You most likely never imagined that when adopting a dog you’d come home day after day to a dog that has destroyed the house, covered in drool, or had been barking all day disturbing the neighbors. Or even worse you haven’t been able to leave the house without your dog, not even for 10 minutes. 

But here you are trying to figure out how to help your rescue dog with separation anxiety. First, I want you to know you aren’t alone, so many adopted dogs suffer from separation anxiety, mine included. 

We’ll go into all the details below, but here is a quick overview of how to help your dog with separation anxiety:

  1. What anxiety signs to watch for
  2. Identify what triggers the separation anxiety
  3. Create a routine
  4. Make the necessary adjustments
  5. Decide when to seek professional help 
  6. Medicine as the last resort
A black dog looking out the window.

What is Dog Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a psychological disorder that manifests in excessive barking, whining or crying, chewing, digging, urination, defecation, and other destructive behavior that is accompanied by excessive panting and drooling when the dog is left alone.

Before you assume your dog has separation anxiety, consider ALL of your dog’s behaviors. Just because your dog misbehaves by chewing on the furniture, or urinating on the carpet when you leave them alone in the house, doesn’t mean they have separation anxiety. Are they getting enough physical and mental stimulation each day? They could just be bored. 

Signs of Separation Anxiety 

Witnessing your dog tearing up pillows, chewing door frames, or scratching walls can be distressing and may point to a deeper issue. These destructive behaviors are clear indicators that your dog isn’t just acting up; they’re experiencing intense distress and trying to soothe themselves.

Here is a list of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety to watch for:

  1. Excessive vocalization: Dogs may bark, whine, or howl excessively when left alone.
  2. Destructive behavior: Dogs may chew, scratch, or dig at doors, walls, furniture, or belongings in an attempt to escape or alleviate their anxiety.
  3. Inappropriate elimination: Dogs may urinate or defecate indoors, even if they are house-trained when left alone.
  4. Pacing or restlessness: Dogs may exhibit repetitive behaviors such as pacing, spinning, or circling when left alone.
  5. Escape attempts: Dogs may attempt to escape confinement by scratching at doors or windows or trying to jump over fences.
  6. Excessive salivation or drooling: Dogs may drool excessively when left alone due to anxiety.
  7. Loss of appetite: Dogs may refuse to eat when left alone.
  8. Depression: Dogs may exhibit signs of depression, such as lethargy, decreased interest in activities, or changes in sleeping patterns when separated from their owners.
  9. Excessive greeting behavior: Dogs may become overly excited or anxious when their owners return home, displaying frantic greeting behaviors such as jumping, pawing, or licking.
  10. Shadowing behavior: Dogs may follow their owners from room to room or exhibit clingy behavior when they sense that their owners are preparing to leave.
Dog with Separation Anxiety looking out window

Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety?

It’s important to realize that all situations and dogs are unique. Your dog may show one, two, or six of the symptoms. Assess the entire situation and make sure your dog’s basic needs are being met before assuming your dog has separation anxiety.

If your dog picks up on cues that you are getting ready to leave and starts to follow you everywhere you go, paces at the door when you’re putting your shoes on, barks the entire time you are away, chews on your stuff and you come home to a puddle of drool in his crate… your dog has separation anxiety

If you come home to find your dog has chewed your stuff, but he’s relaxed, sleeping on the couch when you walk in, he does NOT have separation anxiety, he is just bored and is self-entertaining himself!

Check out Spirit Dog’s Online Tackling Reactivity Bundle to help you with your dogs Separation Anxiety.

Yellow lab dog looking sad with paper torn around the floor.

Dog Separation Anxiety Training

I’m sorry to tell you there is no curing a dog with separation anxiety quickly. It takes time, consistency, and a lot of patience. If you need a quick solution, then consider a dog sitter or doggy daycare.

Here are 5 easy training steps you can take to prevent or help your rescue dog with separation anxiety.

1. Creating a calming routine

You might not realize it, but your dog thrives on predictability. Creating a consistent daily routine with scheduled meals, walks, and playtimes gives your dog a sense of security. They learn to expect when you’ll come and go, which makes your absence less startling. 

