In short, yes. Your dachshund can get separation anxiety. In fact, like most puppies, dachshunds are prone to separation anxiety as they’re pack animals and don’t like being alone for too long. Without training, dachshunds can develop mild to severe anxiety.
Reasons for Separation Anxiety
Dogs can develop separation anxiety for many reasons, especially if there’s a dramatic change in their life. Here are some situations that might lead your dog to develop separation anxiety:
- Change in Ownership
Dachshunds that have grown up with a single-family from puppyhood are less likely to develop anxiety than one that’s been abandoned or given to an adoption center. A new owner might cause separation anxiety to develop in the dog.
- Change in Schedule
A sudden change in your daily schedule can also cause the development of separation anxiety in your dog. For example, if a new job requires longer hours or a switch from a morning to a night shift, it can make your dog anxious.
- Change in Residence
This could be moving to a new location, an absence of a family member, or having a new household member.
Common Signs of Separation Anxiety
It may be hard to tell if your dachshund has separation anxiety, so here are a few common symptoms and telltale signs that your dog has separation anxiety:
- Urinating and/or Defecating
When left alone or separated from their owners, some dachshunds will urinate or defecate. It’s important to note that urinating and defecating could also be signs of submissiveness, excitement, incomplete house training, or territory marking.
Usually, if they do this while the owner is present then it is not a sign of separation anxiety.
- Barking and/or Howling
A dachshund with separation anxiety might howl or bark when separated or left alone. Unlike barking that’s triggered by unfamiliar sights or sounds, howling or barking due to separation anxiety is usually persistent and triggered by being left alone.
- Destructive Chewing or Digging
Some dachshunds with separation anxiety will chew on furniture, door frames, wall corners, etc.; they might also dig at doors and doorways. If separation anxiety causes this behavior, then it’ll usually occur when the dog is separated or left alone.
It’s important to start training your dachshund as these behaviors can be harmful to your dog and lead to injury. Watch out for any injuries on your pet’s nose, teeth, or paws.
If a dachshund has separation anxiety, they might try to escape from their cage or a room/area where they’re confined when left alone. Escaping is usually associated with destructive chewing or digging.
Some dachshunds might pace back and forth or in a specific pattern when left alone or separated from their guardians. As this occurs when the owner is gone, it’s a hard sign to look out for unless you record and monitor your dog when you’re not home.
Coprophagia is the act of consuming feces. When left alone or separated, some dachshunds might defecate and then eat their excrement. Again, if the cause is separation anxiety, it will occur when the owner isn’t at home.
Since most of these signs occur when the owner is gone, it’s also important to look out for these signs before leaving your dachshund:
- Trying to stop or block the owner from leaving
- Getting worked up or clingy
How to Ease Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety
Most dachshunds will need training so that they feel comfortable and relaxed when they’re left alone.
If your dachshund has mild symptoms, you can easily help ease your pet with distractions, preparation, and/or conditioning. Generally, you can help your dachshund associate being alone with something good such as a toy or treat.
For example, before you leave the house, you can give your pet a puzzle or toy filled with treats that will take him a while to finish. Once you return home, make sure to put these special items away so that the dogs start associating them with when you’re gone!
If your dachshund has severe anxiety, then the above tricks won’t help.
Training a pet with severe anxiety will take a lot of patience and time. It’s important to take things slowly and get your pet accustomed to short periods of separation before leaving them alone for longer durations.
A basic guideline of the steps are written below:
- Firstly, check and see if your dog gets anxious when you get ready to leave. If your pet shows signs of anxiety when you get ready to leave, then try to disassociate your departure cues with leaving. For example, put on your shoes and then sit down or go to the front door and then come back. This should happen multiple times a day and could take weeks before your dog stops showing signs of anxiety.
- If your dog doesn’t show anxiousness when you’re getting ready to leave, then you can start with short absences. Start by making your dachshund stay in a separate room while you move out of sight for a few seconds. Gradually increase how long you stay out of sight to a few minutes. Once your dog seems more comfortable, you can practice with the back door and later the front door. Between each training make sure you let your dog rest and get comfortable again. Moreover, during this training, you can condition your pet by giving them a special treat or toy.
- Gradually, your dog should be able to handle separation for longer durations. Once they can handle about 90 minutes of separation, this is a good sign that they can probably start handling a few hours.
When you come and go from your house, always keep in mind that having a calm manner and greeting your pet calmly will teach them that your departure and arrival aren’t a big deal. By doing so, they won’t get too riled up.
This type of conditioning could take weeks or months. It’s also important to note that this training could be quite complex and tricky because if you do it wrong it could backfire. Make sure you pay special attention to your dachshund’s reaction and don’t be afraid to get help from a certified behaviorist.