As a child, did you ever freak out when your parents left you alone and you were really scared? Most parents prepare us by building our confidence. Great care is given to avoid causing emotional trauma. Our first night in our own bedroom with a nightlight, etc. If we didn't feel well or had a bad dream, we went to sleep with our parents.
Dog's do not speak English. How will we communicate to help them feel safe? Please be patient and do not leave your new furry family member alone during the first few days. We do not want to create separation anxiety by accident.
My dog is freaking out!
Your dog just left their "safe" place and have been taken to a foreign land. Please consider having your new dog sleep in the same room with you with a blanket from their previous home or a piece of your clothing with your smell. Dogs at any age may experience anxiety when introduced into a new environment.
If you allow your dog to "cry it out" it will only make it harder for them the next time you need to leave. Their behavior may escalate to where they freak out in desperation, self-harm trying to escape, etc.
Stress may cause your dog to have potty accidents even after you just walked them. They are no longer in control of their emotions and are screaming for help. Can you imagine being so distressed that you have a potty accident? Some dogs may appear very still while losing control of their bowels. They are not doing this on purpose.
Please learn to read dog body language. Watch for ears back, tucked tails, lip licks, whale eye, pacing, panting, yawning, or their body is slouched as if someone is pushing them down. Some dogs will lick themselves excessively or chew their tail from anxiety.
Take a breath. Your dog is not trying to give you a hard time, he/she is having a hard time. Some dogs' anxiety is escalated due to health issues that we do not see. Visit the veterinarian to rule out health issues, seek help from a dog professional, or possibly seek an evaluation from a Veterinary Behaviorist.
Separation Anxiety versus Independence issues
Shelter and rescue dogs may experience some separation anxiety. There are things you can do to help prepare your dog when you leave.
Separation Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs by Dog Training by Kikopup
Capturing Calmness - how to train calmness in dogs by Dog Training by Kikopup
Schedule and Routine
Create and maintain a schedule and routine. “Many dogs find “living in the moment” and spontaneity to be nerve-wracking. In fact, much of a dog’s life is about anticipating future events. Dogs thrive off of predictability and routine.” Get A Calm Dog, Jenna Romano
Are we providing opportunities for our dog(s) to perform species-typical behavior in a healthy and safe way? Dogs see the world through their nose. Many Malamutes enjoy scavenging for food (nose work), chasing critters (chasing treats, flirt pole fun), and some enjoy the thrill of killing a squeaker in a stuffed animal or a homemade toy with a squeaker inside. Malamutes are a working breed and when we don't provide them a job, they self-employ. For example, creating a hole in your bed, chewing furniture, or learning to open doors to get access to the great outdoors. If your dog is truly suffering from separation anxiety, enrichment is still important but additional support and training are needed.
**FREE** Dog Enrichment course by Instinct Online School
Dog Enrichment course: Your dog's behavioral health is dependent on providing them with outlets to engage in important natural canine behaviors. Learn how to use enrichment games & activities to fulfill your dog's behavioral needs & reduce problem behaviors.
Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT)
There are experts in separation anxiety called Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT).
Separation Anxiety Dog, Moira Hechenleitner DVM, CSAT
Remote support anywhere in the world, in English or Spanish.
Understanding separation anxiety
Separation Anxiety playlist by Get A Calm Dog formerly Dog Liaison
Separation Anxiety and Beyond by Tracy Krulik, CTC, CSAT hosted by Your Dogs Friend
Books on Separation Anxiety
Separation Anxiety in Dogs - Next Generation Treatment Protocols and Practices by Malena DeMartini-Price
Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs by Malena DeMartini-Price
Be Right Back!: How To Overcome Your Dog's Separation Anxiety And Regain Your Freedom by Julie Naismith
I'll Be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety by Patricia B. McConnell
Don't Leave Me! Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety by Nicole Wilde