There are many forms of anxiety in dogs and separation anxiety is the most common in our short-legged buddies. Dachshund separation anxiety can result in destructive and self-harming behaviors by your pet.
Separation anxiety is triggered when a dog is left alone, moved into a new place, or basically separated from one he is deeply attached. Unfortunately, separation anxiety is very common among Dachshunds. A survey of 1143 Dachshund owners found that about 73% of them saw signs of separation anxiety in their pets.
Why is separation anxiety common in Dachshunds?
The exact cause of Dachshund separation anxiety is not known. But biological factors, environmental factors, and upbringing contribute to it. In many cases, a dog suffering from separation anxiety has never been or has rarely been left alone. He may also be used to the constant companionship of a loved one and be staying away from that person, place, or object causes him to grow anxious and uneasy. Separation anxiety may also be a manifestation of dogs’ fear of an unknown future or what lies ahead when the loved one is not around.
But for some reason, Dachshund separation anxiety is more visible than in other more “independent” breeds. Here are some possible reasons why it is extraordinarily common.
- Dachshunds are pack dogs. They were bred to hunt in numbers so they are used to having company.
- As a breed, Dachshunds are overly affectionate and protective of their families. They are also more likely to get too attached to their owners.
- Although Dachshunds are known to be fearless, they feel vulnerable without their owners because their body size is small.
Separation anxiety is also commonly seen in dogs ditched by their family or adopted by another. Dramatic changes in daily routines can also trigger Dachshund separation anxiety.
Signs of separation anxiety in Dachshunds
Although Dachshund separation anxiety sounds like a minor emotional problem, it can actuate your pet to do things that could potentially put his life in danger. Some pets try to escape from their homes while some chew their own body parts. There are many bad things that could happen to your Dachshund when his separation anxiety kicks in. For this reason, it is important to recognize the signs of Dachshund separation anxiety and know how to deal with it.
Dachshunds with separation anxiety commonly display the following signs when they are left alone or when their “favorite” person remain absent for a long time.
- Chewing of paws, legs, tail, or any part of his own body
- “Accidents” (defecation or urination even if potty trained)
- Incessant barking, howling, or whining
- Destructive behavior (ex. destroying doors, pillows, slippers, etc.)
- Escape attempts
How to relieve separation anxiety in Dachshunds
Leave your Dachshund more often
The best solution to Dachshund separation anxiety is to practice “leaving training.” This tip shall make your pet feel safe, more confident, and more independent. Start by leaving your home only for a few minutes. Start with 15 minutes, then gradually work up to longer periods of time.
Make your departure and arrival calm
Do not make your leaving and arriving dramatic. It is difficult not to display any emotion when our beloved pets are involved, but it is necessary.
Dachshunds are very sensitive, and they can pick up cues from their owner’s words, actions, tone, and emotions. When he senses your departure, his emotions and mental state are affected leading to anxiety. To prevent this from happening, do not shower your dog with affectionate goodbyes. Also, try changing your routine every now and then to prevent your Doxie from associating mundane actions –such as putting on shoes, makeup, or spraying cologne –with your departure.
Remain calm during your arrival as well. If you show too much affection after your return home, the Dachshund may long for your arrival and any delay cause him to suffer from anxiety. Although this is a normal behavior among dogs, dogs with separation anxiety become overeager and this can lead to frustration.
Attend to his needs before leaving
Before you leave, it is necessary to take care of your Dachshund’s needs first. Make sure that he already has his meal and gone for potty. Walking your pet before leaving is also important as adequate physical activities help keep his mind stable and prevent anxiety issues.
Do not forget to keep potentially dangerous objects and substances away. Keep any chemicals, electric cords, or any sharp object out of your Dachshund’s reach. It also helps to leave toys for Dachshund to play with while you are away.
Crate train your dog
Keeping your Dachshund in a crate for prolonged hours is not a good idea. Dogs who lived in crates for most of their lives are often undersocialized, poorly kept, and have the tendency to become aggressive.
Crate training, on the other hand, is different from just leaving your pet to grow inside a cage. This type of training allows your Dachshund to be comfortable and feel safe inside cages when it is necessary. This is helpful in many situations especially if your pet gets scared during holiday fireworks, when there are new people in the house with whom your Doxie is not comfortable with, or when leaving your pet alone for a few hours.
Start by feeding your Dachshund in the cage or put blankets and bedding inside it. Do not close its gate immediately. Dachshunds are naturally drawn to comfortable, cave-like dwelling, and it is very likely that your pet will go inside it. Once your pet gets used to being inside the crate, you can start locking the gate. Leave your pet for a few minutes before gradually staying out for longer periods each time.
Never lock your Dachshund inside the cage if he isn’t comfortable being alone yet. Your pet may try to escape by biting or chewing the cage or his own body due to anxiety.
Some medications can help alleviate Dachshund separation anxiety. Diphenhydramine is one of the most common option veterinarians recommend. Although this drug is commonly used to relieve allergic reactions, it has sedative properties that help dogs calm down. Other medications may be prescribed to treat severe Dachshund separation anxiety include alprazolam, clomicalm, diazepam, and fluoxetine.
Note that it is extremely important to consult the veterinarian before giving your pet any medication.
Dachshund Separation Anxiety: Things to Avoid
For the best interest of your Dachshund and family, it is important to train your pet to be confident and calm when left alone. However, despite training, some dogs just cannot snap out of their anxiety. If your Dachshund is one of those dogs, it is important to avoid the following things.
Scolding, punishing, or hitting your Dachshund when he shows unpleasant behavior is definitely a no-no. Dogs do not really understand the concept of punishment. They can tell that you are angry by observing the tone of your voice and reading your body language, but they do not associate your reaction as punishment for their behavior. Also, hitting or punishing your Dachshund may only trigger an aggressive behavior.
Do not cuddle your dog when he is anxious. Doing so will only tell your Dachshund that he will be rewarded for displaying anxious behaviors.
Being welcomed home by our pets is one of the best feelings in the world, but if your Dachshund suffers from separation anxiety, you may want to tone down the greetings. If you look overjoyed on arriving home, it can cause your Dachshund to become anxious when you are not around. Your pet will associate your arrival to overly-happy emotions, and this can lead him to grow anxious when he waits for you.
It may be hard for our feelings as owners but consider ignoring your Dachshund a few minutes after coming home. The only time you should greet your Dachshund is when he has finally calmed down. This way, you are rewarding his calm behavior instead of encouraging exuberance.