Does your Dachshund seem to act out when you leave them for short or long periods of time? If you notice that your dog is barking, chewing, scratching, using the bathroom in the house, panting, pacing, drooling, or more, you might have a dog that is experiencing separation anxiety.
This article will help you to know what you can do to help your Dachshund if he or she is experiencing separation anxiety when you leave.
Are Dachshunds prone to separation anxiety? Yes. One of the biggest problems that most people complain about with the Dachshund breed is that they hate to be left alone. When your Dachshund is left alone, chances are that it will have destructive behaviors. This is a breed that loves to spend time with its owner and when it is left for long or even short periods of time, it can cause separation anxiety to set in.
Top 6 Signs of Separation Anxiety in Your Dachshund
There are different signs that your Dachshund may be experiencing signs of separation anxiety such as using the bathroom in the home, excessive barking, howling, chewing, or digging in the furniture, pacing around the home, coprophagia, or even trying to find ways to escape the home.
1. Using the Bathroom in the Home
It is not uncommon for your dog to use the bathroom such as urinate or defecate when you are gone. Sometimes when your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, it will spoil your home.
2. Excessive Barking or Howling
When dogs have separation anxiety they will often bark or howl when they are left alone or separated from their owner. You can know if this is separation anxiety if your dog only seems to do this when you are leaving or gone.
3. Chewing or Digging in the Furniture
Many dogs that have separation anxiety will do things such as a scratch or chew the furniture. You may come home and see that your dog has chewed the legs of the table, the doorways, window sills, door frames or even tearing the couch or the cushions.
The problem with chewing and digging in your home not only includes the destruction of your items but it can cause your dog to get hurt such as breaking its teeth, getting cut, hurting its nails or its paws, or even getting hurt on the broken furniture.
Some dogs that have separation anxiety will pace around your home. They will walk around the home in a circular pattern or will walk back and forth in front of the furniture or the window.
This is another thing that you will notice only when you are ready to leave or when you are gone. If you see your dog pacing and it is not a normal behavior, then it will be linked to separation anxiety.
Coprophagia is a big sign of separation anxiety, and it is when your dog will defecate in the home and then eat it. This often happens to dogs that are upset when being left alone.
Dogs that experience separation anxiety might try to escape the home when they are left alone by their owner. The dog might try to figure out how to chew through the door or the window or they might escape a barrier that you have confined them to.
This, like chewing on the furniture, can be dangerous for your dog because they can get hurt on the doors or the windows.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
There is no bottom-line reason as to why some dogs have separation anxiety and others do not. Dogs that have grown up in the same home as a puppy are less likely to have separation anxiety because they know that they have a stable home.
Some dogs will have more problems when their owners leave if they have been adopted from a pound or a shelter. Here are some other reasons why your dog might experience separation anxiety:
- Getting a new owner.
- Having a major routine change.
- Changing homes.
- When people leave the home or when new people come into the home.
- Medical Issues.
- Behavioral Problems.
Getting a New Owners
Dogs that have been abandoned by their owners or their owners have died often have separation anxiety when going into a new home. This can happen because they fear being abandoned again.
Routine changes can cause your dog to experience separation anxiety. If you are an owner and you have been home with your dog all day, every day, and then all of a sudden you get a job that takes you out of the home for long periods of time, this can cause your dog to feel separation anxiety because of the major routine change.
Many dogs love to have things the same and they hate change. If your dog hates change and you have a big change such as moving into a new home, your dog might experience separation anxiety.
Leaving or New People
When a family member moves out or goes away to college or someone new comes into the home, this can trigger separation anxiety in your Dachshund.
It is important to check to see if your dog is having medical issues before you resort to the idea of them having separation anxiety. Some dogs have medical issues such as:
- Kidney problems.
- Bladder Stones.
- Spay or Neuter surgery.
Any of these things can cause your dog to not be able to hold their urine or to act out with behavioral problems. Always rule out any of these medical issues before you decide if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.
Some behavioral problems can be causing your dog to act out such as urinating when getting too excited, not being completely house trained, marking their territory, age of the dog, or even boredom.
If your dog gets overly excited, he or she might not be able to hold their urine, and this might be why they are using the bathroom in the home. This can also happen if your dog is marking its territory or if your dog is not completely house trained.
Make sure that you familiarize your dog with the correct places to use the bathroom if any of these things are the issue.
Remember, if your dog is a senior dog, chances are that it may have accidents, and this is not normally due to separation anxiety.
If your dog becomes bored, you need to make sure that you provide entertainment for them when you are gone. When you give your dachshund toys and other things to keep it busy when you are gone, you can tell if your dog is just bored or if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety by if the destructive behavior stops or not. If you notice that your dog is always barking, chewing on things, or wanting your attention, chances are that your dog is bored and not experiencing separation anxiety.
How Do I Know if My Dachshund Is Experiencing Pre-separation Anxiety?
Here are some things that you need to pay attention to so that you can stop separation anxiety in your dog:
Signs to Notice Before Leaving
Here are some things that you need to look for before you leave the home. If your dog is doing these things, chances are it is experiencing pre-separation anxiety:
- Excessive drooling.
- Whining more than normal.
- Getting overly excited.
- Not wanting you to leave, blocking you, or stopping you.
- Getting worked up for no reason.
- Wanting more attention than normal.
Things to Notice When Coming Home
If you see the signs above before you leave, pay attention to how your dog reacts when you come back in the door. This can be a big sign that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety:
- Jumping, getting overly excited.
- Using the bathroom on the floor.
