How Can I Train My Dog to Overcome Separation Anxiety?

Training your dog to overcome separation anxiety can seem daunting but with the right preparation and guidance, it can be achieved in no time. Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from fear, stress, and anxiety when separated from their owners. To help your pup overcome his separation anxiety, establish a regular routine, desensitize him to being alone, provide plenty of exercise, create a safe space, and teach him to enjoy alone time. With patience and consistency, your dog will soon learn to relax and feel comfortable when left alone.

Causes of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is a complex problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment and age. A puppy that is taken away from its litter too early, for example, may develop separation anxiety, as might a dog that is adopted from an animal shelter.

Genetics can also play a role, as some dogs are naturally predisposed to suffering from separation anxiety. Once a dog has developed separation anxiety, it can be difficult to overcome. That’s why it’s important to take steps to prevent it in the first place.

To do so, establish a regular routine and stick to it as much as possible. For whatever reason, there needs to be a change in your dog’s routine, introduce it slowly and gradually.

Try to create a safe space for your dog while you’re away, where they’ll feel comfortable and secure.

Make sure to exercise your dog before and after you leave the house. This will help your pup to release some of their pent-up energy and help them to relax. It’s also a good idea to desensitize them to your absence by slowly increasing the amount of time you spend away from them. With patience and consistency, you can help your pup to overcome their separation anxiety.


Genetics can be a large factor in determining whether a dog will suffer from separation anxiety. While it is impossible to change your dog’s genetics, you can take steps to ensure that your pup is well socialized and gets plenty of exercise.

This will help to ensure that your pup is as healthy and happy as possible, which may help him cope better with the stress of being separated from you. It’s also important to understand that certain breeds may be more prone to separation anxiety than others. Breeds like terriers, hounds, and herding breeds may be more susceptible to the condition.

If you have a breed that is known for being prone to separation anxiety, you may need to be extra proactive in terms of training and socialization to prevent it from taking hold. It’s important to keep in mind that puppyhood is the best time to start addressing any potential separation anxiety issues.

Make sure your pup is well-socialized with people and other animals, gets plenty of exercise, and is exposed to different situations and environments. This will help ensure that your pup has the best chance of growing out of any tendencies towards separation anxiety.


It’s important to recognize the environment in which your dog will be spending most of their time. If the environment is particularly stressful for your pup, it could be one of the causes of their separation anxiety and should be addressed to help them overcome it.

Look for things like loud noises, being around too many people, or having too many unknown animals around them. Consider ways to make their environment more comfortable, like adding items from home that have your scent, or noise-canceling machines. It’s also important to recognize if your pup has an aversion to anything in their environment.

If you frequently leave your pup alone in a certain room, they may associate that room with being alone and become anxious when they’re in that environment. To help them get over those anxieties, try to rotate areas in your home that they can stay in, so they get used to different environments.


Age can be an important factor in determining whether or not your dog is prone to separation anxiety. Dogs that were taken away from their mothers or siblings at a young age are more likely to suffer from anxiety when left alone. The same is true for puppies that were removed from the litter too soon, or have had multiple owners throughout their life.

If you have an older dog with a history of abandonment or neglect, it may be more difficult to train them to cope with being alone. One way to help alleviate their fear of being separated from you is to establish a consistent routine.

Dogs love and thrive on structure.

Make sure that you are providing your dog with enough exercise, mental stimulation and reliable routines. This will help them to feel secure in their environment and less anxious when left alone.

Another way to help reduce your dog’s anxiety is to desensitize them to being away from you. This can be done gradually by exposing them to small periods of alone time.

Start with a few minutes and slowly build up to longer periods. With enough practice, your dog will eventually learn to enjoy and look forward to their alone time. Providing them with a safe and comfortable space may also help to ease their worries when you are away.

What Triggers Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety can be triggered by several things, such as a change in schedule, routine, or environment. If your pup’s life suddenly becomes chaotic, they may start to feel anxious when they’re not by your side. A sudden change in their routine, such as a new work schedule, can make them feel uneasy.