Calmly come and go when it’s time to leave the house. Don’t make a big deal about having to leave the house or when you come home. Don’t feel guilty about leaving your dog alone, they will pick up on your energy, and your feeling anxious about leaving them alone, only affirms why they should be anxious too. 

When you come home, calmly say hello to your dog and move on to normal activities. Pet them only after they are calm. Don’t give an excited, jumpy, or barking dog attention.

2. Exercise your dog

Dogs need physical and mental exercise. Imagine if you were expected to stay home and never leave. It wouldn’t take long before you start to go a little stir-crazy, right? 

How much exercise depends on your dog. Long walks, playing in the yard, short training sessions, puzzle toys, and frozen Kongs are all great ways to give your dog the exercise they need. 

3. Create a relaxing space

Some trainers suggest leaving interactive toys for your dog when you leave. In my experience dogs with separation anxiety aren’t interested in playing games without their person. 

Instead, I suggest creating a space that is just for your dog to relax. Set up a comfortable (and indestructible) dog bed, with calming music with a pheromone plugin. Essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile, are also great calming agents. 

If your dog is interested, you can leave them a bone, a Kong filled with peanut butter, or a few special chew toys that are special for just when you leave. Never leave your dog with anything that could become a choking hazard. Many puzzle toys have small pieces and if chewed could be dangerous for your dog. These types of toys are best for training time together, while you can supervise them. 

​4. Set up a pet camera

Using a pet camera or nanny cam is a great way to observe how your pup is doing while you are away. Some of these cameras allow you to speak to your dog. But I found this scares our dogs more. They can’t figure out where the voice is coming from, plus the voice does not sound normal, which triggers them to bark. 

By watching your dog when you leave you can make note of how long it takes for your dog to start getting stressed. Also, take note if any specific triggers cause your dog to become more anxious. Use this information in the next step…

5. Practice Leaving

I understand that many dog parents have to leave the house to go to work. For those of you who must leave the dog alone, unfortunately, there are no quick fixes, but you can practice before and after work and on weekends. 

Start leaving your dog home alone for just a few minutes at a time. Watch the pet camera to see how your dog is doing. Before they start showing signs of separation anxiety, return home, as if nothing occurred. This could be as quick as going to get the mail or taking the car around the block. Remember, you always want to calmly come and go. You must act like this is no big deal.  Slowly extend the time you leave your dog alone.

For some dogs being comfortable being left alone in another room even while their owner is home is a huge step. If this is your dog, do not allow your dog to follow you around the house everywhere. Use baby gates to stop your dog from following you. If they can’t lose sight of you without having a panic attack, how can they be expected to be okay when you leave the house?

A small dog in the bathroom with the wood door chewed to pieces.

Severe separation anxiety

For severe cases of separation anxiety, you may need to seek a certified dog trainer and veterinary behaviorist. They can offer personalized training sessions that cater to your dog’s specific needs. 

For dogs struggling with severe separation anxiety, a veterinary behaviorist becomes crucial. These experts dig deeper than the surface level, often uncovering underlying health issues that might contribute to your dog’s anxiety. They create a behavior modification program and may suggest anti-anxiety medication as a temporary aid to complement the training. This dual approach helps to recalibrate your dog’s response to being alone, instilling calmness and reducing panic attacks.

Of course, this expertise comes with a heavy price tag.  Be sure to find a trainer with experience with separation anxiety and check references.

If you want to try and help your dog by yourself or can’t afford a veterinary behaviorist, we recommend Spirit Dog’s Tackling Reactivity Bundle. The bundle includes Separation Anxiety Solutions, along with other courses that will assist you in every aspect of your dog’s anxiety.

Medical interventions for severe cases

There is no magic cure for dog separation anxiety. Don’t use drugs as an easy way out, that isn’t fair to your dog!

If you’ve tried all the training techniques and natural remedies, medication may be your last resort. Sometimes behavior modification and environmental changes just aren’t enough on their own. In these cases, medical intervention could provide much-needed relief.  You shouldn’t feel guilty for this, you need to keep your dog healthy and happy, and medication may help.

