German Shepherd Separation Anxiety - GSD Colony

German Shepherd Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition that can cause a great deal of distress for both dog and the owner. German Shepherds with separation anxiety experience a range of symptoms that can make them very anxious and stressed when they’re away from their guardians. These symptoms can include panting, whining, barking, salivating, destruction of property, soiling indoors, and even escape attempts.

Some dogs will become very clingy to their guardians prior to being left alone, while others may act out aggressively. Many dogs will pace or spin around in circles excessively when separated from their guardians.

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available for German Shepherds with separation anxiety. Some common methods include behavior modification techniques, such as gradual separation from the owner, desensitization to various stimuli that may be causing the anxiety (such as car rides), medical treatment, and training using positive reinforcement.

It is important to note that German Shepherds with separation anxiety should not be left alone for extended periods of time, as this can only make the problem worse. By working with a veterinarian and implementing some of the recommended treatment methods, most dogs can overcome their separation anxiety and live happily alongside their owners.

Are German Shepherds known for separation anxiety?

Yes, German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds known to suffer from separation anxiety. If untreated, this condition will result in a series of painful symptoms for your dog including heavy panting, whining, barking, slobbering, destruction of property, and soiling indoors. Your dog may also become agitated and try to escape.

Can German Shepherds have separation anxiety?

Yes, German Shepherds can suffer from separation anxiety. This condition can cause a great deal of distress for both dog and the owner. Symptoms of separation anxiety (also known as separation-related behavior, or SRB) may include whining, barking, scratching at doors or windows, and even urinating or defecating inside the home.

It's essential to remember that humans bred dogs to be social animals. We specifically bred them to live and interact with us, whether for labor or companionship. For example, the German Shepherd was originally bred as a herding dog; they would spend all day and night with their owners, rounding up livestock and protecting it from predators.

Most dog experts agree that German Shepherds need at least one to two hours of dedicated doggy time with their owner per day. This can include feeding, playtime, training, grooming, and exercise spread throughout the day. They also should not spend more than eight continuous hours alone per day.

Walking German Shepherd with separation anxiety

So please, if you don't have enough time for your German Shepherd dog during the day, ask for help.

Find someone who can train, walk or play with him while you're on the job.

Why does my German Shepherd have separation anxiety?

There could be a number of reasons why your German Shepherd has separation anxiety. Some common causes include prior neglect or abuse, having a low threshold for anxiety, being separated from their mother too early, frequent change of routine, strong attachment to the owner, or being rehomed multiple times.

If you think your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, it's important to consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist to get to the root of the problem and begin treatment. By working with your dog and implementing some of the recommended treatment methods, you can help them overcome their separation anxiety and live happily alongside you.

Abuse of German Shepherd dog.

Many German Shepherds develop separation anxiety because of abuse. Dogs that have been neglected or abused may be more prone to developing separation anxiety due to the lack of trust they have in humans. They may also be more prone to developing other behavior issues as a result of the abuse.

If you believe your German Shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety as a result of being abused, it is important to consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist to get to the root of the problem and begin treatment. By working with your dog and implementing some of the recommended treatment methods, you can help them overcome their separation anxiety and live happily alongside you.

Separating a German Shepherd puppy too early from a mother.

One possible reason a German Shepherd may develop separation anxiety is if they were separated from their mother too early. Puppies that are taken away from their mother before eight weeks of age may be more prone to developing separation anxiety later in life. This is because, during the first eight weeks of life, puppies learn important social skills from their mother that help them to grow into well-adjusted dogs.

German Shepherd puppies with separation anxiety

Rehoming a German Shepherd dog.

Rehoming a German Shepherd can be stressful for the dog and may lead to them developing separation anxiety. Dogs that have been rehomed multiple times are more prone to developing separation anxiety than those that have only been rehomed once. This is because every time a dog is rehomed, they lose a bit of its trust in humans. This can lead to them feeling anxious and stressed when separated from their owner.

German Shepherds are an extremely loyal dog breed, and if you plan to get a German Shepherd dog, think twice. In order to keep their mental and physical health at the top level, you need to invest a decent amount of your time in your dog.

Frequent changes in routine may cause separation anxiety in German Shepherds.

If you frequently change your dog's routine, it may develop separation anxiety. This is because when a dog's routine is changed, it can be difficult for them to adjust and can cause them to feel anxious and stressed. This is especially true for German Shepherds, who thrive on a consistent routine.

