German Shepherds are extraordinary dogs – I cannot think of a duty that a GSD would not be good at. Still, owning this dog might also mean dealing with certain behavior problems.
German Shepherd separation anxiety might be one of the most common problems GSD owners might deal with.
When they are left on their own, many dog breeds will become sad, anxious, or even depressed. This can make life hard for dog owners.
Although any dog should not be left alone for too long, we all sure hope that our adult dogs will be able to be okay for a couple of hours without our presence.
A German Shepherd is among those breeds that might not take so well being left on their own devices.
However, there is always something we can do. Let’s learn more about this type of anxiety in our favorite versatile dogs.
Is German Shepherd Separation Anxiety Common?
German Shepherds are one of those dogs that might easily develop separation anxiety.
These dogs are one of the most loved and popular family dogs out there, and they adore being around their people. Any child growing up with a German Shepherd on its side will confirm you this is one of the best guard dogs for your home and your family.
Being such a good guard dog, a German Shepherd always wants to take care of its family. If its family members are away – this dog has nobody to take care of, which makes it sad.
Furthermore, these dogs’ owners are its favorite company, so not seeing them for a part of a day can make many of these dogs feel anxious.
This can even develop into a serious behavioral problem, once you see your dog is still acting in the same way it used to act when you first started leaving it home alone.
We all like to know our furry friends love us and our company, but seeing a dog suffering this much for you not being there might significantly complicate your daily life.
How To Recognize Separation Anxiety In Your GSD?
You can expect all dogs to probably react negatively once you start leaving them home alone. However, this shall soon pass – once your dog realizes you still get back home everyday.
Still, some dogs will not understand this and will continue to misbehave and feel anxious every day you leave the house.
Your GSD might also scratch the door after you leave the house and close it. Once you return home, you might even find your dog showing its anxiety by chewing and destroying furniture.
Furthermore, although your dog is a potty-trained, adult dog, it might poop or pee in the house.
Knowing their dog acts like this when they are away might make many dog owners miserable and get them even thinking of finding another place for their German Shepherd.
How To Help Your GSD With Separation Anxiety?
The ideal thing would be to teach your dog to be left alone from its young age. All puppies learn the best when they are young.
However, many dog owners will have to deal with separation anxiety in their adult dogs. This might be harder, but you should not give up.
There are still ways to correct this behavior and to make your German Shepherd feel safe even when you are not home.
1. Distract Your Dog While You Are Leaving The House
Before you are about to leave the house, you should figure out the way to distract your German Shepherd. My advice is to give the dog its favorite toy – that one that it can play for hours without getting bored!
Once your dog is entertained, you can quietly leave the house. Remember that you should always leave the house without notice and you should never make a big deal about your leaving.
If you hint every time that you will leave the house and say goodbye to your German Shepherd, he will take this act as very serious. That’s why many dogs are afraid that their owners have left them and are not coming back.
Simply quietly take the keys, get dressed, and slowly go out while your dog has fun with his favorite toy.
2. Tire Your Dog Out
German Shepherds are highly active dogs who need plenty of exercise on a daily basis. These dogs will usually need about 2 hours of daily exercise.
Lack of exercise might be one of the causes of separation anxiety in your German Shepherd. So, if you have not taken this dog for a walk this morning, and the dog has not exercised in any way, there is a bigger chance your GSD will show separation anxiety signs.
Not only do these dogs need physical exercise; they also need to exercise their brains. One of the best ways to prevent separation anxiety in your GSD is to tire out this dog before you leave the house.
You might have to adjust your schedule a bit, but you should exercise your German Shepherd early in the morning. Taking this dog out for a walk or giving it some interactive toy is a great way to keep your dog busy, and to tire it out.
This way, you will be more peaceful knowing your dog got its first morning exercise. Once you get back home, it will be ready for round number two!
3. Leave The Music On
Sometimes music can be so healing, especially when you are feeling low. Well, music can also be helpful for our canine companions.
Did you know you can use music to calm your anxious dog? You should just leave your radio or TV on, playing some nice, calming music.
This type of music will relax your dog and will make it feel less alone while you are away. Also, music will prevent your GSD from hearing all noises from outside that might also cause anxiety in it.
4. Crate Training
Crate training is also an essential step in helping your German Shepherd deal with separation anxiety.
Your dog’s crate should be its comfy and warm place to snuggle in. You should also put a pillow, blanket, and your dog’s favorite toy in it. This way, the crate will be your dog’s little home.
A dog that is happy in its safe place will be less anxious for not having its owners on its side all the time.
Crate training will probably not be so easy at the beginning – you might hate hearing your puppy crying at night in its crate.
But, good things take time, so, we suggest you not to give up, especially since German Shepherds are such intelligent dogs that can be trained to do almost any task.
5. Professional Help
Luckily, we are not alone today – we get to have some professional help once we have to deal with certain difficult situations with our pets.
If you are away for 8 hours or more on a daily basis, and nobody of your family and friends are not able to stop by and check on your German Shepherd, you can hire a pet walker.
This way, your GSD will have some socialization and will get exercise even when you are away.
Also, you can consider taking your German Shepherd to a doggie daycare. This is a perfect place for a dog to spend some time with its fellow dogs.
Dealing with German Shepherd separation anxiety might be quite challenging. Is it hard seeing our dogs barking, whining, showing destructive behavior, and looking at us with those sad eyes every time we are about to leave the house.
Every dog owner wants to do his best to see his dog happy. Separation anxiety should be taken seriously. Luckily, there are still things each of us can do to ease separation anxiety symptoms in our German Shepherds.
We hope this article was helpful for you, and that you have found the perfect way to help your anxious GSD.
Make sure your dog understands that, at the end of the day – you will always be getting back to him!