First and foremost, booking an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss treatment options tailored to your dog’s specific circumstances.

Anti-anxiety medications help to soften the stress responses and make your dog more receptive to behavior training. Keep in mind that these medications typically take a few weeks to show effects and ongoing monitoring by your vet is key to ensure safety and efficacy.

Beyond traditional drug therapy, you might also explore new medications and alternative treatments. Some of the newer options might include supplements containing ingredients known to promote calmness, such as CBD oil. 

While navigating these options may seem daunting, remember that each dog’s experience with anxiety is unique. The right solution for one may not work as effectively for another. Always work closely with your veterinarian to find a safe and effective treatment plan, adjusting as needed to help your dog find their calm.

Check out Spirit Dog’s Online Tackling Reactivity Bundle to help you with your dogs Separation Anxiety.

Home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, these are a few of the natural home remedies that can help alleviate your dog’s anxiety:

  • Calming Treats
  • CBD Oil
  • Essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile
  • Mediation before you leave
  • Music, dog calming music, white noise, or classical music
  • Pheromone sprays
  • Rescue Remedy

Always consult your veterinarian before using any natural remedies to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog.

To make it easier for you, I have listed all the products I mentioned in this article in my Amazon shop: Dogs with Separation Anxiety

Two dogs sleeping together

Q&A: Rescue dogs with separation anxiety

Can separation anxiety be cured?

Yes, it is possible to cure your dog’s separation anxiety. With the right tools, consistency, and possibly medication your dog can live a life without separation anxiety. It could take a month or sometimes in extreme cases, it may take up to a year. I know that’s now what you want to hear, but there is no quick fix when it comes to this serious condition.  

How can I crate train a rescue dog with separation anxiety?

A crate can create a calm and safe place for many dogs. If your dog is a chewer or not yet potty trained, this is a great way to keep them out of trouble. 

But some dogs with separation anxiety will do everything in their power to escape the crate. If this is your dog, then I recommend this Heavy Duty Dog Kennel.

To train your dog to enjoy the crate you can start feeding them in the crate, and play positive reinforcement games. Read How to crate train my dog in 3 easy steps for more details.

Will adopting another dog help?

I hear this question a lot! Should I get another dog to keep my current dog company? There isn’t a yes or no answer to this.

Some dogs will do better if they have a friend to stay with. There is also the possibility that the new dog will not help, or develop separation anxiety too… now you have two dogs with issues!

If your dog is dog-friendly, maybe try dog sitting for a friend’s dog for a few days to see if it helps. Consider fostering a dog, that way you aren’t committed long-term to a new dog. 

📖 Read about how to introduce a second dog.

A black dog laying on the wood floor.

My experience with my dogs and separation anxiety

I didn’t know dogs could get separation anxiety until we adopted JJ (pictured above) in 2010 (he’s the dog in the picture). JJ would bark a lot and drool a ton when we left, even for just a few minutes. And if we let him stay out of his crate, he’d pee in the house, even though he was potty trained.

Even when my family was home, JJ would still be upset if I left. He’d wait and stare at the front door until I got back.

His behavior kept getting worse, so when I took him to the vet, she said he had separation anxiety. She suggested giving him Fluoxetine, kind of like Prozac for dogs. It helped a bit, but didn’t fix everything.

We’ve also had foster dogs with separation anxiety. Even our current dogs, Bear and Thunder both show mild symptoms of separation anxiety. Which I believe is a result of my working from home. They don’t have the experience of being alone very often.

Having a dog with bad separation anxiety can be tough. If you’re dealing with it too, you can find tips and info to help right here. And I really recommend reading “I’ll Be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. It’s been super helpful for 

The end of separation anxiety

Take pride in the small victories—like the first time you come home to no signs of distress or destruction. These moments are huge wins, affirming that your commitment to your dog’s well-being is paying off. 

Patience is key. Relapses might occur, but with consistency and loving guidance, your dog can learn to find peace when alone.