They may also become anxious if they’re in a new environment, such as going to the vet or staying with a pet sitter. If they’ve been used to being around you all the time, being alone can be a stressful experience.

Dogs are creatures of habit and when their routine is disrupted, it can cause them to feel anxious. If you often go to work or leave your pup for extended periods of time, it’s important to slowly get them used to being away from you.

Make sure to establish a consistent routine that you and your pup can stick to.

This will help them become more comfortable with being left alone and help lessen the effects of separation anxiety. It’s also important to desensitize your pup to the idea of being away from you.

Start by leaving for short periods of time and gradually increasing the amount of time you’re away. Exercise your pup before and after you leave, and provide them with a safe space they can go to when you’re not around. With consistency and patience, you can help your pup overcome their separation anxiety and enjoy some alone time.

Change in Schedule

If you are having trouble with your dog’s separation anxiety, it’s important to watch out for any changes in their boarding or feeding schedule. Dogs are incredibly sensitive and even the smallest changes can cause them anxiety.

Try to keep their routine as consistent as possible, especially if they are used to always eating and going to bed at the same time. If you do need to make changes to your dog’s routine, then desensitize them to the new schedule. If you need to shift their food time earlier, then start to move it bit by bit until they are used to the new time.

This gradual approach will make the transition smoother for your pup and lessen their anxiety. Exercise is a great way to help your pup cope with changes in their routine.

Try to give them plenty of daily exercise before and after you leave for the day. This will tire them out and help them relax, making it easier for them to cope when you’re not there. It will also help to create a safer space for your pup while you’re away.

Change in Routine

When it comes to changing your pup’s routine, it’s best to do it gradually. Suddenly changing your pup’s routine can be stressful and can trigger separation anxiety.

Start with small changes like leaving the house for an hour or two at a time. This will help your pup learn to handle time away from you in increments. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re away.

If your pup starts to show signs of distress, go back to shorter amounts of time away from home. Separation anxiety can also be triggered by changes in your pup’s environment.

This can include things like moving to a different home or introducing a new pet. Make sure when making changes to your pup’s environment, to take it slow and introduce new things gradually.

It’s important to create a safe and comfortable space for your pup and to spend time playing and bonding with them.

If your pup is already having issues with separation anxiety, it’s important to start to desensitize them. This means gradually introducing them to new situations and environments. When you’re out of the house, try to make it fun by leaving some treats or toys that they can engage with.

You can also try to create a comfortable space by leaving a piece of clothing with your scent on it. This can help your pup feel more secure when you’re away.

Change in Environment

Making a big change in your dog’s environment can be stressful for them and can trigger separation anxiety. If your dog is already prone to anxiety, try to keep as much of their environment the same as possible. If a big move is in the cards, gradually introduce your dog to their new surroundings.

This could involve taking them for walks in the neighborhood, allowing them to explore the house and backyard, and giving them a chance to get to know the people in their new home.

By gradually introducing them to a new environment, you can give them the time they need to adjust and acclimate. If your dog is particularly sensitive to environmental changes, it might be helpful to create a small “safe space” for them in the new home. This could be a corner in the living room, a small den, or even a quiet bedroom.

Make sure their safe space is stocked with their favorite toys, treats, and bedding. This will help them feel secure and comfortable when they need a break from their new environment.

Steps to Training Your Dog to Overcome Separation Anxiety

Set up a consistent routine for your pup that they can easily follow. Work on desensitizing them to being away from you by slowly increasing time apart. Make sure to give them plenty of exercise before and after you leave, as well as a safe and comfortable space.

Teach them to enjoy the alone time! Start by giving them treats when you leave to create positive associations, then reward them for successful periods of solitude.

This will help your pup understand that being apart from you can be a positive experience. Getting your pup to overcome separation anxiety can be a long process, but with patience and dedication, you’ll get there.

Make sure to be consistent with your training and reward your pup for good behavior. If the process seems overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. With the right guidance and a little bit of love, your pup will be able to enjoy their alone time in no time.

Establish a Routine

It’s important to establish a routine with your dog if they experience separation anxiety. A consistent daily structure helps dogs to know what to expect and can help to reduce their anxiety. Try to give your dog the same amount of exercise at the same time each day, feed them at the same time, and separate their play and sleep areas if possible.

