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Dawn Watson's Pet Tip of the Week: Separation Anxiety

Dawn Watson/CNBNews Contributor

  ThRE7BA830 When I think of separation anxiety in animals, I picture nervousness, inappropriate activities, and/or extreme verbalization when the animal is left alone or when the primary caregiver is absent.

   Some dogs are so crippled by separation anxiety that their owners rehome them because of the damage they have caused.

   There is no ‘quick fix’ when it comes to this upsetting behavior. It takes time and patience to train the dog that you will be returning. Here are a few steps you can take to ease your best buddy’s anxiety:

  •    If Fido is usually crated when you are not at home, place him in his crate with a few toys, grab your keys, and without making eye contact or speaking, leave the house. Return in two or three minutes.
  •    Let him out of his crate, praise him, and give him a treat.
  •    Repeat, increasing the time of your absence by a minute each time you leave.
  •    Remember, no eye contact when you leave, no words. Don’t make a “big deal” out of your exit.

   If you are not in the habit of crating a dog with separation anxiety you may want to rethink your plan. Dogs that suffer from this disorder can become very destructive when left alone.

   If this behavior persists you may need to ask your veterinarian for anti-anxiety medication. Another way to handle the situation is to consult a positive reinforcement dog trainer to work with you.

If you have questions about this or any other dog-related issue please call or text 856.981.8957 or email There is never a fee for phone or email consultations.

Picture courtesy of

Wado udohiyu, (thank you very much in the Cherokee language)

Dawn Watson

Owner, Brother of the Wolf, LLC

Traveling to Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden Counties

Offering canine training and behavioral analysis

Canine Good Citizen Evaluator