So keep your head held high, knowing that the bond you share with your dog is strong enough to overcome the challenge of separation anxiety. With every game played, every soothing word spoken, and every calm return home, you’re reassuring your pup that solitude is safe. And this reassurance can lead to a happier, healthier life for your dog.

Please share your experience with your rescue dog’s separation anxiety, it could help someone else in our community with the same problem or question. I always reply to comments, so let’s start a conversation…

And then join our private and safe Rescue Dogs 101 Facebook group to get support from other community members. 

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. Hi Debi, Belle is my3rd GSD with separation anxiety, I did not realise how common it is especially in rescued or rehomed animals. All 3 had a history of being 'escape artists' which I now see was down to their anxiety about being alone. I also tried medications with one of them,, which helped up to a point, But with Belle , because I am now retired, I was able to use behaviour modification techniques, starting with convincing her that she was safe with me. For the first 2 weeks, I kept her on a lead. Where ever I went she did, yes, even the bathroom! This may sound extreme but we were in the process of moving house when I took her on to save her from being put down. When we had been in the new house a week, I let her off the lead when inside, but did not leave her alone.She came shopping, and learned ro wait in the car , first with some one in with her, then for very short periods on her own, slowly extending the time. This training I did in WINTER, no messing with dogs in cars in the heat of summer. Heat stress is a killer. I believe heat stress was a part of her trauma history. I know she was kept outside all the time from12 weeks on a rural property. She has a very heavy double coat and if she had no escape from the heat of summer, she could have been distressed for weeks through the hotter part of the year. She lives inside with us and on hot days if invited outside, she will go out to relieve herself, then shoot back in to lie on the cool tiles. We soak her fur suing a watering can when it is really hot Belle also had anxiety related IBS, with frequent sloppy motions(never in the house). This has been fixed with the chicken and rice diet. Expensive to maintain long term but cheaper than medicating.
    18 months down the track, I can leave Belle alone in the house for up to 4 hours(aircon on, plenty of water) and although waggy tailed when we return, there is no sign of significant distress. We always say "i'll be back", as we leave, and "look after the house". Her ears prick up when we say this and she watches intently as we go, but does not get up to follow. I'd better stop, could write reams. Bottom line, see the vet, and be patient, consistent and calm.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Evelyn. I’m positive it will help someone else struggling with their pup. there is always hope, we just need to be patient, stay positive and be consitent.

  2. I rescued Boo Boo 1 month ago today. She's an awesome little Maltese, 2 1/2 years old. She was taken along with 8 litter mates from a back yard breeder situation. I adopted her from a great shelter. She immediately took to me as her Momma. When I have had to leave her, I leave my adult grands to doggie sit (we share a house). They stay in my part of the house with her. She just cries, howls, and barks until I get home. I've been greeting her with a simple pat and hello. Trying not to feed into it. Anything else that I can do.

  3. I am doing a trial to adopt a 1.5 y/o rescue dog rescued from a breeding facility. She was with her foster for 3.5 months and I was only told she barks a little at men (not true, she has been a terror with barking at my husband any time he comes in and goes out of a room or getting up in the night to go to the bathroom – it is now down to some barking but mostly growling now even after being in his lap or in the bed with us). This was not properly disclosed to me.

    The bigger problem is that I was told she cannot be crated because even if she has just gone potty, she would potty again in the crate so she was left on a deck while foster was at work (foster also has 5 dogs). Well, none of this turned out to be accurate. We have a senior dog who is slowly warming to her but she growls at him, too, sometimes. Anyway, I think she has separation anxiety b/c she whines when she can't see me (although this is getting some better) but the bigger issue is she pees in the house when we leave even for an hour to go to the store. She has also peed in the house when we're here even though she is supposed to be housebroken. She does go outside but not always so I have stopped leaving water out between meals. She gets water with meals and after a walk only. Plus, we cut off water supply in the evening for our boy anyhow.

    I'm waiting for the rescue to find another foster home bc I can't continue to clean up her mess or deal with the barking and growling at my husband and dog who is stressed out by her behavior. I worry she will poop in the house while we're gone and our senior dog eats poop. We have learned how to deal with his issues but I feel like a hostage in my house if I cannot leave to do anything without her nervous peeing and potential pooping.