If you frequently change your dog's routine, it is important to try and keep their daily schedule as consistent as possible. This will help to minimize their anxiety and stress levels. You may also want to consider consulting with a behaviorist to help create a more stable routine for your dog.

Separation anxiety because of a strong attachment to the owner.

If your German Shepherd dog spends a lot of time with you, the possibility of developing separation anxiety will be much higher. Your GSD has to become used to being alone. This doesn't mean that you should leave your dog the whole day alone. Instead, try to set some boundaries and create a daily routine for you and your dog.

German Shepherd with dog owner

Symptoms of separation anxiety in German Shepherds

If your German Shepherd barks or whines when you leave if it paces around the house or yard, if it urinates or defecates inside the house, or if it becomes destructive when left alone, the causes of this behavior may be because of separation anxiety.

The most common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs are:

  • Whining or barking when the owner is preparing to leave
  • Pacing around the house or yard
  • Urinating or defecating inside the house
  • Excessive salivation
  • Chewing on furniture, door frames, or other objects in the home
  • Becoming destructive when left alone
  • Hiding due to high depression 
  • Aggressive behavior such as growling or biting
  • In extreme cases, self-mutilation or even suicide attempts

In extreme cases, your German Shepherd will maybe not be interested in any of its favorite activities, such as chasing, running, playing tug of war, or fetch. Whatever activity it is. You also may notice that your dog skips his meals and don't eat his favorite treats.

Also, in really rare cases, if your German Shepherd develops a high level of separation anxiety and you don't react on the time, this can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Some other diseases that your GSD can develop due to separation anxiety are digestive problems, anorexia, stomach ulcers, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Steps to stop separation anxiety in German Shepherds

Thankfully, German Shepherds are highly intelligent and extremely loyal dogs. If you invest a proper amount of time into training and show your dog how much you enjoy its company, your dog can recover faster than you think.

If you want to cure your German Shepherd dog from separation anxiety, you can start with If you want to cure your German Shepherd dog from separation anxiety, you can start with obedience training, creating a daily routine and sticking to it, exercising enough with your dog, playing with highly interactive toys, crate training, and using medications and natural supplements.

1. Start with obedience training.

One of the best ways to help prevent your German Shepherd from developing separation anxiety is to start obedience training as early as possible. This will help to create a strong bond between you and your dog and will teach them that you are in charge. This will make them less likely to become anxious and stressed when left alone.

If your German Shepherd dog has more than 8 weeks, then you can start training him. You can start with some basic commands, such as sit, place, speak, come, leave it, etc.

Obedience training with German Shepherd

You can train with your German Shepherd dog 3 times per day, in sessions of 5-10 minutes.

2. Establish a daily routine for you and your German Shepherd.

In order to minimize your dog's anxiety levels, it is important to establish a daily routine for both you and your pup. This will help them to know what to expect each day and will help them to feel more secure. You may also want to consider consulting with a behaviorist to create a more stable routine for your German Shepherd.

If you think that routines are boring for German Shepherds, don't worry! They love routines and daily tasks. As we mention, a daily routine will help your GSD to feel safer.

Of course, some days we can't follow the daily routine. Maybe we get sick, don't have enough time, have some other problems, or simply we get bored with our daily routine. In that case, it's fine to make a pause for 1-3 days and do something else with your German Shepherd.

3. Don't make abrupt changes in your German Shepherd's routine.

If you frequently change your dog's routine, it can be difficult for them to adjust and can cause them to feel anxious and stressed. This is especially true for German Shepherds, who thrive on a consistent routine. If you are frequently changing your dog's routine, try to keep their daily schedule as consistent as possible.

Make sure that you feed, exercise, and walk your German Shepherd dog at the same time each day.

As soon as you find a perfect daily routine for you and your German Shepherd dog, stick to it. You will be amazed how much daily routine can improve the mental health of your dog!

4. Leave your German Shepherd with plenty of toys and chew items.

If your German Shepherd has something to distract them when you're not home, they are less likely to develop separation anxiety. Make sure that you leave your dog with plenty of toys and chew items that they love so that they will have something to keep themselves occupied while you're away.

You can also try using food puzzles and Kongs to keep your German Shepherd's mind challenged and engaged. Toys such as this will help your German Shepherd to focus on his toys, instead of doing nothing.

