Poodle Separation Anxiety: Can Poodles Be Left Alone?

Categorized as Poodle Behavior, Poodle Breed Information, Poodle FAQs, Poodle Health & Wellbeing, Poodle Puppy

Are you a poodle owner who has been wondering whether or not your little best friend has separation anxiety? Well, I have some good news for you! You’re in the right place.

Separation anxiety in poodles is a disorder that’s characterized by excessive distress when a poodle is separated from those they’re attached to or feel safe with. This type of anxiety is usually caused by negligence, poor socialization, and lack of mental stimulation. It can be managed using certain training methods.

In this article, I will be covering all you need to know about separation anxiety in poodles.

I am going to start off with a definition of separation anxiety, followed by some tips on how to identify it, and then finish up with what you can do if your poodle does have separation anxiety.

What Is Poodle Separation Anxiety?

An Apricot Poodle waiting for their owner to return home
An Apricot Poodle waiting for their owner to return home

Separation anxiety in poodles is a condition where the poodle becomes distressed when he or she is separated from his owner or other loved ones in the home.

In the absence of their handler, poodles with separation anxiety will usually show signs of distress within minutes.

It’s not a condition that’s limited to poodle owners; the disorder can occur in all breeds and ages of dogs, but it does seem to be more common among certain types of canine breeds — like poodles.

Poodles may experience this feeling when left alone home or when left at home while their owners go to work or out for the day. This form of anxiety usually occurs because poodles want to be with their owners at all times.

Every year hundreds if not thousands of dogs are abandoned or given up because of the behavior that gets triggered because of separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs can be a big problem for both dog and owner, but with patience and the right treatment, separation anxiety can get better.

How Can I Tell if My Poodle Has Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a common problem for many poodles. It’s a disorder that causes dogs to exhibit anxiety and destructive behavior when their owners leave the house.

A sad and anxious poodle eagerly waiting for their owner
A sad and anxious poodle eagerly waiting for their owner

There are some signs that can help you determine whether your poodle has separation anxiety, and they include:

  • Howling, barking, and whining
  • Destructive behavior (e.g., chewing/digging on furniture)
  • Urinating or defecating in the house when you leave them alone
  • Licking, chewing and scratching at doors, windows, or walls (often with excessive saliva)
  • Excessive salivation while you’re away from home
  • Cowering or hiding behind furniture or behind doors when left alone in your house; trembling uncontrollably; trembling even when you are gone but someone else is still present in the house (this includes children as well as other pets).
  • This could also manifest itself as hyperactivity if your dog cannot find somewhere to hide.
  • In some cases, separation anxiety in poodles had led them to be aggressive and spiteful.

Poodles with separation anxiety tend to act out and display certain behaviors when they’re left alone. While they might not do these things all the time, they’ll probably do some of these things often.

Why Do Poodles Get Separation Anxiety?

It’s important to understand that poodles can develop separation anxiety for various reasons.

The root cause of separation anxiety in poodles is usually a combination of factors, including:

  1. Genetic Predisposition
  2. Lack of Socialization
  3. Strong Bond with the Owner
  4. Trauma from Past Events
  5. Inadequate Attention (Negligence)
  6. Stressful Environment
  7. Loss of a Family Member, Owner, or Handler
  8. Recently Been Rehomed
  9. Moved to a New Home
  10. Old Age

Let me tell you more about each possible cause of separation anxiety in poodles.

1. Genetic Predisposition

In some cases, poodles with this condition have a genetic predisposition to it. This means that certain breeds of dogs such as poodles are more likely to develop separation anxiety than others because they have certain genes that make them predisposed to developing this type of behavior.

Dogs with separation anxiety are more likely to inherit the trait from their parents than dogs who don’t have this disorder.

If you would like to get your dog’s DNA tested, check out Embark Breed & Health Kit to learn more about your poodle’s ancestors, if they are at risk of any genetic health issues, relatives, traits, and more!

2. Lack of Socialization as a Puppy

Some dogs need to meet lots of other people and pets when they’re young in order to develop normally into well-adjusted adults. If this didn’t happen for your pup growing up, it might be harder for them to get along with all sorts of different people and once their handler leaves them they start to show signs of distress within minutes.

3. Strong Bonds with Owner

Poodles are sensitive creatures and get attached to humans easily, which is mostly a good thing to look for in a domestic animal. Though, in some cases, they tend to develop immensely deep attachments that can cause poodle separation anxiety issues in your pet.

When a poodle develops deeper attachments with its owner, even the temporary loss of the owner makes them very anxious and sad.

4. Traumatic Events of the Past

Scared Poodle Having Separation Anxiety

Poodles also develop separation anxiety due to any trauma of the past, be it living with an abusive owner or a malnourished upbringing.

They tend to get majorly affected by their ordeals, and it causes them to develop separation anxiety.

