There are so many questions running through potential dog owners’ minds before picking their forever pup. You may wonder about training, how they’ll get on with other dogs and if they’ll be gentle around smaller children. Anxiety issues may be another question on your mind. It’s important to ask yourself if your new addition to the family will be happy on their own for periods of the day or if problems are likely to occur.
Doodles can suffer from separation anxiety, but all dogs are different, and it very much depends on their personality and environment. Parentage also plays a role in such behaviors and anxieties can range from mild to severe across many dog breeds.
In this article, we aim to see if separation anxiety is prevalent in Doodles and if so whether some breeds are more likely to suffer than others, what the potential causes are and how you can manage it.
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Doodles and Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can be better understood if we think back to wolves and wild dogs with their pack mentality. Wolves and wild dogs hunt, sleep and play together in packs – they stick together at all times. Looking at it this way it’s easier to acknowledge why dogs may find it unnatural to be left alone.
Any dog, any breed, shape, or size can be prone to separation anxiety, but some breeds will be more prone than others and for Doodles, it seems it can be a common trait found in some of these crossbreeds.
Some Doodle breeds which are quite commonly affected with separation anxiety are:
- Goldendoodles – They thrive around people and are known for their loyal ways. This can lead to anxiety issues if they are left alone too much for too long.
- Labradoodles – Again very sociable dogs who thrive from tasks and stimulation, and being around their family as much as possible.
- Aussiedoodles – Happiest among others and shouldn’t be left alone too regularly.
- Bernedoodles – Bred as companion dogs so as you would expect they enjoy being around theist owners as much as possible.
- Westiedoodles – Again this breed can be anxious, and this can spill over into some destructive behaviors if they are on their own regularly.
- Cockapoos – Also bred as companion dogs. If you plan to leave yours alone too often you may well come into tricky times.
- Cavapoos – They very much aspire to be with the family as much as possible due to their affectionate and loyal nature.
- Schnoodles – They are super affectionate and their mission in life is to be everyone’s friend.
- Shepadoodles – A very intelligent breed who needs lots of stimulation both physically and mentally and can suffer if left alone often.
- Yorkiepoos – Best suited as a companion in households that can physically and mentally keep their days active. With this in mind, they thrive the most when around others as much as possible.
Establishing just why some dogs get anxious and others don’t is a bit like asking why some humans suffer from it and others don’t. It comes down to background, genetics, environment, possible triggers and dislikes, and also any trauma your dog may have suffered from. It can also just simply be one of those things.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Doodles
Each dog is different and may well show their anxieties in different ways and some more subtly than others. But generally speaking, the most common behaviors are:
- Destructive behavior – If you are coming home to chewed rugs, slippers, table legs, and toys you may have a dog who isn’t happy when alone.
- Howling/barking excessively – Are your neighbors complaining of noisy dogs when you are away from home? Do you hear them howling as you are preparing to leave? This is another sign they are feeling anxious at your imminent departure.
- Clingy/velcro dog behavior – Your Doodle may well pick up on the signs you are about to leave and suddenly won’t leave your side, they may even whine. Or when you return home, they are fixed to your side the remainder of the day.
- Toileting mishaps – If you are opening your door to unwanted smells and puddles on the floor chances are your dog was anxious and soiled themselves/their living space.
- Excessive drooling and panting – A nervous dog may pant or drool while you are away, this is a reactive behavior to anxiety.
Why Do Doodles Suffer from Separation Anxiety?
This is the million-dollar question but the answer to the Doodle and separation anxiety could lie with their Poodle parent. Poodles are very intelligent, highly trainable, and extremely sociable. This all sounds great on paper, but such qualities can lead to issues if they aren’t exercised or socialized enough, and indeed if they are left on their own a lot.
Poodles were originally bred for hunting, so they are highly active dogs who like having things to do, especially for their master. The Poodle’s background can go some way to explain why some Doodle breeds are prone to separation anxiety, especially if the other parent is also a breed known for it. In our list of susceptible Doodle’s parents include Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Labradors. Each of these breeds can also be prone to separation anxiety.
Dogs with a working background can be prone to separation anxiety because they enjoy being with others. However, dogs bred as companion dogs can also suffer due to the reasons they were bred. Doodles are well known for their loving nature and high intelligence so it makes sense that they can be anxious if not around their loved ones as much as they’d like.
Dealing with Separation Anxiety
The good news is that separation anxiety doesn’t need to dominate the years you have with your Doodle and help is out there. It can be tricky to deal with but will just require patience, understanding, empathy, and most of all, time. If you recognize any of the signs above in your own dog’s behavior, then it’s important to tackle it before the situation worsens. Anxiety can cause huge stress in dogs and impact their life negatively. We’ve collated some tactics for you which can help with separation anxiety:
- Positive reinforcement training: Teach your dog that being left home can be fun and eventually they will associate you leaving with a reward or treat. Just before leaving, give them a toy full of food such as cream cheese (be mindful of tummy issues when choosing your food). When you arrive home, pick up the toy and repeat next time you leave or leave another toy out. Eventually, your dog will be less upset at you leaving.
- Physical exercise/playtime: Make sure your dog has had a walk or physical playtime before you leave them. If they are tired when you leave, they are more likely to sleep and relax when you are gone.
- Have all Needs been Met: Make sure your dog has been fed and has access to fresh water. Just before you leave, get them to go potty so that they are comfortable whilst you are gone.
- Introduce alone time slowly: This works particularly well if you have your dog from a young age as you can gradually build up the time they are left alone.
- A calming environment: White noise, darkened rooms, TV or radio can all help soothe an anxious dog while you are out. Their own designated safe space is also important and will act as their “go-to” when feeling anxious. Leave behind a shirt or another item of clothing that smells of you but be mindful of strangulation hazards if they are crated. Maybe not your favorite item though in case they feel the need to chew it!
- House sitter or doggy day care: If you do need to be out of the home a lot then you may wish to consider someone who can pop in once or twice a day to spend time with your dog. Or some daycare sessions which will also be great for socialization.
- Medications: In serious cases, medication can help anxiety in dogs. This should always be discussed with your vet, and after exhausting other methods first.