5. Make sure that your German Shepherd has plenty of exercise.

A tired dog is less likely to develop separation anxiety than one who is bored and has the energy to spare. Make sure that you exercise your German Shepherd regularly so that they have plenty of energy to burn off when you're not home. A long walk or run before you leave will help reduce their stress levels while you're gone.

Related blog post: Does the German Shepherd Like Running?

German Shepherd running

An old proverb that couldn't be more accurate reads, "A tired dog is a good dog." Dogs will be happy and well-adjusted when they receive a balanced amount of physical and mental activity, just like people.

6. Don't make a big deal out of leaving or coming home.

If you get emotional every time you leave or come home, your German Shepherd will pick up on this and may become anxious. Try to remain calm when leaving or coming home so that your dog doesn't associate those times with negative emotions.

We know that greeting your German Shepherd after a long day on the job is one of the best parts of the day, but try to make a not a big deal.

It's hard to say this, but try to show fewer emotions in situations like this to your dog.

7. Leave for short periods of time at first until your dog becomes more comfortable being alone.

If your German Shepherd is new to being left alone, start by leaving them for short periods of time while you go run an errand or take a quick trip to the store. Gradually increase the amount of time that you're gone so that they can get used to being alone.

In the first week of training, you can start putting your German Shepherd outside or in a different room for 10 minutes, 3 times per day. If your GSD behaved well during these 10 minutes, reward him with his favorite toy or treat.

During the second weekend, you can start increasing the time from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, and in the third week, you can try 30 minutes. 

Just make sure that you're making slow progress and be consistent. Leaving your German Shepherd alone for a whole day isn't a good idea.

8. Get help from a professional if your dog's separation anxiety is severe.

If your German Shepherd's separation anxiety is severe, you may need to consult with a professional to help you manage its condition. A behaviorist or veterinarian can help you to create a plan to reduce your dog's anxiety and stress levels.

Separation anxiety is a common problem for German Shepherds, but it can be managed with the proper training and care. If you think that your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, consult with a professional to create a treatment plan. With the right help, your German Shepherd can live a happy and stress-free life.

9. Create training

Crate training is a great way to help your dog feel more comfortable when left alone. If you crate-train your German Shepherd from a young age, they will see the crate as a safe place and will be less likely to develop separation anxiety. Make sure that you only use the crate as a place of confinement for short periods of time, and never use it as a punishment.

Some of you will think "how locking my German Shepherd inside the crate can be good for him?!"

Crate training for German Shepherd puppies

Well, here is the thing. The dog doesn't know what the crate is

For us, humans, the crate isn't such a cool place, but for German Shepherds with separation anxiety, the crate can be actually a safe place.

With the training, the crate will help your dog feel safe. They'll see a crate as a safe place, as their own place.

It's important for a German Shepherd to have their own space in the house where you leave.

Please don't just lock your GSD instead the crate without any previous training. 

Always start with baby steps and slowly make a progress.

10. Medication and natural supplements

If your German Shepherd's separation anxiety is severe, you may need to consult with a professional to help you manage your condition. A behaviorist or veterinarian can help you to create a plan to reduce your dog's anxiety and stress levels. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help your dog cope with being alone.

Some veterinarians advise using drugs like alprazolam, which is recommended for anxiety and panic disorders, or amitriptyline, which is used to treat depression.

One of the most popular natural supplements for separation anxiety in dogs is CBD oil. Increased serotonin levels from the oil may help German Shepherds unwind and feel more certain that they won't be abandoned.

Don't make alone decisions for medical treatment. Talk to your veterinarian about the best course of treatment for your German Shepherd's separation anxiety.

Can your treat separation anxiety in German Shepherds quickly?

No, you cannot treat separation anxiety in German Shepherds quickly. Training and behavior modification takes time and patience, but the results are well worth it. If you have the right help, your German Shepherd can live a happy life free of stress.

How to treat separation anxiety in German Shepherds?

There are a number of ways to treat separation anxiety in German Shepherds, but the most effective treatment is usually a combination of methods. Some of the most common treatments include crate training, behavior modification, medication, and supplements like CBD oil.

Make sure to talk to your veterinarian about the best course of treatment for your German Shepherd's separation anxiety.

Have in mind that each German Shepherd is unique and that treatments depend on the dog to the dog. Don't start treatment alone because you saw or heard somewhere that some treatment has cured a dog of separation anxiety.