    Our previous female had bad destructive separation anxiety but when we got our boy, that stopped her since she was not alone if we were out. I do not know how to stop this dog when she is not alone since he is in the house while we're out.

    My husband and I even tried going for a walk just us in our neighborhood after I took her out to pee and when we got back she had to go poop when she had just gone 2 hours before and she never poops twice in the morning. Luckily, she did not poop in the house that time, but that is why I worry about her doing that, too.

    Please help with any other suggestions. Thank you.

    1. There’s a lot here to work on. How long have you had her? If under a few weeks, she’s still adjusting to the new environment and rules. The foster mom may have been telling you the truth since dogs’ behaviors vary depending on the current situation. It’s likely the new dog is stressed and just needs time. But it sounds like it’s more than you are able to cope with at this time, which is totally fine. Hopefully, they can find a new foster home for her. In the meantime, have you tried a crate or maybe a small room she can stay when you have to leave her home alone? Try leaving for a few minutes and use a security camera to watch her to see how she reacts. It’s very normal for dogs to regress in potty training during a home transition. This all takes patience and time.

      1. She's been with us almost a month now. The foster pretty much admitted that she had the barking issue with men but not before I brought the dog home. She downplayed it until I expressed what was happening the day after I got her.
        I was told not to crate her because she potties in the crate. The foster thought it was crate-related because she was rescued from a kennel environment. Obviously, that is not the case. It is when humans are not there that she gets nervous and pees and poops.
        I did try leaving her in a large bathroom and she peed twice in two different places and tried to chew the doorframe, leaving some damage.
        I know she will whine at first but then gets nervous, pees and obviously tried to get out of the bathroom.
        No, this is more than I can handle right now. And I feel like a complete failure because of it. She is not stressed at all when one of us is home. But she does wait by the door if I am out, according to my husband.
        If only she would be comfortable being alone with our other dog. All he does most of the day is sleep anyway. But we have to be able to leave the house and not worry about what we come back to. I don't think she would damage anything if left out in the house but she will pee and possibly poop which is the concern with my other dog that eats poop.
        I think she would be better off with an older single woman who can be with her most of the time, and I expressed this to the rescue.

        1. Your situation is identical to mine. No pee or poo – but excessive stress, crying barking, running around up and down furniture in total panic if I leave house for more than five minutes. And, she loves it here and loves me so much – and is totally calm when I'm home. None of this was told to me either by the rescue, and she's such a sweet girl in so many other ways. I feel awful failing her – and haven't had her not even a week. I'm trying to give her more time – and watching You Tube videos about stuffing Kong with Peanut butter and put in crate and make leaving a positive experience for her, with calming music, a thunder shirt is also anti anxiety. Maybe some Hemp treats and a calming collar. This girl has been failed so much so that I dont even want her going to another foster, but rather find a home with a retiree that is a home body and has more time to continue to work on her panic/separation anxiety – but I want to meet them, and be sure she loves them and connects with them as much as she did with me – vs. tossing from foster to foster. She's been thru enough. But I do feel like a hostage and feel like it's creating more anxiety in my other dog, that was never to her extent – but is getting worse now because of hers.

  4. I have had my rescue dog nearly 2 months he was loving to both myself and my partner at first. Has become Velcrod to my partner howls and cries when he leaves then after cheese he sits waiting until he hears the car. Goes into a frenzy when he gets home, I don't want to spoil their relationship I want my dog to relax and love being with either of us

    1. Hi Karen, I emailed you some suggestions, but here it is again in case someone else can benefit from your question. I understand it can be frustrating when we adopt a dog for companionship and find that they are primarily focused on someone else.

      Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that it may take some time for your new pup to adjust to their new home and build a bond with you. Patience and consistency will be key in this process. Here are a few suggestions that might help improve the situation:

      Individual bonding time: Spend quality, one-on-one time with your dog. Engage in activities that they enjoy, such as going for walks, playing games, or simply sitting together. This will help create a positive association with you and strengthen your relationship.

