Will Dog Training Help with separation anxiety?

By Robin

Mon 1st Apr 2024

Separation Related Problems – Part 1

Some Dogs will become anxious when we leave, or even when there are cues which signal that we are leaving.

Dogs that suffer separation problems often are destructive, vocalise and toilet when left as they are so anxious. They may destroy exit points like door frames and window frames.

Before leaving they may pace, pant, yawn and lick their lips.

There is no fast track solution for this, I will send weekly progressions to help you, we can only work at the dog’s pace without skipping any steps.

Anxiety is also a lack of confidence.



To build a dogs confidence we can start with teaching exercises using reward based training so the dog earns rewards for tasks, like sitting, coming when called etc, searching for treats around the house and garden, play and offer a few beds so they can choose safe sleeping areas.



You can only train while you are home, the dog must never be left alone as this will undo all your work.

If you must leave the house, try to make sure you have someone to come and pet-sit or maybe leave your dog with a friend or family.

Your dog will have a safe place where they prefer to rest/ sleep it is where they are at night if they settle or where they go when you are at home.

When they are in this place see if you can put a treat between their front paws, take a step back and go back and reward the dog for being in the same place. Repeat 5-6 times maybe leaving the dog a little further each time.


If the dog keeps getting up do not leave the dog just reward for relaxing in that space, maybe in a few days you can move on.

Practice this 3-4 times a day with 5-6 repetitions.

If your dog keeps getting up do not move away for a few days, maybe just lift a leg and a half step away.


Baby Gates:

These can be useful to help stop a dog following you around the house all the time.

Use the above exercises with the gate between you and the dog.

Gradually increase the distance and time you can leave the dog.

If your dog is too stressed you cannot leave them for long periods, you may need to get a chair and sit on the other side of the baby gate for short periods.


Signs of Stress:

Be aware of your dog’s body language, we want to keep the dog feeling safe and comfortable and not anxious.

Signs of stress are pacing, panting, yawning, lip licking, the ears are back, the eyes look worried, you can see the whites of the eyes and the brow maybe furrowed.


Leaving Cues:

Our dogs are very good at reading cues which can indicate we are leaving the house. Lifting keys, our phone, turning the TV off, putting a coat on etc. Watch your dog and see at which stage the anxiety increases. Practice these cues and do not go out, ie put your coat on and sit for a while and then take it off, the cue will not always mean you are leaving.