Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder.
Just like any dog breed, there are Cavapoos that suffer from separation anxiety.
For the uninitiated, Cavapoos are a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.
Cavaliers are generally considered great companion pets that are often dubbed “velcro dogs”.
They’re a breed that are recognised as potentially having separation anxiety issues.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at separation anxiety and the experience of Cavapoo owners with regards to this condition.
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What is dog separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder that can affect dogs. It occurs when a dog is left alone without the companionship of their pet parent.
It can also occur before the dog owner has left their home as their pooch spots the tell-tell signs that a departure is imminent. For example, putting on your shoes, getting your coat or grabbing your keys.
Dog separation anxiety expert Malena DeMartini defined the condition in her interview with hellobark.com:
When I talk to a dog owner who has a separation anxiety dog, the biggest message I initially want to get across is that this is a fear, phobia, panic about being left alone. It might seem completely irrational to you because you’re like ‘I always come back’ but fears and phobias are often irrational.
You might be surprised to learn just how common separation anxiety is. According to the RSPCA, eight out of ten dogs suffer with separation anxiety to some degree. It’s not always evident that a dog is suffering with the condition, as it could be internalized by the pup.
Here’s what Malena had to say about the outward appearance of the dog and why pet parents shouldn’t lulled into a false sense of security if their canine companion appears calm and relaxed.
It’s important to remember that the outward display of the dog’s anxiety is not an indication of how easily or quickly a dog will make progress in their separation anxiety training.
Before we take a look at the Cavapoo mixed breed and whether they’re susceptible to separation anxiety, we need to learn more about the symptoms that could suggest a dog is suffering from this disorder.
Dog separation anxiety symptoms
If you’re a Cavapoo owner, you may or may not have encountered separation anxiety. If you have, you’ll probably be aware of some of the outward symptoms that indicate your dog is going through stress and turmoil when left at home alone.
It’s important to remember dog separation anxiety can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Some dogs could appear to be fine but are in fact struggling internally.
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms you can look out for:
• Persistent barking, howling or screaming – This is the most common dog separation anxiety symptom and the easiest one to recognise and spot. If your dog is relentlessly barking, howling or whining when you’ve left at home alone, this could indicate separation anxiety. Of course, this is a particularly distressing symptom for your dog but also for pet parents who live in densely populated areas. For example, if you live in apartment complex, your neighbors could quickly become irritated with the noise. The various types of vocalisation can lead to complaints about the noise.
• Destructive behavior – Some dogs will resort to destructive or unwanted behaviours when left at home alone. They will act out usually out of anxiety or perhaps for dogs with a high IQ, it could be an indication of boredom. Dogs could resort to chewing furniture, tearing up clothes, digging potted plants or scratching at the door. In my experience, my two Alaskan Klee Kai dogs would rip up my clothing when left at home alone until we addressed the issue. Another sign that your dog is struggling with separation anxiety is destructive chewing or digging in your home. If you’re renting, this could be a big problem.
• Urinating and defecating – In some extreme cases, your dog might resort to defecating or urinating inside the home. Their potty training goes out the window. Again, this is far from ideal if you’re renting or leasing a home.
• Pacing or trembling – Other more subtle symptoms include shaking or trembling. You dog could be pacing up and down your home. Alternatively, they could be sat in their dog bed shaking or trembling.
• Silent sufferer – The most difficult sufferer to spot is the one that does so silently. Although your Cavapoo might not be barking, howling, digging, chewing or defecating when left alone doesn’t mean that they’re not in turmoil.
Naturally, you’re probably wondering how to tell if your dog is suffering with separation anxiety. Well our resident dog separation anxiety DeMartini has a protocol that dog owners can follow to ascertain whether their precious pooch is indeed struggling with separation anxiety.
A dog may snuggle on the couch, it might go for a drink of water, it may chew on a toy. This is what the dog typically looks like. We can then do a video assessment when the dog is alone. We’ll compare those videos side by side. The body language that we see during alone time comparative to the baseline body language is one way to discern if this dog is simply experiencing frustration or boredom versus a dog who is experiencing distress.
