Many dog owners have to deal with a common and highly frustrating problem – your dog is well-behaved when you’re home but turns into an air defense alarm siren when you’re at work. What gives? What exactly causes dachshund separation anxiety barking and what to do about it?
Why Is My Dog Barking When I’m Away?
Barking is an often-annoying but perfectly normal canine behavior. We tend to try and train that away in household pets because the noise can be a bit too much but barking due to separation anxiety can be especially difficult to deal with.
It’s still normal, however, and it literally means that your dog loves you and misses you when you’re away. So, if anything, you ought to be more flattered than annoyed. Still, especially if you live in an apartment building, you also need to do something about it.
What Exactly Is Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
Separation anxiety is a very common problem in pet dogs, especially in highly intelligent and social breeds like the dachshund. These are qualities we typically seek in pets, but the separation anxiety problem has to be dealt with.
A lot of people wrongly assume that separation anxiety in dogs is just a quirk or the result of too much pampering. Many think that dogs with anxiety are just “soft” and need to be taught to be stronger and more independent. This has nothing to do with it, however.
We can view guard dog breeds that don’t suffer from separation anxiety as “stronger and more independent” but the more accurate angle is that most pet breeds are just packing animals and want your presence as they worry about you. This isn’t weakness, it’s a perfectly justified instinct.
And when this instinct isn’t satisfied and you’re out of the house for too long, the anxiety kicks in. Anxiety is the right term too – as in the medical term. This isn’t just boredom and restlessness – those are symptoms of anxiety. Instead, it’s such a pervasive psychological problem that, if left unaddressed, it can quickly spiral into not just barking and whining but also disobedience, destructive behavior, and outright depression.
Do Dachshunds Bark More Than Other Dogs Due To Separation Anxiety?
If you’re thinking of getting a Doxie, it’s logical to wonder do dachshunds have separation anxiety more often than other breeds? The quick answer is that dachshunds are on par with other breeds that are prone to separation anxiety, such as Labrador Retrievers, poodles, pugs, and most non-guard dogs.
So, yes, Doxies are pretty significantly affected by separation anxiety. However, if that’s your main criterion, whether or not you want to get a specific dog breed, you should keep in mind that such a criterion will disqualify some 80-90% of the more popular pet dog breeds.
What Other Problems Does Separation Anxiety Lead To?
Barking is far from the only issue caused by separation anxiety although it’s usually one of the most noticeable ones if you live in an apartment. Some other associated “symptoms” include:
- Destructive tendencies (especially toward furniture)
- Escape attempts
- Digging in plant pots
- Urination and defecation
Unfortunately, people often ignore separation anxiety until the neighbors start complaining or the couch gets it. However, it’s much better if you notice the earlier symptoms, such as restlessness and disobedience, and act quickly.
How To Deal With Dachshund Separation Anxiety Barking?
Separation anxiety and the barking it often leads to can be quite difficult to deal with. Still, they are not an impossible problem. What makes them tricky is that there’s no one solution that works for every dog. What helps some is 100% ineffective for others and vice versa. That’s why you’ll also notice a lot of controversies online over some solutions such as music, scents, a second dog, and so on.
The end result is that dealing with separation anxiety is often a journey rather than a quick fix. You may need to try a few things and be patient about each of them. So, let’s start with what works most of the time (still – not always) and then move on to some obscure solutions that occasionally work too.
What Usually Works?
The main tips you’ll see us and others recommend include:
- Get a baby cam to see exactly what your dog does when you’re away.
- Talk with your vet about some calming medication.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise and attention in the morning – a tired dog is a calm dog.
- Don’t make a big deal of your return home – your dog must understand that it’s not a “miracle” you’re back.
- Arrange your schedule with other family members so that there’s (almost) always someone home.
- Get a dog walker or a dog sitter.
- Arrange for playdates with other dog owners.
- Go to doggy daycare.
- Take your dog with you.
- Leave some dirty clothes around – dogs love snuggling with clothes when they have your scent.
What Works Occasionally?
There are a few “fixes” that some people swear by and others claim never work. In reality, they work, just not as often as the methods above. But, if you’re in a bind, you can also try these:
- Noises – if you often listen to the radio or watch TV when you’re at home, it can help calm your dog if you leave them on while you’re away too.
- A second dog – this won’t always work because your dog will still be attached to you and miss you. However, sometimes a second pet is enough to distract and re-focus your pet while you’re at work.
- Puzzle/interactive toys – these too can sometimes distract your dog enough while you’re away.
What Doesn’t Work?
Here are a few things many people try but that never ever work:
- Punishment – negative reinforcement is almost always a No-No but it’s especially ineffective for separation anxiety.
- Obedience training – this is great and recommended for every dog but doesn’t help with separation anxiety as the issue here is not a lack of training.
- Crating – again, dog crates are great for a lot of things but forced crating for hours at a time makes separation anxiety worse, not better.
How To Prevent Dachshund Separation Anxiety Barking In The First Place?
The “prevention” methods are the same as the ways to deal with separation anxiety once it occurs. This isn’t a disease, after all, it’s just what happens when our dogs miss us.
Dachshund Separation Anxiety Barking – Is It That Big Of A Deal?
So, why do dachshunds whine when we’re away? Simply put, because they miss us. It’s a perfectly normal and understandable reaction that most social pet breeds exhibit. This isn’t a reason not to get a dachshund, but it does mean you need to be ready to prevent such anxiety episodes.