When it comes to traumatized poodles, they may take longer times to establish new bonds, but when they do form attachments, the symptoms start to present themselves along with it.

A rescued poodle or an adopted poodle may start to show these signs only after a significant period, and so you need to be on the lookout for the symptoms to ensure your poodle’s good health.

5. Inadequate Attention (Negligence)

Neglecting a poodle can give them separation anxiety
Neglecting a poodle can give them separation anxiety

Poodles are naturally energetic, so you can’t just sit back and expect them to be still for long. They need exercise, they need playtime, and they need attention.

The problem is that sometimes we don’t give enough attention to our poodles. We get busy with work or school, or we get distracted by social media and other things that take away from our time with our dogs.

And then what happens? Separation anxiety! Your dog starts acting out because he doesn’t know why you’re being so distant. This can cause problems if you’re gone for longer than normal periods of time—and it can even lead to destructive behavior when your pup tries to escape from his crate or pen to find you!

Giving your poodle lots of attention doesn’t just help them feel better about themselves—it also helps them stay safe when you’re not around! Many people think that separation anxiety is something that only affects dogs who are left alone for extended periods of time, but it can actually happen much sooner than many people realize.

6. Stressful Environment

If a poodle doesn’t live in an environment where they feel safe or lives in an abusive household. In that case, poodles tend to get hyperactive to protect their surroundings and develop anxious behavior; you may not be able to notice such changes.

You may not be able to notice such changes unless you know your pet well or are observant about their behavior.

7. Loss of a Family Member, Owner, or Handler

When a family member, owner, or handler dies, Poodles may exhibit signs of depression and anxiety. They may refuse to eat, become withdrawn and depressed, or even develop separation anxiety. This can be very distressing for the family members who are left behind and responsible for the dog.

Separation anxiety is a common psychological disorder in Poodles that affects their behavior when they are separated from their owners or handlers. The dog will exhibit signs of distress such as excessive barking and whining. Some dogs may try to escape from the home or yard in order to find their owner. In extreme cases, dogs may become destructive when left alone by chewing on furniture or even destroying doors in order to escape from the house.

Divorce can also cause severe emotional trauma for poodles as well as their owners. Many poodles suffer from separation anxiety when they lose their owner or other loved ones.

8. Recently Been Rehomed

This condition is especially common in poodles who have been rehomed several times. It’s not uncommon for these dogs to become so distressed by the new living situation that they’ll destroy furniture and clothing, or even try to escape from their new homes so they can return to an environment that feels more familiar.

It takes time for a poodle to accept change and being rehomed is as big a change for a poodle as can be. They’re intelligent animals with strong personalities and they don’t always take well to change. You need to be patient with them while they acclimate themselves to their new home, but also make sure that you keep an eye on them so they don’t injure themselves or others during their adjustment period.

9. Moved to a New Home

Your dog has been living in your home for years, and now you are moving. You may be excited about the new place, but your dog may not share your enthusiasm. Your dog could develop symptoms of separation anxiety while you are packing up or moving out.

Moving to a new house can cause separation anxiety in poodles
Moving to a new house can cause separation anxiety in poodles

While it is normal to feel sad or even depressed when you are forced to leave behind an old home, your dog’s reactions may be more severe. Your dog does not understand why life is changing so much for them at once, but they will try to make sense of their confusion by acting out in destructive ways that often include urinating or defecating on carpets and furniture as well as barking uncontrollably for hours at a time until they exhaust themselves.

It’s important to remember that dogs are creatures of habit and routine, so accepting such a big change can take time—even if they’re excited about it!

10. Old Age

It’s true that old age in poodles can be a factor that can cause separation anxiety more than people understand.

Poodle Separation Anxiety: Can Poodles Be Left Alone? 1

Poodles tend to be calmer and not as playful when they age, but this doesn’t mean they’re not interested in any activities.

Make sure your senior poodle gets the right diet, it is crucial for them to get the right nutrition. Check out this article for more information: Senior Poodle Nutrition: Guide To Choosing The Right Senior Poodle Food

If your poodle is showing signs of anxiety because of its age, try giving them some extra attention whenever you’re around.

Play with them every day if possible, even if it’s just for a few minutes — it will help them stay happy and keep them from feeling lonely when you’re gone for long periods of time.

What Should I Do If My Poodle Has Separation Anxiety?

If your poodle is suffering from separation anxiety, it’s time to do something about it.

Poodle Separation Anxiety: Can Poodles Be Left Alone? 2

Here are 4 things you can do to help a poodle with separation anxiety:

  1. Desensitization Exercises
  2. Make Yourself Leaving a Low-Key Event
  3. Aromatherapy
  4. CBD Infused Products

1. Desensitization Exercises

Desensitization means exposing your dog to a stimulus in small doses over time until he no longer reacts strongly to it. It’s a gradual process that takes time and patience, but it can be very effective for helping dogs with separation anxiety learn to cope without their owners around.

