Alaskan Klee Kai Separation Anxiety

helloBARK!
By helloBARK!
Updated on 15 December 2020
Fact Checked

While Alaskan Klee Kai are a breed that is growing in popularity, these dogs are still pretty rare.

The breed is a relatively small package that come in three different sizes: standard (15 to 17 inches tall), miniature (13 to 15 inches tall) and toy (up to 13 inches tall).

Klee Kai can sport thee different colours: black and white, grey and white, and red and white. Their eyes are another endearing feature and tend to be blue, brown or bi-eye.

These charming dogs don’t take long to become very attached to their humans, much to the delight of their owners, while they can be very skittish around strangers.

Alaskan Klee Kai do require a lot of exercise despite their compact size making them perfect dogs for an apartment complex or a small house. Given their Alaskan heritage and sled dog relations, this really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Proving to be moderately expensive dogs, you should think long and hard before purchasing an Alaskan Klee Kai from a respectable breeder.

One of the potential drawbacks of owning an Alaskan Klee Kai can be separation anxiety, which is a condition that can affect some of the breed.

If you would like to learn more about Alaskan Klee Kai, you can follow my dogs Copper and Skye on Instagram (@lifewithkleekai).

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Alaskan Klee Kai dog (Photo: Albalone Pet Studio)

Alaskan Klee Kai dog (Photo: Albalone Pet Studio)

According to Wikipedia, this is defined as a condition in which a dog exhibits distress and behavior problems when separated from its handler. It results in unwanted behaviours from your Alaskan Klee Kai, which can give owners a real headache.

Dog separation anxiety specialist Malena De Martini provided us with her definition of this chronic canine condition.

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.

What Triggers Separation Anxiety?

Alaskan Klee Kai tear stains (Photo: Albalone Pet Studio)

Alaskan Klee Kai tear stains (Photo: Albalone Pet Studio)

As many Alaskan Klee Kai owners will attest to, it doesn’t take much to trigger separation anxiety in some members of this breathtaking breed. Whether it be leaving these dogs in their crate while you go to work or to the gym, allowing them to roam in the house as you got to check the mail box and even leaving them with trusted family and friends. Klee Kai that suffer with separation anxiety will let you know that they’re not happy at being left alone.

What are symptoms of separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety can manifest itself in a number of different ways.

The most common symptom of separation anxiety is barking, crying, howling or screaming when separated from the person that they are bonded with. This could occur for one minute, five minutes, a half hour or even a full hour! In fact, some particularly sensitive Klee Kai could bark or scream until they’re finally reunited with their owner.

Another common consequence of separation anxiety is destructive chewing. If a Klee Kai is left to roam around the house, you could find shoes or a throw torn to shreds. Even when an Alaskan Klee Kai suffering with separation anxiety is placed in their crate, they can manage to drag in clothes or materials left within their reach and chew them into small pieces.

alaskan klee kai
Follow Copper and Skye to learn more about Alaskan Klee Kai or to get in touch

Digging can be another problem, especially given Alaskan Klee Kai are prone to this behaviour anyway. If you live in a house with both cats and dogs, the feline’s litter could be distributed throughout the house after your Klee Kai decided to dig in your absence.

Of even more concern is urinating. For example, if your dog is trained to hold their potty throughout the night until morning but often urinates or defecates when you leave the house for an hour or two, this could well be the result of separation anxiety.

Other potential symptoms of this condition include but are not limited to:

• Intense pacing and restlessness
• Escaping a room or crate
• Vomiting
• Hiding or crying when you are about to leave the house
• Destroying doors and windows

What Klee Kai Owners Have To Say About Separation Anxiety

Alaskan Klee Kai at the park (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai at the park (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

• Life With Klee Kai (@lifewithkleekai): “I cannot speak for the entire breed, but I can speak for my two. Both of them suffer from it a bit – Copper more so than Skye. Again, it’s something that we’ve worked on on and off, but the more consistent we are with our separation anxiety training, the better they are being left alone.”

• Baylee (@myloveonpaws): “Yeah she does. When I got her I immediately started to train to leave her alone and it worked really well. But as I’m still living with my parents, there’s someone at home most of the time so she doesn’t really have any routine of being alone at home. Somehow it’s kind of okay for her to be alone at home when my parents are the ones who leave her alone. But when I’m the last one who’s leaving the house, she’s whining and howling all of the time.”

• Koda (@meetkodapup): Everything I hear from other AKK owners is that yes, they do suffer with separation anxiety. But we never experienced that with Koda – even as young as eight weeks old when we left her in her crate for short trial runs. We believe this is because her breeder prides himself on crate training his pups right away.

• Kira (@kirathealaskankleekai): “From day one, Kira showed anxiety over a variety of things despite coming from a wonderful breeder who works hard with her pups. At first, we couldn’t leave the room let alone the house without major stress. Now, she happily spends time alone in other rooms of the house (easier to get into stuff without mom watching), but she still becomes very upset when I leave the house. Given her anxious nature, our concerns for her safety, lots of available family members to watch her, and a home under renovation, Kira is rarely left alone. And since she’s so well-behaved and welcome almost everywhere, it’s been too easy to take her with us. But I know it needs to change for her sake, and ours, so we’re working on it.”

One Alaskan Klee Kai owner on the breed’s Facebook page said:

“We put together a “treat bag” in paper lunch bag with chew toy and special treats each time we leave for work so she knows it’s time but has something to think about other than we are leaving. We also leave a worn t-shirt out so she can smell us.”

