What are the causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
When dogs bark they are always trying to tell us something, but it's not always easy to know if it is a warning, a complaint or an expression of discomfort.
A dog can bark for many different reasons. In some instances, the barking is due to a former situation or experience that he may have had. Research has shown that the dog's brain does react to stimuli, and this was proven a long time ago with Pavlov's experiment into causes of separation anxiety in dogs.
These experiments reveal that there is imagery in the dog's brain that stimulates particular dog behaviors. These behaviors could appear normal or abnormal to us, but they do have a significance.
Dogs have the ability to recall images of the owner, earlier smells and sounds and past experiences, and these cause them to behave in a certain way.
Envisage a situation where you return home at the same time every day and immediately start playing with your puppy. The image of the good time that the young dog experiences will become implanted in the dog's brain.
The problem develops on the day you are late from work. The young dog remembers the images and anticipates the fun. He begins to get ready for play and then when you are late home, he starts feeling anxious, pacing up and down and barking, the first signs of separation anxiety in dogs begin to appear. Relieving stress in dogs becomes all important in such circumstances so that the dog can cope with such unforeseen situations.
Similarly, certain mental images are related to the act of leaving home. We all do things in a certain order, like putting on our shoes, picking up the keys of the car and wearing a coat. A
ll these actions get stored as images in the dog's mind and become linked with you leaving the house and so become one of the causes of anxiety attacks in dogs.
These actions can cause the dog to become anxious and some will get excessively possessive and follow it's owner around the house or try to obstruct the passage to the external door. When you do finally leave your house you could well return to find it trashed.
Objects connected with you leaving can suddenly go missing and shoes may have been chewed. A condition like this is called separation anxiety in dogs and manifests itself more often in dogs that are overly spoiled by their owners.
Much research has been done on whether dogs can think, but after having studied dog behavior, it can easily be concluded that the dog's brain unquestionably retains experiences. The fashion in which they are stored and remembered is less clear.