Cavapoo separation anxiety
Cavapoo are considered to be great companion dogs that are much-loved for their hypoallergenic qualities. These dogs don’t usually shed that much. They love to be around their pet parents, whether it’s snuggled up on the sofa or going for their daily walk. There are a lot of pros to the cross breed.
Given their small size, you will find lots of Cavapoos in cities and urban areas. However, not all pet parents are fortunate enough to work from home or have an office that allows dogs. Therefore, some Cavapoos will have to get used to being left at home alone.
A quick search on Google shows that there are some Cavapoos that struggle with separation anxiety. Although every dog is different, it’s worth knowing and researching this canine disorder before you decide to get a Cavapoo.
Here’s what Coffee the Cavapoo told hellobark.com about their experience with separation anxiety:
Cavoodles are well known for seperation anxiety. As a puppy, Coffee was crate trained as this was something I wanted to avoid, mainly for her well being. She is very comfortable being left alone at home and has never destroyed anything and doesn’t cry. However if we are out and I walk off while someone holds her she will cry and yelp until I return.
Cooper the Cavapoo has also experienced some issues with the canine disorder. Here’s what they told hellobark.com:
I guess one thing we’re working through right now is that Cooper has developed a bit of separation anxiety when we’re a part. (Honestly so have I!!) I’m very lucky to have a job where I work from home, and Cooper’s an emotional support animal so he really goes most places with me. It’s rare that I have to leave him home alone, but when I do he usually just sits by the front door and cries a bit until I come back. It breaks my heart to watch him on my doggie-cam!
How to tackle separation anxiety
So if you’re working through some separation anxiety at the moment or you’re just interested about learning more about the subject before you adopt a dog, you’re probably thinking how do dog owners tackle this condition.
Well different dog trainers will suggest different things. For example, Malena DeMartini has a separation anxiety course to help pet parents to take small steps to tackle the issue.
There are other trainers who will suggest some stereotypical things to try to see if they have an impact. These include:
• Exercise – As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog. The idea being that taking your dog for a long walk or a trip to the dog park could help to tire them out before being left alone.
• Calm departure – Another common tip is to leave the home without making a fuss of your dog. In doing so, you’re not displaying some tell-tell signs that a departure is imminent. In theory, this could keep your dog relaxed.
• Background noise – You’ve almost certainly heard of this. Do any search on separation anxiety online, pet parents are advised to leave the radio or television on to provide some background noise.
• Essentials oils – Some dog owners attest to the use of aromatherapy to relax their pets. Using essential oils and a diffuser, the scent can help to relax a stressed out dog in some circumstances.
• Calming treats – Not just a bedtime biscuit, calming dog treats can be a helpful addition to calm your pooch. Look for natural healthy calming treats that avoid allergens like dairy which could irritate your dog’s sensitive stomach. Always review the ingredient list in full so you can avoid nonsense like added sugars or artificial nasties. Functional botanicals likes chamomile and lemon balm can be helpful.
• Dog camera- While a dog camera won’t help to fix the issue, it could help you to monitor your dog. You may be unaware of how your dog acts when left at home alone. A dog camera can give you valuable insight into your dog’s behaviour. If you decide to sign up to an online course such as Malena DeMartini’s above, your dog camera will be a valuable tool when it comes to assessment of the threshold. Here is a selection of the best dog cameras available on the market at the moment.
RELATED: The three best dog cameras on the market
So, can dog separation anxiety be prevented? Here’s what DeMartini has to say:
Maybe you can’t! I’m very sensitive about the word ‘preventing’ when it comes to separation anxiety. I would encourage people to use the phrase ‘optimizing their dog’s chances of alone time success’ rather than preventing separation anxiety.
Anything else to consider?
If you’re considering a Cavapoo but you want to learn more about this mixed breed, you could always contact some owners on Instagram to learn more. In our experience, dog owners are usually forthcoming with information about their pets to help would-be Cavapoo owners. Here are 20 Cavapoo to check out on Instagram.
Do you suspect your dog is struggling with separation anxiety? Malena is offering helloBARK! readers the chance to avail of a special discount code for her online self-paced course for dog owners. For more information, contact [email protected]
In conclusion – our final thoughts
We’ve reached the end of our article on Cavapoos and separation anxiety.
As you’ll know by now, separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder that can affect any dog regardless of breed or mix.
The Cavapoo is no different.