Yorkshire Terrier Separation Anxiety
I have been listening all around me how important emotional health is. How important is to talk about your feelings and feel as you feel, to not deny them. That suits people. Because they can talk and most often they are aware of their feelings. But whether an animal has a voice or not, whether he has a soul or he won’t go to heaven after all, in any case he has feelings too. And it makes him vulnerable. I have a Yorkie which indeed is sensitive – whether he has separation anxiety or not, it is hard for him to be apart for a long time. And I was always bugged by the question whether my dog is sensitive because of his personality, all dogs are like that or particularly this breed tends to be such.
Yorkie separation anxiety is the tendency of the dogs of this breed to feel extremely stressed when their owners leave them. It is a tendency more likely to be seen in this breed. Then Yorkie might show destructive and disruptive behavior. If this happens, the owners should be worried about their pets’ mental health and general well-being.
The behavior which my dog shows when me and my family members leave him alone clearly shows separation anxiety symptoms. My dog just lays on the couch and doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t eat, drink or leave the couch. For this reason I can’t leave my dog alone for a long period of time. You can also read one of my posts on how long can a yorkie stay home alone? There are some other signs that your Yorkie is feeling a separation anxiety. I will present them in this article. Also I will give some information how you could help the dog and give you a general understanding what else to expect from Yorkie.
What is Yorkie separation anxiety and how to notice it?
Probably all of us have our loved ones. And once they leave, we feel our heart breaking. Now imagine the thinking of a dog. He doesn’t have a sense of time, he doesn’t imagine things or predict them, he lives in the present. And he experiences each feeling as strong as it is in the moment. So when his loved ones leave, he can’t console himself that this shall pass or the loved ones will come back soon. The only thing he knows is that the one he loves is leaving.
Moreover, the behavior of the dog is influenced by his nature. Dogs are made to live in packs and there is an attachment to the members of his pack. The owner is perceived as both the leader of the pack and a member so he is extremely important to the dog. I guess we can call it a family bond. No wonder it is something unnatural for the dog to be left alone. A sense of being together is in his nature. If you show affection to your dog before you leave the house or right after you come back, then his anxiety might increase.
As I told you, my dog usually starts barking a lot. And this is the most common sign that your dog is experiencing a separation anxiety. In itself it is nothing to worry about much. However, it can be a start of more serious or annoying problems like growing aggression or excessive barking.
Other signs of separation anxiety might be trying to escape, chewing, howling, digging, defecating, urinating, excessive drooling, pacing, excessive licking, whining. It can seem as signs of bad manners but if you see the dog feeling stressed and it comes when you are leaving the house, it means the dog experiences separation anxiety.
This condition might appear at any age but usually it starts at young age and persists if no actions are taken. Some dogs start feeling anxious after some time when the owners leave and others, more sensitive, expresses it already after half an hour. Sometimes when the dog anticipates that the owner is leaving, he starts showing such signs as pacing, whining or general nervousness.
Even when the owner comes back, the dog might show some out of the ordinary behavior, such as excitement urination, a rapid release of pent up energy and emotions, become clingy and even show some signs of depression.
How to help your dog?
However, no matter how much we love our dogs, we can’t stay with them all the time. Most of us need to go to work, to the gym, to go out, visit friends and have more life than we have at home. And that is when the dogs must be left alone.
Despite of that, all the problems have solutions. So does this one. The actions you can take to decrease your dog’s anxiety are training and setting a proper environment.
Environment. First of all, don’t leave your dog bored. Give him toys to play with and enough space for that. The best way is to experiment with different places and see what your dog likes the best. What might seem not important but in fact is important about the environment is to leave the light on for your dog not to feel isolated even more. You can leave the radio on the TV on, too, because of the same reason.
Equipment. Next to the toys, there are other things good to leave for the dog. Water and food, it goes without saying. A canine bed, pee-pads (after you train the dog how to use them), company toy. It is important to leave him occupied.
Behavior. Another good tip how to calm your dog down, besides preparing the environment, is to change your routine. Just show your dog that all your actions which you usually make while leaving the house, are made not necessarily when you leave your house. So keep changing the steps you take when you go out and make them when you stay at home. It must be done constantly that your dog wouldn’t be stressed by your daily routine when you leave the house.
Before you leave. There are some tricks you can do before you go. For example, pick an area for your dog to play and relax before you leave. There can be some treats or toys. Keep him prepared mentally. Or play with your pet, take him for a walk. Because dogs after physical activities when they release their energy feel calmer. Don’t show affection just before you leave and don’t make the dog even more nervous by scolding at him for his anxious behavior – this is something he can’t control.
After you come back. Don’t show too much of emotions right after you come back. Act casually and just after several minutes say hi to him. The best way to show love and affection to your dog is to take him for a walk that he could release his energy.
What character does Yorkie have?
As I have a Yorkie, I can say that they are wonderful, affectionate, sweet dogs and truly our best friends. Toby might be quite nervous but it is not hard to live with him. Besides the friendliness and affection, Yorkie have some other character qualities.
Yorkie give their attention but also they want back quite a lot too. Maybe that is the reason why they are ones of those dogs who suffer more from separation anxiety. They are truly energetic and like to play which makes them a good company both for adults and for children. However, if they are not treated gently, they might be aggressive toward other children. Often they might be in a conflict with other small dogs, too, but it is not a rule. Yorkie can live with other dogs and even cats. Despite that, they still stay feisty and domineering dogs. They bark a lot and maybe that is why they are such good watchdogs. However, if you are not content about that, you can always train them. Yorkie might be quite stubborn, though.
The quality which is so obvious but I didn’t mention it because it’s not of the character, is the size of Yorkie. I never wanted a big dog because I imagined that it is hard to deal with big dogs. And a Yorkie is always easy to take for a walk or bath or even play with, they will never do any big damage. I am happy I picked Yorkie to be my pet.
One thing that I have learned while having a dog is not just to love and take care of him. It is also listening. Listening is one of the main features we need as humans and we even need it for dogs. Also it is good to have some background about the character of your dog in order to be able to understand him better. I hope this article gave you the information you needed to understand better your Yorkie.