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Expert Training for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

Understanding Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety is a common behavioural issue in dogs, affecting their mental and emotional well-being. It manifests as an intense fear or anxiety when the dog is separated from their owner or left alone.


This can lead to destructive behaviours, excessive barking, and even self-harm in more severe cases. In this post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and effective training methods for dogs with separation anxiety, ensuring they can be calm and happy when left alone.

Fluffy Pet

Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for why a dog develops separation anxiety. However, there are some factors that may contribute to this condition. These include:


  • Early Life Experiences: Dogs that were not properly socialised as puppies or that experienced trauma, such as sudden abandonment, are more likely to develop separation anxiety later in life.

  • Changes in Environment or Routine: Significant shifts in a dog's day-to-day life, such as moving to a new home or a change in their owner's work schedule, can trigger separation anxiety.

  • Lack of Stimulation: When a dog is not sufficiently mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day, anxiety and restlessness can build up, increasing the likelihood of separation anxiety.

Recognising the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Identifying the signs of separation anxiety in your dog is the first step towards helping them overcome this issue. Some common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Destructive behaviour, such as chewing on furniture or digging at doors and windows, specifically when left alone

  • Excessive barking, howling or whining when you leave the house

  • Increased pacing or restlessness when they sense you are preparing to leave

  • Panting, drooling or trembling when they are about to be left alone

  • Accidents in the house, despite being successfully house-trained

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it's important to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for an accurate diagnosis and to develop a tailored training plan.

French Bulldog
Puppy Portrait

Effective Techniques for Training Dogs with Separation Anxiety

Addressing separation anxiety in dogs requires a combination of patience, consistency and tailored training techniques. Our trainers at Cwtches Dog specialise in helping dogs overcome separation anxiety through a carefully structured approach:

1. Gradual Desensitisation

One of the most effective methods for training dogs with separation anxiety is gradual desensitisation, which involves slowly increasing the amount of time your dog spends alone. This might start with brief periods of just a few minutes, before gradually working up to longer intervals.

While practising this technique, it's important not to make a big fuss when you leave or return to the house. Instead, try to remain calm and low-key, to prevent your dog from associating your departures and arrivals with heightened emotions.

2. Counter-conditioning

Counter-conditioning is a technique that involves changing a dog's emotional response to being left alone. For dogs with separation anxiety, being alone is often a source of fear and distress. The goal of counter-conditioning is to replace this negative association with a positive one, by rewarding the dog when they are calm and relaxed in your absence.

For example, you might provide your dog with a special treat or toy that they only receive when you are leaving the house. Over time, this can help them to associate your departures with positive feelings and reduced anxiety.

3. Mental and Physical Stimulation

Ensuring that your dog receives plenty of mental and physical exercise is essential for their overall well-being, but it is especially important for dogs with separation anxiety. A well-exercised dog is more likely to be relaxed and settled when left alone.

Incorporate daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys, such as puzzle feeders, into your dog's routine to help alleviate boredom and restless energy. If possible, try to schedule their exercise before you leave for the day, as a tired dog is more likely to settle more easily in your absence.

4. Crate Training

For some dogs, crate training can be a useful tool in managing separation anxiety. When introduced correctly, a crate can provide a safe and secure space for your dog to relax in while you are away. If you choose to use a crate as part of your dog's training, ensure that it is a comfortable and positive environment, and never use it as a punishment or for extended periods of time.

Working with a Professional Dog Trainer or Behaviourist

Each dog's experience with separation anxiety is unique, and their training requirements will differ accordingly. By working with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist, such as those at Cwtches Dog, you can receive personalised guidance and support tailored to your dog's needs.


At Cwtches Dog, we provide expert training for dogs with separation anxiety both in-person for clients in South East London, Bromley, and Kent, and online for clients everywhere. Our professional trainers will work closely with you to develop an effective training plan that addresses the specific challenges your dog faces and helps them to overcome their anxiety.

To learn more about our specialised training services for dogs with separation anxiety and to book a consultation, please visit Cwtches Dog Separation Anxiety Training or contact us today.

Holding Paw
Dog giving a high five
  • What is separation anxiety in dogs?
    Separation anxiety in dogs is a distressing condition where a dog exhibits extreme distress and behaviour problems when they're left alone.
  • How can Cwtches Dog help with my dog's separation anxiety?
    Cwtches Dog provides specialised training programs for dogs with separation anxiety, tailored to your dog's specific needs and circumstances.
  • Do you offer online training for dogs with separation anxiety?
    Yes, we offer online training for dogs with separation anxiety, allowing us to help clients everywhere.
  • What does separation anxiety dog training involve?
    Separation anxiety dog training involves various techniques to help your dog feel more comfortable when left alone, including gradual desensitisation to being alone.
  • How long does it take to train a dog with separation anxiety?
    The length of training can vary depending on the severity of the dog's anxiety. It's a gradual process and requires patience and consistency.
  • Can separation anxiety in dogs be cured?
    While there's no instant cure for separation anxiety in dogs, with consistent training and patience, the condition can be managed effectively.
  • What are the signs of separation anxiety in dogs?
    Signs of separation anxiety in dogs include excessive barking or howling, destructive behaviour, and attempts to escape when left alone.
  • Can any dog breed suffer from separation anxiety?
    Yes, any dog breed can suffer from separation anxiety. It's not breed-specific and can affect any dog, regardless of their breed or age.
  • What causes separation anxiety in dogs?
    Separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by various factors, including changes in routine, moving to a new home, or the loss of a family member or another pet.
  • How can I prevent separation anxiety in my dog?
    Preventing separation anxiety involves gradually getting your dog used to being alone, providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation, and avoiding overly emotional departures and arrivals.
  • Who is the best dog trainer in London?
    Cwtches Dog Training is among the best dog trainers in London, specialising in behaviour and separation anxiety.
  • What services does a dog behaviourist in London offer?
    A dog behaviourist in London, like Cwtches Dog Training, offers services to help with behaviour issues, including separation anxiety.
  • Where can I find dog training classes in London?
    Cwtches Dog Training offers comprehensive dog training classes in London.
  • Who offers puppy training in London?
    Cwtches Dog Training offers puppy training in London, helping your new pet adjust to its new home.
  • What is the role of a dog behaviourist in London?
    A dog behaviourist in London, like Cwtches Dog Training, helps address and correct behavioural issues in dogs.
  • Where can I find a dog trainer in London?
    You can find a professional dog trainer in London at Cwtches Dog Training.
  • Who are the top dog trainers in London?
    Cwtches Dog Training is among the top dog trainers in London, offering both in-person and online services.
  • What does dog training in London involve?
    Dog training in London with Cwtches Dog Training involves personalised training plans to address your dog's specific needs.
  • Who is a reliable London dog behaviourist?
    Cwtches Dog Training is a reliable London dog behaviourist, specialising in behaviour and separation anxiety.
  • Where can I get puppy training in London?
    Cwtches Dog Training offers comprehensive puppy training in London.
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