When a dog owner decides that they are going to enrol their dog in doggie daycare, one of the possible hurdles they have to overcome, or more to the point, their dog has to overcome, is separation anxiety. This occurs when a dog becomes anxious and displays certain behaviours such as whining, barking, and howling, to name but three, whenever they are separated from their owner or others in their owner’s family.
When they are puppies most dogs will have a degree of separation anxiety, which is understandable given that they’re young, still learning, and the fact that instinctively dogs are pack animals and therefore more comfortable when in the company of others, be that dogs, humans, or other animals.
When separation anxiety becomes a problem is when a puppy grows into an adult but still reacts whenever it realises that it is going to be left alone. This can cause huge problems for their owners, especially when they need to leave for work, as their dog starts behaving in ways which can be upsetting, and also embarrassing should the dog howl for hours, no doubt to the annoyance of neighbours.
Thankfully, most dogs with separation anxiety can be helped. We use “helped” instead of cured because separation anxiety is not defined as a medical condition but as a behavioural problem. Rest assured, it is a problem that can be overcome if your dog has separation anxiety, provided you are prepared to show patience, understanding, and compassion for your dog, and also accept that you do bear some responsibility.