Rottweiler separation anxiety is a natural outcome of the dog’s fierce loyalty. The dog often becomes hyper-attached to his owner and is more likely to exhibit behavioral problems when separated from him. One in every three dogs suffers from separation anxiety when left alone, and younger Rotties are more likely to have it.
What is Rottweiler Separation Anxiety
A Rottie remains unconditionally faithful to anyone he has accepted as his master. He loves to stay close to the person and always likes to have his attention. Often the attachment is so strong that it becomes impossible for the dog to stay away from his owner. He may feel abandoned. Unable to cope with the physical and emotional absence of the person, the dog starts to experience psychological distress. He turns upset as he misses the presence of his owner and shows symptoms of anxiety.
The problem strikes your dog even you are away from him for a few hours. Rottweiler separation anxiety may be apparent in different forms. The dog may start scratching doors, chewing furniture, or exhibiting destructive behavior. The dog may also turn aggressive with visible hyperactivity and depression. There may also be an abnormality in his vocalization, elimination, appetite, and greetings.
The health of Rotties may worsen due to separation anxiety, as they do not readily accept human or canine companions. With their muscular body and strength, anxious Rottweilers can cause significant damage to your property.
Factors Contributing to Rottweiler Separation Anxiety
Living alone or away from you is the foremost cause of Rottweiler separation anxiety symptoms. However, it is not limited to your physical absence. Emotional detachment, negligence, and forcing the dog to live in a new setting may cause anxiety in him. Each of your actions or inactions that the dog is likely to visualize as a lack of attention may lead to Rottweiler separation anxiety symptoms.
Here are a few other factors that may directly or indirectly trigger Rottweiler separation anxiety apart from your physical and emotional absence.
- Transfer to a New Setting: Be it a new house or a new family or a new ambiance, your Rottie is likely to remain anxious when you are not with him. In an unfamiliar setting, he may be worried about your safety. His inability to adjust only adds to the anxiety symptoms.
- Sudden Leaving: If your dog sees you going out suddenly, he may stay anxious until you return. Even many dogs develop pre-departure anxiety, seeing their masters preparing for departure.
- Schedule Change: A change in the routine causes the Rottweiler to become anxious, thinking you may not be with him. If the dog is accustomed to seeing you leaving for office in the morning and returning home in the evening, he may suffer from anxiety if you are absent until late night.
- Change in the Family: If a family member moves out or a new baby comes into the family, your Rottie is likely to remain anxious, as these dogs need time to accept a new family member or recover from the absence of older ones.
Rottweiler Separation Anxiety Signs
Here are important symptoms to help you diagnose separation anxiety in your dog.
- Sudden behavioral changes occur over a few days
- Negative emotions that were not apparent earlier
- Stress signs
- Obsessive behavior, panic, and tail tucking
- Chewing behavior
- Destructive behavior
- Confused or no greeting
- Reduced activity or hyperactivity
- Changes in vocalization, elimination, appetite
- Aggression becomes more visible
Behavior Modification, Training To Reduce Rottweiler Separation Anxiety
The symptoms may often be similar to those of hyperthyroidism, tumors in the brain, or other health problems. You must visit a vet and get your dog medically examined to rule out any such health issue.
When you are sure of Rottweiler separation anxiety, you can treat it with behavior modification. It involves increasing the dog’s familiarity with your absence and diverting his attention. Make sure your dog develops a fondness for other family members. Leave the TV switched on to signal your dog that you will be at home after a few hours. This will help your Rottie remain assured that you are not leaving him alone, and this reduces his anxiety symptoms.
Certain training techniques, such as conditioning, also helps inhibit Rottweiler separation anxiety symptoms. You may start with a few minutes of separation from your dog. Increase the duration and practice it at different points in time as your dog develops tolerance to your absence. Leave ample cues while leaving that you will return after a while. This will send the right signals to the dog, and he is likely to feel relaxed and calm in your absence.
Having a companion is a good idea to treat separation anxiety in dogs. You may have another dog at home, and this will help reduce separation anxiety of the first one. However, avoid giving anxiety medication unless anxiety becomes too serious, as these drugs may cause adverse effects.
Similarly, you must avoid using a crate to treat separation anxiety in your Rottie. Owners often think that crate helps in limiting the problem to a small area while preventing damage to household items. However, confinement may actually worsen the problem, and a frantic dog may injure himself.
Other Tips To Deal With Rottweiler Separation Anxiety
Adequate daily exercise helps in reducing the chances of separation anxiety. It provides a good mental stimulation for your dog while keeping his emotional state free from stress. Exercise ensures that your dog remains calm, preventing the onset of anxiety symptoms.
Be calm and assertive when your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety. Rottweilers adore confident and self-assured owners. Your Rottie can easily develop a liking for your assertive personality and overcome psychological distress associated with separation.
You may provide toys, wet dog food, or kibble to occupy the dog. When he remains occupied, his attention is diverted, and he may forgo your absence easing the anxiety. You may also create a relaxing home ambiance assuring the dog that it is his own and he is not going to be left alone. Avoid letting your dog know that you are going out leaving him to stay alone for a few hours. Trick him into thinking that you are not away from him.
Let your dog be assured that you will return. Assure the Rottie of your attachment to him.