The idea behind desensitization is that if you can teach your dog that being alone isn’t scary or upsetting, he’ll be less likely to experience extreme stress when left alone or when you’re gone for an extended period of time.

The key is slowly introducing him to these new experiences so that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by them—and eventually learns how not to panic when they happen again.

There are four key components to the Desensitization Exercise:

  1. Finding out what the triggers for your departure are to your poodle
  2. Desensitizing Pre-departure Triggers one by one
  3. Combining the Pre-departure Triggers
  4. Gradually Practice Leaving

Let me explain how you can put this into action.

Step 1: Find out what the triggers for your departure are to your poodle.

Before you can start addressing your dog’s anxiety, you need to figure out the pre-departure triggers for that anxiety. For example, does your poodle start to whine when they see you pick up your car keys? How about when you put on your shoes?

A poodle getting anxious when the woman goes to grab her purse to leave for work.
A poodle getting anxious when the woman goes to grab her purse to leave for work.

Make a list of the events that occur before the person in question leaves the house. Examples of events could be grabbing your car keys, putting on your shoes, grabbing your purse, etc.

Next, you need to grade each trigger from Level 1 to 5 based on its severity.

  • Level 1: Does not seem to cause anxiety, does not seems to be bothered by it
  • Level 2: No reaction from the dog, even when he notices
  • Level 3: Dog notices and stares
  • Level 4: Clear signs of stress such as whining, drooling, and panting
  • Level 5: Exhibiting multiple signs of stress

After you’re done figuring out what triggers your dog’s separation anxiety and graded its severity, it’s time to move on to the next step.,

Step 2: Desensitizing Pre-departure Triggers one by one

When there are no plans for you or the person in question to leave the house, go through the following process for each trigger one by one:

  1. After you’ve observed your dog’s reaction to the sight of your purse and the action of picking it up, figure out exactly when he reacts. Does he react as soon as you walk toward the trigger (car keys, shoes, purse, etc), right before you pick it up, or somewhere in between?
  2. From the point where your poodle begins to get anxious, step back a little.
  3. After doing the behavior one to three times at a level that doesn’t make your dog too stressed, walk away and get back to what you were doing normally.

Work on your dog’s pre-departure triggers randomly at different times during the day, one to three times a day. In time, practice each of the triggers until you can grade each one a Level 1.

If your dog seems stressed after a few of these sessions, please stop for the day and go back to what you would normally do. You can either try again after a couple of hours or the next day. The last thing you need is an anxious dog getting stressed out. 

Step 3: Combining the Pre-departure Triggers

Once your dog is comfortable with each individual pre-departure trigger, begin working on a number of them at once by combining them. Randomly combine the triggers in your list as much as possible before putting them together in their proper order.

Throw in an easy repetition here and there to keep your dog interested in learning.

Step 4: Gradually Practice Leaving

Once your dog can handle pre-departure triggers, combinations, and random repetitions, it’s time to practice the real thing – actually leaving.

Practice leaving to get your dog used to you leaving them for some time.
Practice leaving to get your poodle used to you leaving them for some time.

Here are the steps you may take:

  • You can start by walking closer to the door, step by step.
  • Once you can reach the door and your dog is relaxed, interact with the door as if you were going to leave but don’t actually open it. 
  • Next, you can move forward and start opening and closing the door a few inches every time. 
  • After that, you need to actually leave through the door and come back inside immediately, and shut the door. 
  • Once you can leave the door, try pausing for a minute before you come back in. 
  • Finally, gradually increase the time you pause before coming back in.

As your dog becomes more comfortable with the idea of you leaving, begin to use a “safe phrase” — one that lets them know they’ll see you again soon. You should use this phrase once you’re practicing leaving the house. I use “I’ll be back soon little buddy” with my poodle, but any phrase that comes naturally to you, and that won’t be used except during “safe” departures, is fine.

2. Make Yourself Leaving a Low-Key Event

When you pet the dog before leaving home and talk a lot, you’re sending the message that departures are supposed to be a big deal which makes you leaving them a stressful event. The same goes for returning home and making a big deal out of it. 

Greeting your poodle before leaving like this can cause them more anxiety.
Greeting your poodle before leaving like this can cause them more anxiety.

By acting calm when you leave the house, you can help to reduce your dog’s stress. When you have to be away from your pet, your poodle may spend the entire day waiting for you to come back home. This makes them anxious and stressed which can lead to other unwanted behavior such as hyperactivity and aggression.

Leaving a dog with separation anxiety for anytime between 10 and 30 minutes before departure and after arrival can help dogs cope with their anxiety.

