Boston Terriers are social dogs. They sometimes have terrible separation anxiety. If you own a Boston, you not only need to understand the symptoms, but also the best techniques you can use to alleviate and to prevent future separation anxiety in your Boston Terrier.
What Is Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
Separation anxiety often looks like bad manners. Barking, chewing, trying to escape, urinating, or pooping in the house while you’re gone or getting anxious when you’re getting ready to leave are all signs that your dog has separation anxiety. It’s usually set off when a dog gets stressed over his owner being gone.
Not only is separation anxiety frustrating for the dog’s owner, but it’s also dangerous for the dog. Boston Terriers, like many breeds, enjoy companionship so you’ll need to be especially sensitive to whether your dog is showing separation anxiety.
What Triggers Separation Anxiety?
There are different reasons why your Boston Terrier might be experiencing separation anxiety. Some are easier to understand than others. Here’s a list of possible causes:
- Moving to a new house – Moves often trigger separation anxiety in dogs.
- A significant change in the household – If people are moving in or out of your home, or there’s a new baby who is getting a lot of attention, your dog might show anxiety.
- Change in routine – Boston’s are smart. When their routine changes, it affects them emotionally.
- New owner – Of course, all dogs have emotional anxiety when they lose an owner or get a new owner. Boston’s get very attached to their owners, so a change like this can cause high stress.
- Loss of a companion dog – Dogs become attached to their doggie friends that live with them. If one of your dogs dies or leaves, your Boston will be affected, sometimes enough to have separation anxiety.
- Long separation due to job or vacation – Long absences from an owner can trigger separation anxiety in a dog.
What Does Separation Anxiety Look Like Before You Leave Home?
Separation anxiety actually begins prior to you leaving your dog alone. Boston Terrier owners sometimes miss their dog’s distress signals. Here are some anxiety symptoms your dog might display before you leave:
- Your dog gets agitated when you’re getting dressed to go away
- He acts depressed and mopes around the house
- He gets in front of the door when you try to leave the house
- When you walk out the door, you’ll hear him start to bark or howl
- Your dog will follow you around house whining when you’re getting ready
- Some dogs get aggressive towards their owners when they’re preparing to leave
- When you come home, your dog acts like he hasn’t seen you in weeks
What Does Separation Anxiety Look Like When You Return Home?
Of course, you’ll know your Boston really has separation anxiety when you come home to a mess in your home. Here’s what separation anxiety might look like when you return home:
- Escaped from his cage
- Chewed furniture, pillows or shoes
- Scratched windows or doors
- Urinated or pooped on floor or rugs
- Barking or howling(you won’t know this until a neighbor complains to you)
- Self harm-Incessant licking or chewing on tail, legs or feet (this is usually an extreme situation)
- Over-excitement which lasts a long time when you return home
How Do You Alleviate and Prevent Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety can be overwhelming for a dog owner. It is possible to overcome with a plan and consistency on your part. Here are practical suggestions to overcome and prevent your dog’s separation anxiety.
- Encourage your dog’s independence – Act nonchalant when you come and go from the house. Don’t hug or kiss your Boston or baby talk him, this stirs up his anxiety. Acting calm and not overly interested will actually give your dog emotional independence and less reliance on you for emotional support.
- Hire a dog walker – Hire a responsible college student or older person to walk your dog once or twice daily. It’s good for your dog to have other people in his life and the walk will help him have less anxiety while you’re gone.
- Special toys – Lay out some unique toys or chewing bones only when you leave. Your dog will look forward to you being gone! Be sure to put them away when you return home no matter how much your dog likes them.
- Leave the television on – this is what I personally do when my wife and I leave Bella alone, and I think it works.
- Adaptil diffuser – Many Boston Terrier owners say this plugin diffuser alleviates their dog’s separation anxiety. The diffuser releases a man-made hormone scent that mimics the smell a mother dog gives off to her pups. It’s odorless to humans, but dogs are calmed by the scent. There are also adaptive collars available.
What Not To Do When Your Boston Terrier Has Separation Anxiety
Here is a list of things you should never do if your Boston displays separation anxiety.
- Don’t get angry at your dog – Your dog doesn’t understand why you’re mad. Be calm.
- Don’t hit your dog – Your dog doesn’t understand that he’s destroyed your favorite sofa. He’s just happy to see you home. Hitting him will make him afraid of you, not more independent.
- Don’t punish with separation – This will lead to more separation anxiety and perhaps more destructive behavior.
What Other Things Can You Do?
- Walk your dog more – A tired Boston is usually a happy, healthy dog. Increase the walking time for your Boston.
- Play with your Boston – Create a daily play routine with your dog.
- Dog park – Take your Boston to a dog park so he can socialize with other dogs.
Boston Terriers are social dogs. They are easily affected by significant changes in their lives or the lives of their owners. If you suspect your Boston has separation anxiety, figure out what’s triggered it, then take some actions. Some of the things that alleviate and or prevent separation anxiety depend upon you changing the way you relate to your Boston.
Of course, there are some things you should never do if your dog is easily anxious, like hitting or punishing him.
Last, of all, add some fun things into your dog’s life to help him be less distressed when you’re gone.
Does your Boston suffer from separation anxiety? What do you do to help calm your Boston? Please leave a comment below.