Crate training

As we mentioned before, if your German Shepherd is struggling with separation anxiety, crate training can be an effective way to help them feel more comfortable when left alone. Crate training involves teaching your dog to see the crate as a safe and comfortable place, and it can be a great way to reduce stress levels. Make sure to only use the crate for short periods of time, and never use it as a punishment.

Behavior modification

When treating a German Shepherd for separation anxiety, behavior modification is one of the most important aspects of the treatment plan. Behavior modification involves changing the dog's behavior by teaching them new, more appropriate behaviors. It can be a slow and difficult process, but it is well worth it in the end.

One of the most common methods of behavior modification is positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding the dog for good behaviors with treats or praise. This helps to teach the dog that behaving in the desired way will result in positive outcomes.

It is also important to avoid punishing the dog for bad behavior. This can only serve to increase the dog's anxiety and stress levels and may not actually help to correct the behavior.

If you are struggling to modify your dog's behavior on your own, it may be helpful to consult with a professional behaviorist or veterinarian. They can help you create a plan specifically tailored to your dog's needs. With patience and perseverance, you can help your German Shepherd overcome their separation anxiety.

Medication treatment.

When it comes to treating separation anxiety in German Shepherds, medication may be prescribed as part of a treatment plan. There are a number of different medications that can be used, depending on the dog's specific needs.

Some of the most common medications used to treat separation anxiety include alprazolam and amitriptyline. These drugs are recommended for anxiety and panic disorders, and they can help to reduce stress levels and calm the dog.

Another popular medication for treating separation anxiety is CBD oil. This oil is derived from cannabis plants and it has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain. This may help German Shepherds feel more relaxed when left alone.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian before starting any medication treatment for your dog's separation anxiety. Make sure to discuss the potential risks and benefits of each medication and find the one that is best suited for your dog's individual needs.

CBD oil treatment

As we mentioned, CBD oil is a popular treatment for German Shepherds with separation anxiety. It is derived from cannabis plants and it has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain. This may help German Shepherds feel more relaxed when left alone.

CBD oil is a non-psychoactive, natural treatment and it does not cause any side effects. It can be given to dogs in the form of drops, capsules, or treats.

CBD oil for separation anxiety in German Shepherd dogs

If you are considering using CBD oil to treat your dog's separation anxiety, it is important to consult with your veterinarian first. They can help you find the right dosage and type of CBD oil for your dog's individual needs. With patience and perseverance, you can help your German Shepherd overcome their separation anxiety.

German Shepherd separation anxiety toys

Toys can help dogs with separation anxiety. German Shepherds who are anxious when left alone may benefit from having a few favorite toys to keep them company. Favorite toys can provide a sense of comfort and security for dogs during times of stress.

Make sure that your dog has a variety of toys to choose from, and rotate them often to keep them interesting. You may also want to consider purchasing a puzzle toy or treat dispenser to keep your dog occupied and distracted.

Some of our toys that we recommend for situation like this are:

What to avoid with the German Shepherd who has separation anxiety?

There are a few things that you should avoid doing if your German Shepherd suffers from separation anxiety. First, don't leave your dog alone for long periods of time. Second, don't crate your dog for extended periods of time. Third, don't use the crate as a punishment. Fourth, don't ignore your dog's signs of anxiety.

If your dog is panting, whining, or barking excessively, try to calm them down and provide reassurance. If you can't calm your dog down, it's best to consult with a professional to help you create a plan to reduce your dog's anxiety.

Want to learn more?

Separation anxiety in German Shepherd dogs isn't an easy fix. To cure separation anxiety you need to invest a lot of time and work hard consistently. With the right guide, you can achieve great results much faster. In this video, you can complete your knowledge about separation anxiety in dogs.

Conclusion

Separation anxiety is one of the biggest issues and health problems for German Shepherds. According to the latest case studies, around 20% to 40% of dogs who are seen by veterinary behavioral specialists have separation anxiety.

Simply put, separation anxiety in German Shepherds isn't a joke.

Luckily, thanks to modern medicine, new technology, and amazing training tools, separation anxiety can be treated faster than ever.

If your German Shepherd suffers from separation anxiety, there are a number of things that you can do to help them.

We have mentioned most of the things in this post, but if you want to cure your German Shepherd as soon as possible from separation anxiety, visit and talk to your vet as soon as possible.

Please do not make decisions on your own and do a consultation with your vet.

Back to blog