      Positive reinforcement: Use treats and praise to reward your dog when they show attention or respond positively to you. This will encourage them to pay more attention to you and reinforce the idea that being with you can be enjoyable and rewarding.

      Remember, building a strong bond with a new dog takes time and effort. By implementing these strategies consistently and with patience, you may be able to enhance your relationship with your pup and create the companionship you were hoping for.

      Here are a couple articles that may help:

      https://www.rescuedogs101.com/bringing-new-dog-home-3-3-3-rule/

      https://www.rescuedogs101.com/how-to-bond-with-your-dog/

      Best of luck, and please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

  5. My foster has seperation anxiety. He will bark a little but then he just waits quietly for me to come back. He won't eay, or play, just waits, even if other members are home. When crated he is fine he may whine a little butthen relaxes quickly. He was adopted and returned wthin 48 hours. When he came back I was told he just waited for me – wouldn't eat, he would play but thier dog became afraid of him. He is a lot of puppy that just wants to play and play. My dog is dominant and keeps him in check. I was shocked when he did return that my dog cried with joy. She is reactive to most dogs but she loves him. I am worried about her having him gtaken from her again, she was so sad (so was I but I signed up for this she did not) and my husband does not want 2 dogs. I am heartbroken over it. Not sure how to keep him from needing ME so much or how to make the transition easier on all of us.

  6. Hi Debi, my daughter and I bought two pups at 8 weeks old. They are now 5.5 years old and my daughter has been away for over 5 years and would like to have her dog. The two dogs are really good with friends and definitely with each other and my home is the only home they know and me. She wants to take him on the plane and personally I feel we shouldn’t separate them. I feel it would be selfish to split them up. Would,I’ve to hear what you would do or any suggestions. Thank you 🙏

  7. I have had my rescue dog for 11 months, she was settling nicely in my home and out of the blue things have gone backwards. I can’t think of a reason why. She loves her runs off the lead but every time she gets back near the house things change. Her tail goes between her legs she runs upstairs and hides.she doesn’t even want to go in the garden any more, we have to put her slip lead on her to encourage her. Even if we go with her she is anxious to go in. She constantly looks around the room and up at the ceiling like something has spooked her.She won’t play and doesn’t want to come near us. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestion please. She was doing so well and now seems so stressed.

    1. The first thing that comes to mind is to rule out any health issues. I’d make an appointment with your vet. There are so many variables, could be something totally random that happened in the house, the smallest detail… Try to work with her inside, creating a positive association, training, treats, etc.

  8. We should make sure that our pet gets plenty of exercise every day. When we leave, an exhausted, content dog will be less anxious. It is critical to stimulate our pet's mind. Play fetch and training games with your dog. Use puzzles that we can manipulate. Exercise both their bodies and their minds. That will keep them occupied, content, and exhausted while we are away.

  9. We've always had two dogs growing up, it was always a fact of life. First it was Holiday and Maggie, then Maisey and Skipper. Now, our nine-year-old Maisey and four-year-old Taters are the dogs of the house.

    I can't remember much about Maisey's behavior when she was younger, though now I am very aware that she has separation anxiety. She would whine and cry when Mom would leave the house, or when she was just outside the fence and Maisey couldn't see her. She's gotten better, I think, and doesn't automatically howl our ears of the moment our mom is away. We used to think this was just a Maisey Problem, but then Quarantine hit.

    While spending a year at home with only hour-long-trips away to the store and such, the dogs got used to always having us around. Now that things are going back to how they were and we're leaving the house more often, we've realized that both Maisey and Taters have gotten severe anxiety when we're away, though it appears Tater has gotten much more extreme. One night, after being away for only a few hours to have dinners with friends, we came home to find that Tater had jumped through the window on our back porch. When we came home from a four-day vacation, which she spent at a dog day care, she was so happy to be home with us that she vomited all over my bedroom carpet. (By the way, why do they only throw up or pee on carpets? Not once has any dog I've known done it on the hardwood floor. Maybe they think its grass or something?) Just this Sunday, my dad was out of town, I was at work, and my mom and sister went to visit friends for a few hours, and when everyone got home we found that she had chewed the doorframe of our porch door, the window she had probably been trying to bust in, and also noticed some older marks from where she chewed the side door.

