Yorkie Separation Anxiety

seperation_anxietySeparation anxiety in dogs is a common problem, and Yorkies are no exception.  Anxiety caused by separation can manifest itself in many ways in your Yorkie.  In a mild case your dog may bark when you leave the house for a short period of time.  In severe cases your Yorkie may bark incessantly for hours while you’re gone, chew your things up, mess on the floor and just destroy your house.

The Sources of Yorkie Separation Anxiety

Yorkies are pack animals. Therefore, they feel an attachment to you as part of their pack and when you leave them they may grow agitated. Most of the anxiety your Yorkie feels, however, may be due to the actions you take prior to your leaving them alone. While your Yorkie does not like when you leave, there is no direct reason he should grow so agitated.

Your Yorkie’s anxiety happens because you give them attention before and after you leave and because you go through the same routine every morning. This causes their behavior to be reinforced on a daily basis and the result is a dog that cannot control his anxious feelings when you leave the house.

Reducing Yorkie Separation Anxiety

There are many ways to reduce the anxiety your Yorkie feels when you leave the house. Here are a few of the easiest methods.

Change Your Routine – Start by changing your morning routine. If your Yorkie starts acting strange the second your alarm clock goes off, he is probably associating the sound with the process of you leaving the house. To reduce his anxiety, try getting up at different times, mix up your routine, get dressed before you eat one day then after the next, take your keys down before you leave and wait for a while. Little variations will reduce pre-leaving anxiety.

Don’t Reinforce It – When you pet your Yorkie before you leave or shower them with attention when you get home, you’re only reinforcing the behavior. The easiest way to reduce your Yorkie’s separation anxiety is to remove the association between you’re comings and goings and his getting attention. Ignore your Yorkie for 10-15 minutes when you get home, don’t pet him when you leave and don’t give in when he make sad noises. This can be accomplished through the use of a crate or even by putting him in a separate room and then leaving and coming back in intervals.

Building Up to Longer Times – If your Yorkie grows anxious the second you walk out the door, start working on leaving the house for shorter periods of time. Leave for a few seconds and then come back. Separation anxiety can be treated by changing your Yorkie’s expectations of how long you’ll be gone and when you’ll return. If he sees you are coming back each time, you can stretch out how long you are able to leave each time.

You’re Not Being Mean

Many people feel that the solutions to anxiety are cruel and have a hard time implementing them. In reality, you are helping your Yorkie to relax and know that you are not only coming home but that you are in charge of the domain and there is no reason for them to feel that anxiety. Reducing your Yorkie’s separation anxiety is good for their health – both physical and mental.

If your Yorkie has prolonged, severe anxiety problems, it is important to address the issue right away. Even if your Yorkie merely gets upset and doesn’t destroy anything when you leave, you can greatly reduce his feelings of abandonment if you teach him not to associate your comings and goings with the pack order and their survival.