Jack Russel

My Dog has Separation Anxiety
What do Do

Help Your Jack Russell Terrier and other Dog Breeds Cope With Separation Anxiety

Despite its strong and exuberant personality, a Jack Russell Terrier may suffer like other dog breeds. Remember the first time you took home your new puppy? You might have noticed him being restless and having sleepless nights. Some people think that this behavior is just normal to puppies, being young and new to the world.

But, have you ever heard of anxiety due to separation in dogs? Yes, dogs can suffer from this condition just like humans. It is a problem wherein a dog becomes stressed because he is being left alone on his own. As social animal, a dog always wants to be the center of his owner's attention and leaving him behind will make him feel bad. 

Dog Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Dogs will act out in a number of ways in response to dog separation anxiety.  Once a dog is having his separation anxiety attack, he usually paces, whines, chews or scratches door and window sills, commits accidents in housebreaking, barks without obvious reason and just gets stressed out. Other signs of separation anxiety include diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. These signs are often seen when the owner is not around or when he is being neglected or kept away from the owner.

The response can also be triggered by a a variety of events such as only when you leave home for work, or every time someone leaves the home.

  • Destruction: (pillows, crates, carpet)
  • Self Injury
  • Attempts to escape the home
  • Excessive barking or vocalization
  • Urination in unwanted places (and defecation with feces

Dog Anxiety Diagnosis

It is helpful to video tape your dog when it is suffering from anxiety so that you can show your veterinarian what occurs during these episodes.  This way the vet can differentiate the symptoms from other possible causes such as normal behavior for your breed, territorial behavior or play.

Based on the underlying cause, the veterinarian will recommendation behavioral modification exercises, prescription or homeopathic approaches to dog anxiety.

Treating Dog Anxiety Treatment Options:

Separation anxiety may not pose life-threatening diseases to your Jack Russell Terrier but this should be addressed immediately so as not to prolong the anxiety feeling reducing tension. There are many techniques that work best in addressing this anxiety problem. 

Doing physical activities is one good way. At least once a day, take your dog for a fast walk on a leash for fifteen to thirty minutes long. Ten minutes of obedience training each day will do as well. This will keep your Jack Russell Terrier's energetic body working. Ignoring the dog for fifteen to twenty minutes before leaving and twenty minutes upon your return helps reduce the tension your dog feels when you are gone even for a week. 

Teaching Your Dog to be Left Alone

  • Approach #1: Reduce your dog's dependency on you by ignoring him for at least three weeks. Ignoring your dog means you will not allow your dog to follow you around and you are not even supposed to look, talk and touch your dog.

    Ignoring your dog and trying to keep him away from you can be a difficult situation for you and your dog. The sight of him longing and begging for your attention is heartbreaking! But it's just temporary... You don't have to feel guilty for neglecting him. Just keep in mind that you are doing these things not because you do not want him around but because you just want him to feel happy when you are gone. You just want him to do his usual activities instead of feeling miserable and lonely.

  • Approach #2: Gradual Planned Departures. Preferably, we like to gradually train a Jack Russell to understand that you will return. Dogs in general have a poor sense of time.  They cannot differentiate between a one hour absence and going away for a day.  

    Start by providing the toy and then desensitizing your dog to departure clues such as getting your keys or opening the front door.  Start just by opening the door and not leaving.  Then open the door, get your keys etc.  You may also want to create a departure cure such as a air spray smell, or bell ring or by dropping a towel or moving a rug just before you leave.  This approach conditions the dog to focus on an alternative stimulus to you leaving.  You could also provide a favorite toy that distracts such as a Kong Toy that uses hidden treats to engage your dog.

    After desensitizing your dog to cues, start by leaving the house for only a minute. Gradually increase the time over a couple of days to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes etc.  Provide the toy each time you are going to leave.  Try to keep your leaving routine the same, such as picking up the keys, providing the Kong toy etc.  Eventually, the Jack Russell Terrier separation anxiety should disappear as you leaving the home becomes part of the routine instead of some type of perceived problem or punishment.

Anxiety Dog Medication Separation Approaches

There are several anxiety dog medication separation approaches available. This includes medications such as Clomipramine and Reconcile (never use at the same time). There are also canine versions of the human drug Valium.

Homeopathic Supplement instead of Dog Anxiety Medicine

A newer alternative to dog anxiety medicine choices prescribed by a veterinarian is the use of homeopathic supplements formulated to support the nervous system.  The idea behind these types of supplements is to help the body's nervous system naturally cope with stress. Specific natural ingredients such as Hypericum and  Chamomilla have some solid clinical support. One product that combines these ingredients, Grief and Pining Formula, is formulated specifically to address separation anxiety in dogs.  You can click the link to read more, including the supporting clinical studies that support this approach for separation anxiety in dogs.

Dog Anxiety Wrap

dog anxiety wrap
A dog anxiety wrap provides pressure and acupressure. The approach helps the dog feel more secure, reducing stress and anxiety.
Source: Amazon

Another approach with or without the use of any prescription or homeopathic dog anxiety medicines is to use a dog anxiety wrap. In this approach the wrap is placed on the dog, providing pressure that helps to reduce fear and stress. It is highly regarded by owners and helps with all forms of dog anxiety such as nervousness, chewing, fear of people etc.  It's worth a try as it has been show to help with this problem.

Ask Your Questions to the "My Dog Has Separation Anxiety" Problem

Are you asking yourself the question what to do when "my dog has separation anxiety?" If yes, then ask your question here and our Vet and readers will answers.

Please be sure to include information that can help with the quality of the response, such as dog separation anxiety medicines or pills being taken, age, sex, breed, medical history and when the dog separation anxiety problem first started. Please include a picture if possible so we can get to know your dog.

We receive many requests so it may take some time to reply. If you need immediate help, we suggest using this online veterinary service that can answer your dog anxiety related questions now.

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Richard Cussons, Discover more about the Jack Russell Terrier

Separation Anxiety in Dogs, Dog Health Guide

Separation Anxiety in Dogs and Cats
Curtis, Terry Marie, DVM, MS, DACVB
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida

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