Routines can help your dog to relax and feel secure when you are away. Try to keep your coming and going times consistent.

If possible, avoid changing your schedule and always give your dog some warning when you are about to leave. If you must change your routine for some reason, give your dog plenty of time to adjust and prepare for the change. Be sure to praise them for any progress they make to help them gain confidence in the situation.

Desensitize Your Dog

Desensitizing your dog is a must if you want them to overcome their separation anxiety. Start by leaving the house for short periods of time and slowly increase the amount of time you’re gone.

Make sure your departures and arrivals are low key, so your dog doesn’t get too excited that you’re leaving or returning. Leave them with something to do, like a toy or a stuffed Kong, to help pass the time.

Feed them their meals in this designated area and give them treats when you leave and as soon as you return. This will teach your dog that leaving and coming back is nothing to worry about and will help them feel more relaxed when you’re not around.

You can also use desensitization to help your dog become more accustomed to the sound of you leaving. Put the keys in the ignition and the car in the driveway with the engine running for short periods of time, then gradually increase this time.

Do the same with taking off your coat, putting on your shoes, and closing the door. Keep it low key and do not make a big deal when you leave. This will help your dog become more accustomed to the sounds and actions associated with you leaving.

Be patient and consistent with your desensitizing efforts and your dog will soon be able to enjoy being on their own without feeling anxious. Taking the time to desensitize your dog will pay off in the end when they can be home alone without feeling scared or panicked.

Exercise Before and After Leaving

Exercising your pup before you leave and soon after you arrive home is an important step in helping reduce separation anxiety. Exercise can help your pup work off all that pent up energy, and instead of feeling anxious, he can rest and relax. If you have time, try taking your pup for a short walk or a quick game of fetch before you leave.

Just make sure to do your walk or game in the same place and at the same time each day to make it seem more familiar.

Regular exercise also helps your pup stay healthy and can even help him be more alert and responsive when you’re away. If you can, try to exercise your pup shortly after you get home, as this can help him make the transition back to being with you more smoothly. Just make sure to keep the routine consistent and rewarding, as this will help your pup look forward to your return.

It’s important to remember that it may take some time and patience for your pup to adjust to being alone, especially if he has severe separation anxiety. With consistency and patience, however, you can help your pup feel more comfortable and reduce his anxiety when you’re away.

Create a Safe Space for Your Dog

Creating a safe space for your dog is an important step in training them to overcome separation anxiety. Your pup should have a spot where they feel safe and secure when you’re away.

This could be a spot in the corner of your room under a piece of furniture or a designated spot in a crate near a window. Bring in some of their favorite toys and a blanket that smells like you to make them feel comfortable.

Be sure to reward your pup whenever they go to their safe spot on their own. This will reinforce the positive behavior and your dog will start to associate their safe spot with a reward. It’s important to recognize any negative feelings your pup has about their safe spot.

If they seem anxious or nervous, try to make the spot more inviting by providing more comforts.

If needed, try to stay in the room with them and give plenty of cuddles and reassurance. The main thing is to make sure your pup feels comforted and safe in their safe space. With some patience and consistency, your pup will soon be able to feel secure when they are alone.

Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Alone Time

Training your dog to enjoy alone time is a key step in overcoming separation anxiety. It’s all about creating positive associations with being alone and rewarding good behavior with treats or other rewards. Start by having someone stay with your dog while you leave the room for a few moments.

Gradually increase the time you are away, and make sure to reward your dog each time you return. You can also give your dog a special toy or treat to enjoy while you’re away, as this will help create a positive relationship with the experience.

Building up this routine slowly but surely will help your pup become more comfortable when it’s time for you to leave.

The key to successfully training your dog to enjoy alone time is consistency. Make a plan and stick to it.

Every day, take the same steps and gradually increase the amount of time you are away. This will help your pup become more comfortable with being alone. If your pup has a particularly challenging time, take a few steps back and start the process over again. Remember to be patient and consistent, and you and your pup will have an easier time managing separation anxiety.

Megan Turner

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *