There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dogs, and some breeds are much more likely to be distressed when left alone.
Lorna Winter, dog trainer and co-founder of puppy training app ZigZag, said that while ‘separation anxiety can affect any dog regardless of breed, size or sociability’ – there are six breeds that are at a higher risk than the rest of the pack.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘In many instances, what we commonly label as ‘separation anxiety’ can more accurately be described as isolation distress, signifying that your puppy associates happiness with human company, regardless of the specific individual and is uncomfortable when left alone.’
Winter said that the classic signs of separation anxiety are: excessive panting around you, whining, crying, refusing to eat, restlessness or pacing, excessive barking and destroying things such as carpets or walls.
Below are the six breeds:
Lorna Winter, dog trainer and co-founder of puppy training app ZigZag
Winter said: ‘Chihuahuas make for great pampered lap dogs; their small bodies the perfect sofa companion.
‘However, despite being clever and having the biggest brains (relative to their size) of all dogs, they are very prone to separation anxiety.
Dachshunds are prone to separation anxiety
Winter said: ‘A sausage dog! Long bodies, big personalities, and full of mischief.
‘While they are an independent dog and may seem like they don’t need you; they can suffer with separation anxiety a lot.’
Beagles can suffer from separation anxiety
Winter said, ‘Beagles are eager to please, but they don’t come pre-programmed to know what ‘right’ behaviour is and what is not.
‘It’s down to you to show your Beagle the ropes, so they become the polite and calm companion you hoped for.’
French bulldogs are cute, but can suffer from separation anxiety
Winter said: ‘The Frenchie has an irresistible charm and is known for being playful, alert, and adaptable.
‘However, these little rascals are known to suffer from separation anxiety.’
Winter said: ‘The Australian Shepherd, the herding dog of choice, exhibits an irresistible impulse to herd anything!
‘This strong work ethic and boundless energy can make this pup too much dog for a sedentary pet owner.’
‘As they need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, before leaving them alone; I’d recommend taking them on sniffy walks and letting your Australian Shepherd explore different places and smells, rather than compulsive fetch sessions.
‘This will give you the best results to tire them out and reduce anxiety.’
Winter said, ‘Border Collies are incredibly athletic and are packed with boundless energy and stamina.
‘These furry pals are famous for their uncanny ability to people-please, and they practically live to make their owners smile.
‘But beware, their devotion runs so deep that they might develop a touch of separation anxiety when you’re not around to bask in their adoration!’
Lorna Winter’s tips on how to deal with separation anxiety
Tip: Sounds can be a great soother for an anxious dog. Classical music stations are rather good, or you could go for hours-long Youtube playlists specifically made for dog relaxation – just don’t play the same thing all the time – no one needs an earworm!
Tip: Using enrichment devices, puzzle toys and positive reinforcement training will activate the ‘seeking’ part of your dog’s brain. This will be a great help with problem-solving which in turn helps them with their overall coping skills – it’s also a great way to distract them from feeling anxious and can relieve their stress.
Tip: Try broadening your puppy’s social circle by letting them go out with a licensed and insured dog walker or book a puppy socialisation class with your local trainer. This will mean that your puppy is well-looked after and won’t suffer hours alone.
Tip: Making sure your puppy is well-fed before leaving the house will help to reduce anxiety levels. You know how terrible this feeling is. Low blood sugar makes everyone irritable, so make sure they have full tummies!
Tip: One of the biggest hurdles for dogs with Separation Anxiety is owners leaving via the front door. To them, the front door is a portal that swallows you whole to another dimension which you may never come back from! Get them used to the idea gradually by going near the door, then opening it, then leaving for short periods.
Tip: It’s a really common assumption to think your pup won’t get anxiety because it seems confident or sociable. It’s important to understand that separation anxiety can affect any dog regardless of breed, size or sociability. Learning which breeds suffer with it most and becoming familiar with the warning signs will allow you to decide what measures are needed in order to support your pup.