Call us: 555-555-5555

Separation Anxiety

Beagle Separation Anxiety


Just about the hardest thing about owning a dog is the aspect of having to leave him home alone. Whether you work, go to school or just need to leave to run errands, there will be times that you have to walk out the door... will your Beagle be okay?

This is a pack dog, super loyal to his owners...and this breed does not always handle the isolation of this. It's not uncommon for a Beagle to have separation anxiety issues. This goes above a dog just being a bit bored. It encompasses a range of emotions and behaviors due to stress.
In this section we will discuss the signs of separation anxiety and strategies that you can use to help your Beagle cope. 
Signs of Separation Anxiety

The Beagle is the quintessential pack dog, truly enjoying the company of others, both human family members and other dogs. Left to his own devices, boredom can quickly set in... And a panicked feeling of being alone may develop, which is commonly referred to as Separation Anxiety. When a dog suffers from this, he is unable to gain control, he does not have the self confidence to play independently and waiting for his owner to return can be quite emotionally tortuous. 

Since you obviously will not be with your Beagle while he is experiencing separation anxiety, you may hear about some of the issues from close neighbors or hear what's going on as you come up to the door. You may also see evidence if your Beagle has become panicked in his area. The following are common signs that a dog is stressed when alone:
  • Whining -This often occurs as the owner is preparing to leave the house. Anxiety may set at the time that the dog realizes he is going to be left alone.
  • Excessive barking - This is the #1 symptom. A puppy or dog may bark to the point of exhaustion.
  • Pacing - This will be an obsessive pacing back and forth and may last for hours.
  • Destructive chewing - As a stress reliever and for some Beagles as an answer to boredom, a puppy or dog may chew everything and anything within reach; this will be non-toy items that you really didn't expect to be touched.
  • Escape attempts - A Beagle in emotional distress may frantically try to escape from his area. This can include trying to jump over fencing, pushing into walls, etc.
  • Excessive drooling - Being in such a panicked state, a Beagle may work himself up to having a lot of dribble and drool.
  • Coprophagia - While there are several causes for this and some dogs do this for no known reason, many veterinarians believe that anxiety can cause a dog to eat his own feces. 
How to Help

Setting up the right environment - Beagles that struggle with separation anxiety often do not do well if they have the whole house to themselves. There is just too much space to roam around in and too many objects that may be torn apart. And of course, this is not a good set-up for puppies that are in the process of housebreaking.

However, being kept in too small of an area will also cause stress. Generally dogs will have increased levels of claustrophobia during times of stress and a crate that a Beagle may have once liked to curl up in to rest can end up exasperating the problem as it will make him feel too confined when you are away.

The best set-up for a Beagle with this issue is a gated off section of centrally located room. Often the kitchen or living room will work best. You will need to experiment to see if a window view (the slider in the kitchen, for example) increases or decreases stress. Beagles that do better with windows will be the dogs that gain some peace by seeing the outside world as it makes them feel not so confined. However, Beagles that do worse with windows will be the dogs that bark, howl and become over-excited with every sight and sound. With a barrage of people, cars, bird and other outside elements able to be seen but not reached, a Beagle may be under even more duress.
Beagle dog on a chair
Baxter, 4 months old
Photo courtesy of owner: Di - Malealea Lodge, Lesotho
Within that area, you can place some items that will help. You'll want a water dispenser or a water fountain if your dog normally gets so worked up that his bowl gets tipped over. Food for the day can be placed inside Kongs and other treat-release toys as opposed to in a dish; this way your Beagle will stay busy when he is hungry as opposed to quickly eating his food. 

Interesting toys and comfort/ companion toys (particularly those that emit a soothing heartbeat) can help a great deal. A good toy will have textures and colors that pull in a dog's interest and keep him distracted. If you would like recommendations for comfort/companion toys, look to 'Toys - Separation Anxiety' in the Beagle Specialty Shoppe.

Outside the area, there are a few things that you can do. If the house is normally quiet, leave on a TV or radio. Choose the channel or station carefully. A light morning talk show may turn into a loud and disturbing show as the day wears on. In addition, if you will be arriving home as the sun is setting or later, be sure to leave on some lights. An empty house that is dark is going to feel a whole lot more lonely for a Beagle with separation anxiety than a well-lit one.

Offer a Mid-Day Break - If you are able to come home for lunch, this will help. Some owners worry that if they appear for just a 1/2 hour, that the Beagle will 'remember' to miss them and things will be even worse for the second part of the day. However, for most dogs, being able to see their owner, be brought outside and even taking a short 15 minute walk is the answer to relieving stress. 
The puppy or dog is then able to 'reset; so instead of mounting, stress is greatly reduced and begins at a lower level when the owner must leave again.

Other choices are to hire a dog walker or to ask a friend, neighbor or family member to do this for you. You never know until you ask; sometimes a neighbor's responsible child would love to walk your Beagle for a small fee and retirees and others may jump at the opportunity to be needed.

Another option is to look into doggie day care. A good facility will separate dogs by size and offer a fun experience for your Beagle where he can play and be taken care of, which relieves all stressors. Even one or two days a week of this will help as the number of stressful days will be reduced. If you opt for one day a week, we would suggest a Wednesday, in order to break up the week, which gives a Beagle only two days in a row that he must be alone. 
Beagle with his owner
Saying Goodbye & Hello

The way in which you prepare to leave and how you say goodbye and say hello when arriving home will be very important in regard to your Beagle's behavior and his ability to cope with being home alone.
It can help to bring your dog outside roughly 30 to 40 minutes before having to leave. Making time not only for bathroom needs, but also to run around a bit to release some energy and tire a dog out a tad can be helpful.

Not waiting until the last minute also allows for time to place the Beagle in his area without rushing out the door right afterward. This way, a dog does not immediately associate that being in his area means that you are leaving. Have your Beagle in his spot a good 20 minutes or so before you leave. 
Give all pats, hugs and kisses during the time that you were outside with him. 

When you are leaving, do not say the words 'good bye' or give any extra attention. As hard as it is, dogs do better if they are not given a verbal or physical trigger.

When you return back home, resist the urge to run over to your Beagle. Play it nonchalant. Unless he has an urgent bathroom need, flip through the mail and get a drink of water before you casually walk over release him from his area. Your actions will imply, "It's not a big deal that I'm back, because it wasn't a big deal that I left' and in time, a dog can start to pick up this vibe from you.
Share by: