Dobermans are known to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and are loyal, intelligent and strong. However, they are prone to Separation Anxiety towards their owners.
Separation Anxiety can manifest in different ways, such as barking, howling, whining, chewing, digging, and house soiling.
This is natural for almost every Doberman to face from time to time and this also affects the owner, so it is important to take steps to prevent it from happening. In this article, we will discuss what causes separation anxiety in Dobermans and how you can prevent it from happening in your dog!
Let’s look at this in detail:
What is Separation Anxiety in Dobermans Exactly?
Separation Anxiety is characterized by anxious, destructive, or disruptive behavior in Dobermans when left alone. Separation Anxiety occurs when a Doberman becomes excessively attached to their owner and panics when they are separated. Common symptoms of Separation Anxiety include: barking, howling, whining, pacing, chewing, digging, and scratching. In severe cases, they may even attempt to escape from their home or yard to find their guardian. Separation anxiety is a treatable condition, but it requires a lot of patience, consistency, and a commitment to positive training methods.
Separation Anxiety is most common in dogs that have been adopted from shelters or rescue groups. Still, it can also occur in puppies that have been separated from their mother and littermates too early. Separation Anxiety can be treated with a combination of behavior modification and medication. If your dog shows signs of Separation Anxiety, please consult your veterinarian.
Difference Between Separation Anxiety and Normal Canine Behavior
Understanding the difference between Separation Anxiety and normal canine behavior is essential. Separation Anxiety is a clinical condition that a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist must diagnose. Separation Anxiety is characterized by destructive or disruptive behaviors only when the dog is left alone. This is because the Doberman faces anxiety about being alone without the owner. The dog also has a low appetite or does not eat if left alone or unattended.
Canine behavior could be a way of coping with Separation Anxiety. This may include some of the symptoms mentioned above, but these behaviors are not caused by Separation Anxiety. Chewing, for example, is normal canine behavior. Dogs chew for many reasons, such as to relieve boredom, teethe, or explore their environment. Sudden destructive chewing behavior could be a sign of Separation Anxiety and should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Normal Doberman behaviors that are often mistaken for Separation Anxiety include:
- Barking: Dobermans bark for many reasons, such as to warn strangers during play or ask to go outside. If your dog barks excessively when left alone, this could signify separation anxiety.
- Jumping on People: Many Dobermans jump on people to greet them. This behavior is often seen as Separation Anxiety, but it is not.
- Clinginess: Some Dobermans are clingy and may follow their owner around the house. This behavior is often mistaken for Separation Anxiety, but it is not.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
- Urinating and Defecating Indoors: Dobermans with Separation Anxiety may urinate or defecate indoors even if they are house-trained. This is often seen as a sign of Separation Anxiety.
- Excessive Howling or Barking: Dobermans with Separation Anxiety may howl or bark excessively when left alone. This behavior is also considered a major sign of Separation Anxiety.
- Chewing: Dobermans with Separation Anxiety may chew on furniture, walls, or other objects in the home.
- Excessive Panting or Pacing: Dobermans tend to pant excessively or even pace when they see you preparing to leave or if you are gone. They are under legitimate stress and are one of Separation Anxiety’s major symptoms.
- Destructive Behaviour: Dobermans with Separation Anxiety may destroy furniture, clothing, or other objects in the home. This is often seen as one of the major signs of Separation Anxiety.
- Escaping: The Doberman may try to escape from where they have been tied or confined and get out in the yard searching for the owner. In this process, many dogs injure themselves with broken teeth or injured paws or causing damage like scraped window panes, chewed-up furniture and cushions, and even their toys.
Causes of Separation Anxiety
Separation Anxiety usually happens to most Doberman. And the significant causes of separation anxiety are:
- Rescue Dobermans: Separation Anxiety is more common in rescue dogs as they have often been abandoned or re-homed. This can lead to Separation Anxiety.
- Change in Family Situation: A change in a family situation, such as a divorce, death, fights, or moving to a new home, can also result in Separation Anxiety.
- Loss of a Family Member or Pet: The loss of a family member or pet can cause immense stress to your Doberman, thus triggering separation anxiety.
- Change in Schedule of the Owner: If the owner’s schedule changes, such as working from home or going on vacation, this can trigger Separation Anxiety.
Eliminating Your Doberman’s Separation Anxiety
There are various ways to eliminate Separation Anxiety in your Dobie, and it’s best to start when your dog is a puppy so they can get used to being left alone. A few options are given below:
Counterconditioning is the process of changing your Doberman’s emotional response to being away from you. This can be done by teaching your dog that when you leave, good things happen. This can be done by giving your dog a treat or toy and praising them when you return. You have to teach your pet that leaving them alone has its rewards. Although, it’s best to take baby steps for this method, like using short-time periods of leaving your pet alone and then gradually increasing the time of leaving your pet. Start from 1 hour to a few hours, then a day, and then maybe 2-3 days, you can go for a vacation at this time. Gradually this will prevent your pet from developing Separation Anxiety. However, it’s important to note that you must treat and praise your pet for every achievement.
