Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Avery laying down

Avery can be an anxious dog and being that he has reactive tendencies, getting worked up about stuff is probably par for the course.

Most dogs get excited if they think they are going out for a walk or going in the car.  But once they go, they tend to calm down and enjoy the moment.

Avery does not.  If he gets really worked up before a walk, then he is more likely to be reactive.  And in the first few minutes of the walk we have to stop, sit, and regroup so he can remember that he needs to mind his manners.

In the car, he’ll pace, whine, drool, and pant.  Sometimes it’s really bad and sometimes he’ll eventually try to calm himself down and lay down on the seat.  If someone is sitting in the back with him, he’s totally fine.  He’ll lay right next to you and be an angel.  By himself he is an anxious mess.

We really didn’t want to admit to ourselves that he had separation issues when he was left home alone.  Mostly because separation anxiety is a tough nut to crack in a dog and it’s a very challenging and difficult thing to work through.  Not to mention very overwhelming when you realize that you can’t just leave your house whenever you want and have the freedom to do whatever you want.

Or at least it is to me and I’m still very overwhelmed by it.

But we have come to terms with this and it’s now something we are actively trying to work through.  It’s been hard when we have to tell friends that we can’t meet them for dinner or drinks because we’re working through some issues with our dog.  Most don’t get it and I don’t blame them because when it’s something you haven’t had to deal with before it can be a hard situation to understand.

We are missing out on a lot of great events around town right now and we are so totally bummed out.  But Avery needs us and he needs us to help him through this situation.

I don’t know how long this will take.  This is the first time we have had to deal with separation anxiety.  We are taking it slow and doing a combination of calming herbs and behavior training.

I will definitely be sharing what exactly we are doing and how it’s going.

Have you ever had to deal with separation issues with your pet?  How did you handle it?


  1. You are the only safe thing he knows. Leave for a minute then come back. Next day leave for 5 minutes then come back. Build his trust slowly. His trust will build with time. And look how sweet he is.

    • It’s not as easy as that otherwise by this point he would be fine. ;) He’s not just unhappy we left, he is having full blown panic attacks. That means that we have to work on a different approach.

  2. My dog whines and drools when myself or my partner leaves the house. The dog will just sit at the door and cry for 10-15 minutes and drool. It’s the saddest thing. I’m not sure how to work around it. Currently, we’ll just call her back and pet her until she calms down. It seems to work but I’m worried that I’m reinforcing her anxiety.

    • Hi There! I do think that you coming back could be reinforcing the behavior. Have you tried any calming items, like a Thunder Shirt or Rescue Remedy? Some of that might be helpful for your situation and might help calm her down a bit.

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