Another suggested crating their Alaskan Klee Kai and using a camera helped:

“Kennelling [our Alaskan Klee Kai] has been the best option. Klee Kai’s are den animals and feel much safer in enclosed spaces. Yes sometimes he does scream when we leave the house, but we’ve set up a camera and he usually falls asleep within 20 minutes. Sometimes he doesn’t scream at all, just depends on his neediness that day.”

Finally, an owner of two Alaskan Klee Kai had a simple solution:

“Our first Alaskan Klee Kai struggled badly with a separation anxiety after we brought her home. We tried everything to calm her down: music, crating her and long walks before leaving the house. Nothing had much of an impact until we brought home a little sibling for her. Now, she remains calm when we leave the house, and while her little brother does become anxious for a minute or two, we can use our dog camera to talk to him and it never lasts longs.”

How To Alleviate Separation Anxiety?

Copper and Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: @albalonepetstudio @lifewithkleekai)

Copper and Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: @albalonepetstudio @lifewithkleekai)

There is no quick fix where separation anxiety is concerned. We recommend contacting a dog separation anxiety trainer to help tackle this chronic canine condition.

While some of the suggestions below could potentially help ease your dog’s separation anxiety, our expert De Martini believes they’re unlikely to have a decisive impact.

There are also other supposed ways to treat separation anxiety such as lots of exercise and enrichment. If exercise and enrichment fixed separation anxiety, I wouldn’t have a job! It’s not widespread or common knowledge regarding the very detailed gradual incremental steps [to tackle separation anxiety] and how to implement them. That treatment protocol and training knowledge must be broken down enough so that owners know how to use it.

I used to say, ‘can’t hurt, might help’ about a lot of the more innocuous suggestions like using a thunderwrap or increasing obedience behaviors. Now I think about it as, ‘can’t hurt, might help, but really, could kind of hurt’. These types of suggestions are not going to hurt a dog or make a dog go backwards in his training but it might deplete some of the emotional, financial and time availability bandwidth.

De Martini explained why she doesn’t like to use the word “prevention” where separation anxiety is concerned.

I would encourage people to use the phrase ‘optimizing their dog’s chances of alone time success’ rather than preventing separation anxiety.

Walking

One of the most simple ways of alleviating your dog’s separation anxiety is exercise. If you take an Alaskan Klee Kai for a walk or a trip to the dog park before your departure, it will expend a lot of energy and a tired pup is easier to leave in a calm state. Don’t forget a tired dog is a happy dog!

Calm departure

Feelings of guilt can result in a change of energy levels that your Mini Husky can perceive. While you might believe you are doing the right thing by saying goodbye to your dog, it could be conditioning your canine companion to suffer from separation anxiety. The best thing to do is leave the house in a calm manner. While avoiding making a big fuss when you leave is important, it is equally crucial to ignore your dog if they are super excited when you come back. Allow your Klee Kai to calm down before greeting.

Background noise

Leaving the television on or playing music in the background can help to destress an anxious dog. Not only that, but it can help to drown out noises that could leave an Alaskan Klee Kai alert and worried.

Dog Camera

There are now many dog cameras that you can use to keep an eye on your pooch while you are away from the house.

While some act as a basic camera, there are more advanced options that allow you to talk to your Alaskan Klee Kai so you can help to ease any separation anxiety that your faithful friend may be suffering from.

Distraction is another great way to alleviate this problem and some dog cameras come with a function that allows you to throw a treat for your pupper. This can be a great way of keeping your Klee Kai entertained and active while you are away from the house.

Apart from the obvious benefit for your dog, it can also provide owners with peace of mind and allow them to assess the severity of the separation anxiety.

Check back soon for our essential guide to the best dog cameras on the market that could help to soothe your Alaskan Klee Kai and counteract any separation anxiety.

Essential oils

Another solution could be using an oil diffuser and essential oils to relax your Mini Husky. It is a simple and safe method to keep your dog happy and emotionally well, particularly during your absence. According to scientific reports, aromatherapy with essential oils is a positive method to use to help soothe your dog’s separation anxiety.

Desensitization Of Departure

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: @albalonepetstudio @lifewithkleekai)

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: @albalonepetstudio @lifewithkleekai)

De Martini explained that one of keys to tackling dog separation anxiety is the process of desensitization.

The bottom line is we have to use the specific process of desensitization. The dog has to essentially become bored with our comings and goings.

In the beginning, those comings and going could be opening the door, step out, count 1,2,3 and step back inside. The dog could be like ‘OH MY GOSH…. You’re back!”.

After some repetition, your dog will be like, ‘oh goodness, they’re doing that stupid thing again where they go and come back. I don’t care’. When we get to that point, that three seconds becomes, say, 10 seconds, which then becomes something like a minute [and so forth].

That’s the really small basic chunk that is the key element of desensitization and it is the gold standard for working with separation anxiety.

In Conclusion

Black and white Alaskan Klee Kai Skye (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Black and white Alaskan Klee Kai Skye (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Separation anxiety is a condition that affects a lot of Alaskan Klee Kai.

The breed establishes a close bond with their handler and as a result, doesn’t like to be separated.

However, we have found that purchasing a dog camera can be a big help to allow owners to talk to their dogs and provide peace of mind when their pooch finally calms down.

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