Dachshunds are known for their loyal and affectionate nature, making them popular companions for many dog lovers. However, their devotion to their owners can sometimes result in separation anxiety, when a dog becomes anxious or distressed when separated from their owner.
Dachshund separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior, excessive barking, and even health issues. If you're a Dachshund owner dealing with separation anxiety in your furry friend, you're not alone.
In this blog, we'll explore what separation anxiety is, why Dachshunds may be more prone to it, and practical tips on how to help your sausage dog cope with being alone.
What Is Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety in Dachshunds is a condition where the poor Doxie becomes anxious or distressed when separated from their owner or other family members.
Dachshunds with separation anxiety may display a range of behaviors that indicate stress, such as excessive barking, destructive behavior (chewing or digging), attempts to escape, urinating or defecating in inappropriate places, and pacing or panting. In severe cases, some dogs may also experience gastrointestinal problems and refuse to eat.
The severity of separation anxiety can vary from dog to dog, with some dogs experiencing mild anxiety and others experiencing severe distress. Separation anxiety can be a challenging condition to manage. Still, with proper training and support, it is possible to help dogs with separation anxiety overcome their fears and cope with being alone.
What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dachshunds?
Several factors can contribute to the development of separation anxiety. One of the most common causes is how a dog has been trained or treated during its early years.
Dogs that have been coddled or over-protected may become overly attached to their owners and prone to separation anxiety.
Dogs that have never been socialized, or have had traumatic experiences, such as being abandoned or surrendered to a shelter, may also develop separation anxiety.
There are a few reasons why Dachshunds may be more prone to separation anxiety than other dog breeds. First, Dachshunds were originally bred to be hunting dogs and have a strong bond with their owners. This strong attachment can lead to anxiety when their owners are not around.
Second, Dachshunds are small dogs, which makes them vulnerable to potential threats, and this vulnerability can increase their anxiety levels. Finally, some Dachshunds may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety, which their parents can pass down.
Can Separation Anxiety In Dachshunds Be Cured?
While there is no "cure" for separation anxiety in Dachshunds, managing and improving the condition with proper training and support is possible. The goal of treatment is to help the Doxie learn to feel more comfortable and secure when alone and to reduce their anxiety and distress.
The treatment for separation anxiety may involve a combination of behavior modification, medication, and environmental changes. Behavior modification techniques may include desensitization and counterconditioning exercises, which involve gradually exposing the dog to being alone and rewarding calm behavior.
Training Techniques for Dachshunds With Separation Anxiety
Training a Dachshund with separation anxiety requires patience, consistency, and a willingness to work with your dog's needs. Here are some tips to help you train your dog with separation anxiety:
Start with short absences - When starting to train your Dachshund with separation anxiety, it's important to begin with short absences. This means leaving your dog alone for only a few seconds or minutes at a time, even if it's just stepping out of the room for a moment. Gradually increase the duration of your absence over time as your dog becomes more comfortable. It's important to go at a pace that works for your dog and not to push them too quickly.
Provide loads of toys - Toys are a great way to keep your Dachshund occupied and entertained while you're away, especially if your dog has separation anxiety. Interactive toys, such as puzzle toys or treat dispensers, are particularly beneficial in keeping your dog mentally stimulated and engaged.
Consider investing in a few high-quality toys that are durable and safe for your dog to play with. Here are three examples of interactive toys that you might want to try:
2-Level Interactive Puzzle Pet Toy: This puzzle game features two levels of gameplay, providing a fun and challenging activity for your dog while you're away. Not only does this toy relieve anxiety, but it can also help improve your dog's cognitive skills.
Plush Carrot Field Pull Toy: This toy allows you to hide treats under each carrot, giving your doxie a fun and engaging challenge to dig up their rewards. It's an excellent way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated while you're not around.
Robot Tumbler Treat Dispenser Interactive Toy: This interactive toy features a tumbler design that dispenses treats as your dog plays with it. The robot design adds an element of fun, and your furry friend will have a blast chasing it around until they get their reward.