Crate training can also help your pet with Separation Anxiety. It is a perfect tool for your Doberman to be trained to stay without the owner. The best trick is associating the crate with your dog’s happy moods. For example, you are putting your Doberman’s favorite toys, its blanket and making it a comfortable space for your Doberman; in other words, make it your dog’s happy place! Doing this will be like diverting the anxiety and stress to its crate, which will be its protective place to calm him down when you leave the house for a while.
Another way to help with Separation Anxiety is by exercise. Taking your Doberman for a run or playing fetch with him in the park will help you use that extra energy. Doing this will also be a great bonding moment for you and your pet. After the exercise, your dog will be tired and calm and less likely to develop Separation Anxiety.
Try not to be too clingy with your dog when you are home. This means not always being available for cuddles or playing fetch. Instead, have some “me” time where you do something without your dog. This can be reading a book, taking a shower, or sitting in silence. Your Doberman must learn that you are not always available and that it is okay for you to be away from them. You should train your dog to stay without you in a different room. First try with short-time intervals, like 5-10 mins, and then extend it hourly.
Communication is Key
When you leave the house, it’s important not to make a big deal. This means no long goodbyes or hugging and kissing your dog. If you act like it’s a big deal, your Doberman will sense your anxiety and stress, triggering separation anxiety. Instead, act like it’s no big deal, and you’ll be back soon. This will help your Doberman from getting anxious when you leave.
Use Desensitization Techniques
Using desensitization techniques, you can help your Doberman get used to being left alone. This means exposing your dog to different sights and sounds associated with you leaving.
For example, put on your coat and shoes, pick up your keys, and leave the house for a few minutes. Then come back and act as if nothing happened. Do this a few times a day and gradually increase the time you’re gone. You can also play the sounds of you leaving, like closing doors or the sound of a car engine. Please start with the volume low and gradually increase it.
It’s important to note that you should only do this if your Doberman does not show any anxiety or stress signs. And if your dog is showing any signs of anxiety or stress, you should stop the desensitization techniques and consult a veterinarian or behaviorist.
Can Separation Anxiety Always Be Prevented?
Separation Anxiety cannot always be preventable. It’s a difficult problem to deal with, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources and professional help available to you.
With the proper training, Separation Anxiety can be prevented. However, there are some cases where a medical condition causes Separation Anxiety. If you suspect that your Doberman has Separation Anxiety, you should consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist.
Separation Anxiety is a common issue that many Doberman owners face, and sadly, many owners get rid of their pets because of this behavior. Separation Anxiety can be treated but is not always preventable. It’s important to observe your pet’s behavior and look for signs of Separation Anxiety. If you think your dog might have Separation Anxiety, the best thing to do is consult with a professional. Separation Anxiety is a problem that can be fixed with the right help.
Will my Doberman outgrow Separation Anxiety?
In some cases, yes. Puppies and young Dobermans are more likely to outgrow Separation Anxiety than older Dobermans.
My Doberman only has Separation Anxiety when I leave for work in the morning. Is this normal?
Yes, it’s normal for Dobermans to experience Separation Anxiety when their owners leave for work or school. However, it would help if you got it checked with a professional to help your Doberman from feeling this way.
I think my Doberman has Separation Anxiety, but I’m not sure. What should I do?
If you think your dog has Separation Anxiety, the best thing to do is consult with a professional. They will be able to help you determine if your Doberman has Separation Anxiety or not and what the best course of treatment is.
What are some common signs of Separation Anxiety?
Common signs of Separation Anxiety include:
- Excessive barking or whining
- Destructive behavior
- Separation-related aggression
- Excessive drooling or panting
How do I know if my Doberman has Separation Anxiety?
There is no single test that can diagnose Separation Anxiety. However, your veterinarian or behaviorist can help you determine if your Doberman has Separation Anxiety based on their symptoms and behavior.
Is Separation Anxiety dangerous for my Doberman?
Yes, Separation Anxiety can be dangerous for your dog. If your Doberman is exhibiting signs of Separation Anxiety, it’s important to consult with a professional to help them manage their anxiety.
How can I help my Doberman with Separation Anxiety?
You can do many things to help your Doberman with Separation Anxiety. These include:
- Training your Doberman to stay without you in a different room
- Communicating with your Doberman
- Using desensitization techniques
- Provide your Doberman with toys and chews
- Creating a safe space for your Doberman
- Exercise is also important for Doberman with Separation Anxiety. A tired Doberman is a calm dog.