    Our dad's been beyond furious, but it's hard for us to train this behavior because it only happens when we're away, and we're very on edge about purchasing any products. I'm definitely going to look into some of the stuff listed here, but if you have any further tips I would be incredibly relieved to hear them! Thank you and stay safe all!

  10. |I got my rescue dog (yorkie/jack russell cross) about 6 weeks ago. He is really well behaved in every respect EXCEPT being left alone. I don't go out much anyway but had a hospital appointment and was out for 45 minutes the first time I left him. I put him in the kitchen but to my horror on my return he had trashed the ceiling to floor blinds on my tri-fold doors, he also tried to escape from the sink window, having got up via the somewhat fragile bin, and while up there he knocked ornaments off the winow sill, damaging them.

    I then thought that maybe a cage was the answer but the first cage was a doddle for him to escape from. (again damaging my effects). So I went heavy duty which is an overkill for such a small dog, but after two weeks he still hasnt escaped tho he isnt happy about it and is very very distressed. Ive followed all the advice of building up from 5 minutes etc and to not fuss him on my return, but he barks profusely I am told. I got kongs, licky mats with peanut butter etc but no joy. I asked my vet's advice who wasnt really interested and said "talk to a behaviourist".

    One other problem is that he cannot cope with lively TV – I'm a pensioner and by lively I mean Tipping Point or Pointless, He hates them both and shakes violently. What AM I going to do with him?!!

    1. I’m so sorry you are going through this Dorothy. I know how frustrating it can be. It sounds like a pretty severe case of separation anxiety. I recommend following this website: https://malenademartini.com. I’m not affiliated with them but they specialize in separation anxiety and may be able to help you better than I can.

  11. Hello Debi! I have a four year old dog that was trained specifically to be my service animal. I now do not need to take her everywhere and she has severe separation anxiety. She seems to do okay outside of the cage barking wise (still whines sometimes) if I left her alone, but goes potty inside almost every time. She likes to sit on the back of the couch or on the bench to look out the windows or door. In the cage, she excessively barks to the point where cops got called multiple times. Now she has a bark collar where she whines uncontrollably as well, tries to chew through the cage (worried she will choke herself at some point as she tries to stick her head out) and sometimes a blanket (even though recently she hasn’t been chewing on a blanket) and usually goes potty inside of it. Throughout the pandemic I was around all the time which made it harder since I now go to work again. Two members in my family are home with her while I’m gone, so I don’t get a lot of opportunity to leave her completely alone. They couldn’t stand the barking and whining and just leave her out while I’m gone. I have made sure that she is eating her food inside the crate, as I heard it can help and she is food motivated. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’m going to buy those calming treats and try music for now. I will also take her on a walk if I know I’m going to leave as well. I look forward to your response! I’m sorry for the long message.

    1. I would make sure the dog is getting enough exercise, physical and mental. Have your family help with more, even when you are home. This should help her feel more comfortable when she is home with them and you are at work. If and when you have exhausted all options you can talk to your vet about anxiety meds.

  12. Debi, having adopted numerous dogs over our 41+ year marriage, we’ve seen separation anxiety with many of them (especially the particularly affectionate ones) and every one has overcome it eventually without chemical help. I realize many people want an ‘instant fix’ but time, training, exercise, and patience is IMO the best solution. Perhaps some dogs need chemical help, but we’ve never adopted one.

  13. My daughter adapted a lab mix and he is so sweet, except for his anxiety issues when she leaves to go to work, he has chewed out of his crate and the frame around the back door is were he goes to try and get out…..He chews all his blankets and beds in his crate, even the plastic ones. He acts like he’s mad because she left. When she is home he is just as sweet as can be. I’ve tried all the diffusers and collars and natural meds nothing works….What can we do?

