Labrador Anxiety: How To Deal With Separation
Separation anxiety is a common problem for many dogs, but it can be especially difficult for the Labrador breed.
The Labrador is a very sociable and active dog, which means they love to run around, play with other dogs, and interact with their owner. This makes separation anxiety even more difficult for them.
Separation anxiety can be resolved in the short term by giving the dog more attention. But long term, there are better solutions to deal with and correct the issue.
As a result, many owners turn to medication or behavior modification techniques like desensitization therapy. Depending on the Labradors’ behavior, these solutions may or may not work.
The three best ways to deal with Labrador separation anxiety are increased daily exercise, safe prescribed anxiety medications, and more obedience training.
Increasing Daily Exercise
Labradors are known for being high-energy dogs prone to separation anxiety and other behavioral issues.
This is due to their strong prey drive, which makes them feel more comfortable with a clear view of the world around them. The increased exercise is thought to help reduce stress and separation anxiety.
We recommend daily walks and dedicated playtime, inside or outside, to help with this issue. They have less pent-up energy later in the day, and it reduces their anxiety when their owner is gone.
Using Prescribed Anxiety Medications
We recommend visiting the vet to get prescribed anxiety medications for any Labradors struggling with separation anxiety. This is especially helpful if previous methods have failed.
The two FDA-approved solutions for this condition are fluoxetine and clomipramine. These medications work well to improve Labrador's behavior while reducing separation anxiety.
Obedience training is essential for many reasons, one of which is to help with separation anxiety. When leaving the house, start rewarding the Labrador with a treat, so they start to learn or view their owner’s departure as a positive event.
Another way to improve a dog’s ability to be alone is by using commands. We can teach our dog to sit and stay in a room alone while we walk around the house.
After completing this task, reward the dog with a treat and try again for longer. Gradually increasing the time they spend alone in the room will only improve how they do when they are alone in the house.
This is the best long-term solution to deal with Labrador separation anxiety, but it requires an initial commitment by the owner to go through the training steps.
Signs Of A Labrador Struggling With Separation Anxiety
When a Labrador is struggling with anxiety, it can be caused by separation, grief, or fear of abandonment. Most dog owners find this to be a complex condition to deal with at first.
For anybody unsure of separation anxiety behavior, whining, barking, destructive behavior, accidents in the house, or nervous pacing are all common occurrences.
Whining Or Barking
A common sign of a Labrador struggling with anxiety is a consistent whining noise or regular barking. This is especially true when their owner leaves the house, and they are alone.
Don’t be alarmed by a few barks when walking out the door. But regular and consistent barking while alone in the house typically indicates the dog struggles with separation anxiety.
Labradors are more likely to develop separation anxiety disorder due to their strong loyalty and attachment to humans.
They can get anxious when left alone in the house or yard and may react aggressively or destructively if not given enough attention.
If a Labrador has displayed destructive behavior in the home, like chewing, this is a sign they are struggling with separation anxiety.
Another sign that Labrador struggles with separation anxiety is occasional or frequent accidents when left alone. This is an obvious sign they need more training to help deal with their anxiety issues.
Pacing Around The House Nervously
One thing many Labrador owners notice is their dogs pacing around the house. This is an obvious sign of anxiety and indicates the dog is struggling with separation from its owner or other related anxiety in the home.
What Can Cause Separation Anxiety For Labradors?
Labradors are very social animals and must be around people at all times. They also have a lot of energy, so they can only be left alone for long periods with proper training first.
So owners must know what could cause separation anxiety in a Labrador.
The changes in a dog's environment, like moving homes, can cause them to develop separation anxiety because of a lack of comfort and inability to find their owners.
To avoid the development of separation anxiety in dogs, it is important to make gradual changes in their environment when possible. However, this can be tough sometimes, so simply spending more time to make them feel comfortable is all that's needed.
Sudden and unexpected routine changes can also stir up some anxiety for Labradors. They are extremely routine-oriented, so shifting their eating or exercise schedule can create some anxiety.
As dog's age, they start to develop separation anxiety because of medical conditions. This common issue for older dogs can lead to destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging.
Previous traumas can also cause this. This is why many adopted or rescued animals are more likely to deal with separation anxiety.
Are Labradors More Prone To Separation Anxiety?
Labradors have social tendencies and are often seen as friendly dogs. However, they are also known to be prone to separation anxiety because of their personality.
Labradors have been proven to be more prone to separation anxiety than other breeds of dogs. This is because they were bred as working dogs and used for hunting and herding.
They also have extreme loyalty to their owners, which makes it harder for them to be alone without proper training. However, any breed can develop this condition without exposure to social situations.
This is why it’s recommended to use crate training for Labrador puppies. It allows the dog to learn how to be alone so that they don’t have a separation anxiety issue when they get older.
Can You Prevent Labrador Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs. It can be caused by many factors, such as a lack of socialization, lack of exercise, and the owner's inconsistency.
Consistency in the dog's day-to-day routine is the key to preventing separation anxiety. This includes feeding times, walks, playtime, and other activities we do with our dog.
For anybody struggling with separation anxiety in their dog, there are also many things that can be done to help them feel more comfortable and less anxious during their time apart or alone.
More Socialization Exposure
Separation anxiety is when a dog feels anxious and uncomfortable when left alone. This anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors such as chewing or urinating in the house.
The most common way to avoid separation anxiety is by socializing the dog with other people and dogs. This should be done at an early age so the dog grows up with social skills and trust in others.
Another way to socialize a lab is by allowing them to play with other dogs at a daycare or doggie daycare facility. This is the perfect way to let a young Labrador grow up with excellent social skills.
Crate training helps teach dogs how to be alone in the presence of their owner. It works well for puppies, so they learn proper behaviors.
The crate is small, so the dog doesn't feel threatened by it, giving them a sense of security. This is recommended for young Labradors, so they don’t develop this condition.
Anxiety is a common issue for dogs, and several factors can bring it on. The most common causes are fear, boredom, separation anxiety, and stress.
The best way to reduce anxiety in a dog is through exercise. To help the pet feel calmer later in the day, we recommend increasing their daily exercise to at least 30-60 minutes.
Daily exercise will help reduce anxiety in dogs and make them calmer later in the day. This is even more important for a high-energy breed like the Labrador.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson