Understanding Separation Anxiety in your Dachshund

May 9, 2011, by Lauren

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Separation anxiety or distress can be a normal but undesirable behavior in young Dachshunds, particularly Dachshunds that are ‘new to you’. Pretty much any puppy will experience separation distress or anxiety. How you handle the situation will determine how long your Dachshund will have separation anxiety.

A Dachshund that is ‘new to you’ may also experience separation anxiety. Just physically being moved into your home is enough to cause your new Dachshund some separation distress.

Your Dachshund can very easily become scared when first left alone. This may lead to him ‘expecting’ to be scared every time he is left alone. That is why it is important to nip this separation behavior in the bud.

How do you know if your Dachshund is experiencing separation anxiety? Some signs may include chewing or scratching at doors or other things while you are gone. He may chew an item that personally belongs to you, like one of your shoes or socks. Your Dachshund may whine, howl, bark or pace the room. You may come home and find that your Dachshund has gone potty in the house.

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One thing that will help both you and your Dachshund to overcome this behavior is for you to understand this separation behavior.

If you come home and see that your Dachshund has misbehaved, don’t get mad at him. (Unless you catch your Dachshund in the act of doing something wrong, discipline is pointless. I repeat, Your Dachshund will not associate your discipline with his bad behavior if you don’t catch him in the act and immediately discipline with a stern “NO’, etc.)

Understand that your Dachshund did not potty in the house or chew your shoe out of spite because you left him. He did this as a reaction to his fear or his anxiety. You were gone, he was left alone, and he (and you) have not been trained properly yet. Remember, he is only a baby (although older dogs may do this too, if you and they are not trained properly). This behavior doesn’t need to be punished, it needs to be helped.

You may think…’ he knows he’s been bad. He has that ‘guilty’ look, or cowering when I get home… and he’s made a mess.’¬† He’s not looking guilty or fearful because he knows he’s done wrong. Chances are it’s a ‘learned’ reaction to a previous behavior pattern on your part. If you’ve gotten mad at him previously when you’ve come home and found he’s been bad (after the fact), and then have scolded him for it (after the fact), then you are in essence¬† unwittingly training him to be that way when you return home.

Imagine that he’s been feeling alone, fearful, maybe even panicked. His beloved Mom or Dad comes home, …and you get mad at him. Now he’s really confused.

Some suggestions to help alleviate separation anxiety are to downplay your departure and downplay your return. In other words don’t get overly excited yourself. Dogs sense that and react to it. They ‘know’ when you’re getting ready to leave because they are very good at knowing and associating your behavior. If you appear in a rush to leave, they will be overly anxious. Try slowing down and remaining calm. It works!

Remember, understanding your Dachshunds separation anxiety is the first step to being able to help overcome this behavior.
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