Remember, rotating your dog's toys regularly can help prevent boredom and keep them engaged with their toys. It's essential to choose toys that are safe, durable, and suitable for your dog's size and play style. With the right toys, your Dachshund can stay entertained and happy while you're away.
Use positive reinforcement - Positive reinforcement is an important part of training a dog with separation anxiety. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or toys for calm behavior, like lying down or chewing on their toys. By associating being alone with positive experiences, your Dachshund can learn to feel more comfortable and secure when you're not around.
Gradually increase the distance - As your Dachshund becomes more comfortable being alone, you can gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. This means starting by leaving the room for a few minutes, then leaving the house for short periods of time. It's important to monitor your dog's behavior and progress as you increase the duration and distance of your absences.
Create a comfortable environment - Providing a comfortable space for your Dachshund when you're away can help them feel more secure. A crate or a cozy bed in a quiet area of the house can be a good option. You can also leave familiar items, like your dog's favorite blanket or toy, in the space to help them feel more at ease.
Avoid punishment - Punishing your dog for anxiety or destructive behavior will only make the problem worse. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and building your dog's confidence. Punishing your dog can make them more anxious and less likely to follow your commands or feel comfortable when you're away.
Seek professional help - If your Dachshund's separation anxiety is severe, seeking professional help may be the best course of action. A veterinarian or certified dog trainer who specializes in working with anxious dogs can provide a personalized training plan, as well as additional support and guidance. They may also suggest medication or natural remedies that could help your dog feel more comfortable when alone.
Another option is to learn how to train your dog yourself through an online course. One highly affordable yet effective course that covers a wide range of topics, from potty training to reducing anxiety to obedience training, is worth considering. By taking this course, you can learn effective strategies to address your dog's separation anxiety and enhance your bond with your furry friend.
Remember, training a wiener dog with separation anxiety takes time, patience, and consistency. Be willing to adapt your approach as needed and celebrate small victories along the way. With the right training techniques and support, many dogs with separation anxiety can learn to feel more comfortable and secure when alone.
Separation Anxiety Medication for Dachshunds
Several medications can be used to help manage separation anxiety in dogs. However, it's important to note that you should always use medication in conjunction with behavior modification techniques and under the guidance of a veterinarian. Here are some medications that may be prescribed to help manage separation anxiety in Dachshunds:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can help reduce anxiety. Examples of SSRIs commonly prescribed for dogs include fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft).
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): These medications work similarly to SSRIs but have different mechanisms of action. Examples of TCAs commonly prescribed for dogs include clomipramine (Clomicalm) and amitriptyline.
Benzodiazepines: These medications have soothing properties and can help reduce anxiety in dogs. Examples of benzodiazepines commonly prescribed for dogs include alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium).
Gabapentin: This medication is an anticonvulsant that is sometimes prescribed off-label to help manage anxiety in dogs.
CBD oil: CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a natural compound derived from the hemp plant that has been shown to have anxiety-reducing effects in humans and dogs. It can be administered orally or topically, and some pet owners have reported positive results when using it to help manage their dog's separation anxiety.
Calming pheromones: Pheromones are chemical signals that animals use to communicate with each other. Several types of calming pheromones are designed to help reduce anxiety in dogs, including Adaptil (which mimics the pheromones produced by a mother dog to calm her puppies) and Feliway (designed to help reduce stress in cats but may also be effective in dogs).
Herbal supplements: Several herbal supplements may help reduce anxiety in dogs, such as chamomile, valerian root, and passionflower. These supplements can be administered orally or added to your dog's food.
It's important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine which medication is appropriate for your dog. They can also help you administer the proper dosage and monitor your dog's response to the medication.
In conclusion, separation anxiety is a common and challenging issue for many dogs, including our precious Dachshunds. Understanding the signs of separation anxiety and working with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes behavior modification techniques, medications, and natural remedies is important.
By providing your Dachshund with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and positive reinforcement, you can help reduce their anxiety and build a strong, healthy relationship with your furry friend.
Remember, managing separation anxiety is a process that takes time and patience, but with dedication and support, you can help your beloved Dachshund overcome their anxiety and thrive.