Debunking 3 Separation Anxiety Myths

This week I’m finishing up my credential to become a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer and if you joined last week’s Facebook Live, I talked a little bit about what separation anxiety training looks like. Today I wanted to chat a little about some separation anxiety myths but maybe some of the more obscure ones.

  1. If your dog has separation anxiety, he won’t eat when he’s alone.  This is a common one and alone time anorexia can be an indicator of sep anx.  Different dogs handle anxiety in different ways, just like humans,  How many people do you know can plow through a pint of ice cream when they’re anxious while others can’t think about eating a thing.  Dogs too.  Some dogs will eat when they’re stressed while others won’t touch even the yummiest of steaks.
  2. If your dog follows you around all the time when you’re home, then he has separation anxiety. “Velcro dogs” as these dogs are often called, can have separation anxiety but when this was studied (Flannigan, Gerrard, and Nicholas H. Dodman. “Risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety in dogs.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 219.4 (2001): 460-466.) 64% of the dogs studied who DIDN’T have separation anxiety shadowed their owners.  Dogs are social creatures – they want to be near us.  So having a Velcro dog doesn’t necessarily mean they have sep anx.
  3. If you let your dog sleep in bed with you, it will cause separation anxiety.  The actual causes of separation anxiety are not entirely known but many dogs sleep with their owners (again, dogs are social – they want to be near us and our beds are comfy!) who do not have separation anxiety.  You will not cause sep anx by snuggling with your dog.  I promise!  In fact, it might improve your relationship!

I’ll be sharing more information on sep anx in the coming weeks but if you think your dog has separation anxiety, there is hope.  It can be treated.  And separation anxiety training has always been done remotely, because the dog needs to be truly alone in order for us to do training.  If a trainer showed up, then the dog isn’t alone! So no matter where you are located, we can work together! Set up your initial assessment today!

Happy training!


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