Doberman Separation Anxiety

How to Handle Doberman Separation Anxiety

Doberman separation anxiety is one of the main reasons why these beautiful dogs are abandoned by their owners and euthanized.  This is a highly social dog with his pack, meaning you and your family.  Dobermans want to have constant human interaction so if you cannot provide that, you may want to rethink your breed choice.  It is highly unfair to blame your dog for Doberman separation anxiety if you are never home. Dobermans that display separation anxiety typically scratch and dig at doors, howl, whine, bark, engage in destructive chewing and potty in the house, even those that are housebroken.

Are You Sure it is Separation Anxiety?

If you think that you may be dealing with Doberman separation anxiety, you will notice the presence of  at least one or all of the behavioral actions listed above.  You also need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your dog always follow you when you are at home every time that you leave the room?
  • Do the behavioral problems happen shortly after you leave?
  • Is your dog excessively frantic to see you when you walk in the door?
  • Does your Doberman act depressed, anxious or excited when he knows that you are preparing to leave?

Causes of Doberman Separation Anxiety

It is unknown why some Dobermans will suffer from severe cases of separation anxiety while others do not.  It is extremely important that you understand that your dog is not punishing you because you left, he is acting out of a panic response because the leader of his pack isn’t there.  A few common causes are believed to be:

  • A loss of another pet or family member.
  • Separation or divorce resulting in the disappearance of a household member.
  • Changes in your family’s routine.  This could include a child starting school, new job, etc.
  • New addition to the household such as baby, spouse or new pet.
  • Recently spending time at a boarding establishment or shelter.
  • A Doberman who is used to always being around someone being left alone for his very first time.

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If you are dealing with a case of Doberman separation anxiety, it is important to avoid making a huge deal over coming and going.  It is helpful to ignore your dog for the first few minutes that you are home so that he does not relate the attention with you being gone or with the way that he has acted.  When your dog calms down, you can offer all of the affection that you want.

It is also helpful to leave your Doberman an article of your clothing that still smells like you.  This allows him to feel close to you while you are gone.  Some Doberman owners will recommend that you establish a safety cue that you can tell your dog before you leave that lets him know that you will return.

While crate training may be helpful for a dog in most cases, it is not necessarily a good idea for one that is suffering from Doberman separation anxiety.  Instead, you should create a safe place for your dog that limits destruction.  A room with a window to offer distractions is ideal.  Make sure that there are plenty of toys available as well.

Things That Will Not Help

  • Getting Another Dog – Chances are unlikely that your Doberman issues with anxiety will cease if you bring another dog home.  He is not necessarily anxious because he is alone but rather because you are not there with him.
  • Punishment – The only thing that punishment will do is make the Doberman separation anxiety far worse.
  • Crating – There is a good chance that a Doberman that is crated with this condition will howl, defecate, urinate and become injured while he attempts to escape.
  • Television or Radio – Unless you train your Doberman that turning on the radio or television are safety cures, the noise will do nothing to help.

The important thing to remember is to not acknowledge the behavior.  A dog that has separation anxiety will likely appreciate any type of attention, good or bad.   It is also helpful to eliminate triggers that let your dog know that you are leaving such as keys or putting on your shoes.  Try to switch up your routine a bit so your Doberman is not already anticipating your departure long before you walk out the door.