Trying to figure out why your dog is experiencing separation anxiety is a tricky and stressful thing - for you and for him. You've seen some changes in your dog like accidents indoors even though he is housebroken, chewing things up, barking all day, whining and trying to escape. And you've noticed all of these things to such an extreme when you're not around. More often than not, these are all signs that your dog has separation anxiety. While we don't know fully why some dogs experience separation anxiety and others don't, there are some common reasons why your dog might have separation anxiety.
Your dog's history - While it's anecdotal, shelter dogs and rescue dogs might be more prone to separation anxiety if they have a history of neglect and abuse. It's not always possible to know your dog's entire history nor is their background a surefire determinant of whether or not your dog will have separation anxiety, but sometimes, just the act of switching houses and families is enough to trigger separation anxiety.
Your dog's breed - Some dog breeds, particularly those that have been bred specifically to be around humans or breeds that require tons of activity, stimulation and human interaction can be more prone to separation anxiety. Breeds that are more likely to develop separation anxiety include: German Sheperds, Australian Sheperds, Labs, Vizslas, Italian Greyhounds, Toy Poodles and Bichons.
A major life change or event - Just like with humans, major life changes and stressful events can trigger separation anxiety in a dog who has never suffered from it in the past. Things like a breakup, a big move, a new job with a new schedule, etc. can all trigger and explain why you're seeing separation anxiety in your dog.
The good news is that separation anxiety isn't a lost cause and there is a lot you can do behaviorally and in training to help you and your dog ease the distress and get back to enjoying your time together. Here are some of our favorite behavioral tips and tricks for separation anxiety.