  14. I have a foster poodle age 6, whose owner died 6 a couple of months ago—he was alone in the house with her body for five days. He has been in two other foster homes but his howling and barking have resulted in the fosters telling me he couldn’t stay. He came with chewable Anxitane pills, containing L-Theanine, to calm him, and he’s been getting 1/2 pill twice a day. The other fosters said he eventually stopped the perpetual howling, except when they had to leave the house. Yesterday when he arrived he howled and barked constantly, but when I allowed him in the bed last night he settled down nicely and slept through the night; so far this morning he’s been quiet. I have two other dogs of my own and a foster pup 6 months old, and he’s getting along with them and our 6 cats with no problem. I just want to be able to leave the house without causing a ruckus, as my husband has been tolerant so far but I don’t want to make him miserable. I plan to take the poodle with me when I can, and try to get him more socialized (also hoping someone will fall in love with him, he’s really cute). His owner lived alone, never left the house and life was just sitting on the couch watching TV. Any suggestions?

    1. Unfortunately there is not a quick-fix for separation anxiety. It takes time and patience. Hopefully you can find someone that can be home with him to help train him to understand it’s okay to be alone. Remember, he’s lived 6 years never being alone.

  15. HI! I am fostering a rescue dog and have had her for 4 days now(hoping to adopt her). I have another rescue dog and this dog I got as a playmate for my first dog. They get along fine and are starting to play really well together and I do crate her(she hates it)when I go away but the problem I am having is when I go upstairs at night to sleep. The dogs are not allowed upstairs and even though the first night I left her in the crate, she nearly killed herself in it and nobody got any sleep. I have been sleeping downstairs with the dogs for the past few nights but that has got to stop sometime. She is OK when she is outside with the other dog but if I go outside or even to the bathroom and she is in the house, she goes nuts. I know that I have not had her for very long but I want it to work and I am in need of some ideas to ease her discomfort when she cannot see me while in the house. It is kind of a weird type of separation anxiety situation and I have had a lot of dogs in 45 years and have seen a lot of separation anxiety cases but nothing like this. Any help would be great. My other dog is just great but she is not much help with the new dog in this situation even though they get along really well. Maybe it is just a time thing. Thanks, Kathy Hess and Annabelle

    1. Kathy, every dog deals with stress in different ways. I would continue to slowly build up the time you spend away from her. By “goes nuts” what exactly is she doing? Barking, tearing stuff up, what? I recommend reading: How and Why Crate Train Your Dog in 3 Easy Steps. And also join our Facebook group for rescue dog parents… you may find comfort in talking with others in similar situations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/690535831406635/

  16. Considering a rescue dog that is still living with owner. However, dog has major issues with thunderstorms. Currently on medication. At the same time, dog is left alone most of the time due to family kids activities and such. Family wants to do what’s best and rehome dog. This dog is not from a shelter and I still need to ask more questions. Could the issue with thunder storms be because of lack of attention? What do I ask and who should I speak with other then the family, the rescue people, current vet to help make sure that we do right by my family and for the dog??? Help!

  17. We adopted our Frenchie a year & a half ago…he was owner surrendered due to his separation anxiety so we were aware of the issues. We have been working to get him crate trained for about 2-3 months & he was doing amazing…then we went on vacation & left him with family member that he was familiar with. They left him for a few hours to go to the store & he chewed through the crate like he did for his previous owners hence why he barely has any teeth. We have tried everything on the market for separation anxiety & none of it works! We are working on crate training again, but I think he will eventually need a daily prescription. I’m thinking of hiring a trainer to come work with us at our house, but at what cost? Eeeeek! I’m definitely the one he wants to protect & I think he sees me as the alpha over my husband, but maybe not if he’s trying to protect me? Any suggest are appreciated

  18. My rescue displays all these signs when I leave her side just to go to the bathroom. Hopefully some of your tips/tricks will help calm her down. She whines excessively if shes not right next to me, she will try to break down anything in her way to get to me. I am REALLY hoping some of these help. She really needs help and I don’t want to see her hurting herself.

  19. Great tips. Thanks. Is panting heavily & farting part of anxiety. My rescue gets worried when i leave the room. Its only his first daY but im pleased to say hes accepted the crate & enters it himself. How can i reduce his panting..

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