- Seeing markings on the door or furniture where your dog has chewed.
- Seeing scratch marks on the door or the floor.
- Injuries that occurred in the dog’s mouth, nose, or paws.
- Hearing your dog barking or crying through the door.
- Someone complaining about the noise your dog makes.
How Can I Comfort My Dachshund to Stop Separation Anxiety?
There are different ways that you can comfort your dog to stop separation anxiety such as:
- Crate training
- Mental stimulation
Counterconditioning is a way to reduce the anxiety that your dog has when you leave. To do this, you need to associate something good with your dog when you leave. Try something like a dog puzzle that will be full of foods that your dog loves. This should take about 30 minutes for your dog to eat all of the food. Try things such as dog food, kibble, peanut butter, bananas, cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and more.
Once you lay this down for your dog when you are leaving, it will begin to associate good things with you leaving and it will lose some of the anxiety associated with it. Always pick up the puzzle when you get home so that your dog only associates it with when you are leaving.
Desensitization is something that you might need to use if your dog is experiencing higher feelings of separation anxiety. This can be hard to do and takes time and you have to make sure that you do not cause your dog to be more afraid. If you feel that you cannot do this on your own, you can find a professional to help.
- Look for cues that your dog is getting anxious when you are preparing to leave.
- Pay attention to the departure cues that you give your dog (getting keys, putting shoes on) and do these things often throughout the day when you are not leaving. This will help your dog to not be as anxious when you actually do leave.
- Go out of sight of your dogs such as go to your bedroom or the bathroom. Do this and tell your dog to “stay.” Once you train your dog to understand that you are going to be out of its sight, it will have less anxiety when you leave. Give your dog something when you go out of sight like a toy or a food puzzle. This will associate well with you not being there.
- Always be calm and quiet when you come in and out. This will cause you to not cause your dog to be anxious when you leave.
- Keep building up the time that you are out of sight until your dog is no longer anxious.
- This training can take a few days or weeks. Do it a couple of times a day until you notice that your dog no longer shows anxiety when it is time for you to go somewhere.
Crate training can help your dog to feel safe when you are not home. If you have a dog that is showing bad behavior such as chewing things up while you are gone, crate training might be perfect to keep your dog safe and secure while you are gone.
Some people choose to use a baby gate and to put the dog in a “safe” space where they are confined to a certain part of the home. This can become your dog’s safe space in your absence.
If you want to know more about crate training, check here for an article on how to crate train your Dachshund.
Some dogs will do great with mental stimulation to help them no longer have behavioral problems when you leave.
Keeping your dog’s mind busy will help to get rid of stress and help them to not worry when they are left alone.
- Try 30 minutes of aerobic activities such as running before you leave.
- Have fun games that your dog can interact with while you are gone.
- Play games with your dog when you are home such as fetch.
- Go for walks and visit new places to help lessen unknown anxiety.
- Let your dog play with other dogs.
- Use food puzzles to keep them busy and to give them a tasty treat.
- Have your dog hunt for the treats that you give them like hiding and seek.
- Put your dog in training classes.
Dogs that are very anxious when you leave might need to have some medications to help calm their nerves.
If your dog is not able to get over their behavioral problems with modifications or training, talk to your vet and see what kind of medications you can give your dog when you leave to help calm their nerves.
Other Ways to Cure Separation Anxiety
Here are some things that you can do on your own that will help your dog to better adapt to you being gone:
- Keep a schedule: Always feed your dog at the same time and make sure that your dog is getting the outdoor activity needed each day. Do this on a routine and try to not change the routine even if you have to hire someone to come in and take your dog out when you are at work or go. For some of the best foods to feed your Dachshund check out this link.
- Ignore your dog before and after leaving: Don’t make a big deal out of your leaving. Ignore your dog a few minutes before you leave and when you come home. This can be hard, but it helps your dog to not see you’re leaving as a big deal.
- Wear out your Dachshund: Take your Dachshund out for long walks before you leave so that they will tire out. This can wear them out and make them sleep while you are gone.
- Make the bed comfortable: Make their bedding comfortable so that they have a safe place to sleep while you are gone. Leave them a blanket and something to keep them cozy. For some of the best Dachshund beds, check out this link.
- Toys: Give your dog toys that they can play with and let them have fun while you are gone.
- Outside breaks: Make sure that your dog is getting outside to run and use the bathroom. It is important that your dog is not left alone for more than 4 hours without getting outside.
- Independence: Let your dog be more independent without you. Let them go outside without you in a fenced yard. Tell them to go to bed before you are ready and let your dog learn its place in the home.
If I Get Another Dog, Will That Stop Separation Anxiety?
No. It is never a good idea to get another dog because your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. Even though Dachshunds love to be in a pack with other dogs or with their owners, this is not a way to deal with separation anxiety.
Two dogs together can cause the separation to be even worse and they can play on each other’s stress and end up making situations even harder than they were.
Discipline Your Dachshund to Cut Down on Behavioral Problems Connected to Separation Anxiety?
You should never punish your dog if they are showing separation anxiety behaviors. Doing this will cause your dog to have even more anxious behaviors and can cause your dog to be distressed.
Remember, it is best if you can learn to recondition your dog and show them love and support when they are struggling with problems such as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety brings fear and the behavioral problems that they show during these situations are fear-based and not behavioral problem-based.
People that have dogs often experience their dog acting out when they leave. This is a very common issue in Dachshunds and other breeds. Dealing with your dog’s separation anxiety is very important so that you can leave with your dog being stress-free.