Is it Separation Anxiety?
First Basenji's

I was reading an article from Whole Dog Journal by Pat Miller (you may google her name for her authority on dogs) that may help define separation anxiety vs boredom. Just thought I'd share it with any one who needs to distinguish it in order to plan a corrective program for the behavior.

Important Canine Separation Anxiety Information
by Pat Miller

Have you ever had the misfortune of walking into your house to find overturned furniture, inches-deep claw gouges on door frames, blood-stained tooth marks on window sills, and countless messages on your answering machine from neighbors complaining about your dog barking and howling for hours on end in your absence? If so, you?re probably familiar with the term ?separation anxiety? - a mild label for a devastating and destructive behavior.

Most separation anxiety behavior happens within 30 minutes of the owner?s departure and within a similar period before the owner?s anticipated return. This is one of the keys to determining whether your dog?s behavior is truly an anxiety reaction or simply a bout of puppy hijinks.

If you can leave and come back in an hour to an unscathed home but four hours puts him over the top, chances are you?re dealing with boredom, excessive energy, or a housetraining issue rather than true separation anxiety. (Some dogs will become destructive in their efforts to go outside to relieve themselves if they are very committed to not soiling the house.)

Just going to add in something to this, just because I always appreciated it when others told of their experiences (that were out of the ordinary) and I feel obligated to return the favor in case anyone else stumbles on this situation.

My dog has separation anxiety…as it turns out....I didn't think it was separation anxiety for the longest time because it didn't really match all of the 'signs' that you would see in normal separation anxiety.

For example, He'll be fine for hours alone but the last 20-30 minutes is when his anxiety REALLY starts to kick in. He'll usually be fine for the first hour or so alone - sometimes even going 2 hours without a peep.....but then followed by cycles of whining, topped off with 30 minutes of screaming and cage rattling, and destruction. He will not eat bones/kibble/chews or play with toys (except his kong) until I return.

Only mentioning this because when I was working with him as a pup, general consensus suggested that you could stop 'teaching' puppies after the 40 minute mark...the logic being that dogs can't tell time. Not always true. If I could do it again I'd work all the way up to 3 hours and then go from there....I stopped way too early. And I wish that I had read something like this when I was working with would have caused him a lot less trauma in the long run. Despite what it sounds like on paper, his issue is not boredom/house training issues or excessive energy.

I can only imagine what it would be like to inherit a rescue dog with legitimate separation anxiety.

With a basenji it doesn't necessarily need to be separation anxiety. They do this stuff out of boredom too. Taking him for a long walk or doing something else to tire him out could help a lot…....a tired basenji is a good basenji. On saying that, our little one didn't get better about all this chewing, tearing, etc. until we got her a companion when she was 9 months old. Worked like a charm to have another dog in the house.

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