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Because dogs are born with an instinctive pack mentality, they are very sociable creatures. Domesticated dogs look at the humans in the home as part of their “pack” and when some dogs are left alone, it can create a panic response. Dogs with separation anxiety will often dig or scratch at doors, engage in destructive chewing, howl, bark or may even urinate or defecate, even long after they have been housetrained.

There are steps you can take to help a dog that begins to exhibit signs of separation anxiety, but it can take some time for these tips to work. One of the first steps to take is to limit your dog’s ability to be destructive in your home. Rather than strictly containing the dog, place them in a room with a window which offers distractions rather than totally isolating them in a crate. Be sure to leave toys for the dog to play with and some experts recommend an old clothing item with your scent on it that will calm the dog. For severe cases of separation anxiety, hiring a dog walker is an excellent way to reduce the dog’s anxiety.