During the recent months of quarantine and working from home, dogs have enjoyed every waking moment with their pet parents and family experiencing extra playtime, walks, attention, and treats. As families begin to return to the office for work, to school and college, and activities outside of their homes, dogs are facing the new reality of being home alone for the first time in months. This new separation can trigger severe stress and anxiety. Whether you are gone for minutes or hours, your dog can go into panic mode and engage in destructive behavior.

You can review these signs of separation anxiety to identify your pup’s stress and learn what you can do to help train them to feel more comfortable when you leave your home.


Dogs can exhibit stress and fear in many ways. If your dog exhibits one or two of the below behaviors it might not be something you need to worry about. However, if they are regularly exhibiting a combination of the behaviors below, it is likely that your dog has separation anxiety. While these behaviors commonly occur while you are away, dogs may begin to become distressed as you prepare to leave.

  • Panting and drooling
  • Trembling, pacing, or whining
  • Peeing in the house
  • Chewing, scratching, digging, and other destructive behavior
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Escape attempts – some can cause serious injury
  • Refusing to eat their food or treats


If your dog seems to be expressing mild to moderate separation anxiety, the objective is to minimize or eliminate the anxiety triggered by being alone. This is a gradual process that begins with short intervals of independent activities and stretches into longer time periods spent apart from your dog. Here are a few things you can begin doing to help your dog feel secure:

Calm Exits/Entrances: When leaving or entering your house it is best to say a simple goodbye and hello or even ignore your dog (hard as it may be). Emotional greetings, when you leave and arrive home, signal to your dog that your leaving is a big deal.

 Continuously Come and Go: Help your dog realize that you are not abandoning them every time you leave the house by practicing leaving and returning, before they become upset. For some dogs this might take small steps like picking up your keys, walking out the door and walking right back in. For other dogs that are feeling more confident, you might be able to walk outside for a few minutes before reentering your home. You know your dog best and can most accurately determine how long you can be gone before your dog becomes upset – the goal is to show them that coming and going is not distressing. Continue to increase the amount of time you are gone as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Tired Dogs Are Happy Dogs: A well-exercised dog means a happy and less restless/anxious dog. Before you leave your dog home alone for a while, make sure to get them some type of exercise like a long walk, run, or playing catch for a decent amount of time.

Break Your Routine: Some dogs start to become distressed as you prepare to leave. They recognize your routine of getting dressed and packing up your bag. Break the pattern your dog has become used to by getting dressed, grabbing your keys and sitting down to watch a movie or getting dressed to go outside and play fetch with them.

Make Alone Time Fun: Give your dog a special treat that they only receive when you leave, like a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter or a snack that will take them some time and effort to eat. It’s important that they only get this special treat when you are gone. While at home you can help your dog become comfortable with being away from you by increasing independent playtime with mentally stimulating games.

Take Your Dog to Daycare: At daycare, dogs can run and play, getting plenty of exercise and even learning a new command or two. Paired with dogs of similar size and personality, dogs can enjoy socialization with their best furry friends. Daycare provides dogs with both the mental and physical stimulation to reduce stress, showing them that being away from their pet parents can be enjoyable, safe, and even exciting. You’ll pick up a tired but happy dog who will be begging you to bring them back for more daycare!

This article was written by Dogtopia of Eau Claire, where you can minimize your own separation anxiety by checking out our doggy webcams while your pup has the most exciting day ever!

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