by a caregiver.
Whatever the causes, however, successfully resolving separation anxiety requires a multimodal approach. I address this disorder with appropriate behavior modification, an inventive use of technology and a robust support system for affected dog owners. The most severe cases often require medication, and I will work closely with your veterinarian to achieve the best possible outcome for your dog. The approach I use has proven successful in many cases and has helped both dogs and owners achieve a better quality of life with each other.
As many as 20% of North American dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a staggering number by anyone's standards . . .