I understand how precious it is to see your poodle be all excited to see you come back home. But trust me, you’re helping them by avoiding contact for a few minutes and keeping things low-key. Plus, you can give them loads of love and attention after some time. So it works out either way!

3. Aromatherapy to Combat Separation Anxiety

Aromatherapy can be an effective way to help dogs with separation anxiety.

Aromatherapy can help poodles be calmer
Aromatherapy can help poodles be calmer

Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety have a hard time adjusting to new situations and environments, and they often struggle to cope when their owners leave them alone, even for short periods of time. This can lead to destructive or aggressive behavior that can be stressful for both the dog and the owner.

Fortunately, there are several ways aromatherapy can help reduce your dog’s stress levels and make him or her more comfortable during these times of separation. Here’s how it works:

Aromatherapy uses scents that are pleasing to humans but also affect dogs’ brains in positive ways—and not just through smell! Studies have shown that certain scents can actually calm them down

Here are some of the ways you can use aromatherapy to help your poodle’s separation anxiety:

  1. Spray one of these scents on your dog’s bedding or crate pad to reduce anxiety while they’re home alone.
  2. Use a diffuser to release the soothing scent into the air of your home while you’re away from it—this will help keep the peace while you’re gone!

Aromatherapy can be a great option for reducing your pup’s anxiety while you’re away from home—but you’ll want to make sure that the essential oil(s) you choose are safe for dogs. I’ve got some recommendations!

4. CBD Infused Products

Dogs with separation anxiety can be a handful. A dog’s anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, from barking and howling to destroying furniture, so it’s important to find the right treatment for your pup.

CBD Infused Products Have Been Proven to Help Dogs Be Calmer.
CBD Infused Products Have Been Proven to Help Dogs Be Calmer. DYOR!

CBD is a natural substance found in cannabis plants that has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ease your dog’s pain during separation. It can also help with their anxiety by reducing their stress levels and making them feel calmer.

The best way to give your dog CBD is through a CBD-infused product like treats or oil. You can use these products to help your dog manage its symptoms during the day while you’re away or before bedtime.

Here are some of the highest-rated CBD products that may help your poodle with separation anxiety:

Are Poodles Prone to Separation Anxiety?

Two Poodles tired of waiting for their owner by the door
Two Poodles tired of waiting for their owner by the door

It’s important to understand that your poodle is prone to separation anxiety. This means that if you leave him alone for long periods of time, he could suffer from stress and anxiety. He may become destructive, try to escape from the house, or bark excessively.

The reason why many poodles develop this condition is that they’re one of the most common breeds to have it.

Poodles are intelligent and energetic dogs who love their owners and want nothing more than to please them; however, they also crave attention—a lot of it!

Can My Poodle Die From Separation Anxiety?

For owners of poodles, it’s important to know the difference between true separation anxiety and other behaviors that may look like it. This isn’t just a feeling—it’s a distinct behavioral change that only occurs when the owner (or whomever the dog is strongly bonded to) is not around.

A dog with separation anxiety may show mild symptoms and may cease to exhibit the behavior over time. However, in more severe cases, a dog with separation anxiety may injure themselves or suffer from health complications due to extreme distress. 

To the best of my knowledge, there are no documented cases of poodles dying from separation anxiety.

Does Separation Anxiety in Poodles Go Away on Its Own?

The answer to this question depends on the poodle.

  • Some dogs will have separation anxiety until they die. It’s not something that can be “cured,” it’s just part of their personality.
  • Some dogs will outgrow it. They may grow up, or they may develop other fears and anxieties in life that distract from their original separation anxiety.
  • In the majority of the cases, separation anxiety in poodles can be cured with desensitization training along with other practices such as aromatherapy or using CBD-infused products.

How Long Can You Leave a Poodle With Separation Anxiety

The answer to this question is that it depends on your specific dog. Some dogs can be left for a few hours, some for a few days, and others not even for a few minutes.

It’s important to realize that the time it takes to get over separation anxiety depends on the severity of their symptoms and how long they’ve had them.

If you have an anxious pup who has never been left alone before then you should not leave them alone for longer than one who has already gained confidence in being alone through gradual desensitization exercises.

Conclusion

Separation anxiety in poodles is a serious affliction and, if left untreated, can lead to more significant issues down the road.

However, it is by no means an insurmountable problem, and there are steps you can take right now to ensure that your poodle has a positive experience whenever you are out of sight.

The information provided in this article should help you and your poodle overcome any initial issues, with further steps also provided in this article.

Understanding how a poodle deals with anxiety will help you find ways to manage the triggers and work towards eliminating them. But remember that all poodles have their own personality and traits, so what works for one poodle might not work for another.

With patience and good planning, separation anxiety in poodles can be managed or even eliminated completely.

References And Resources For Further Reading

Sargisson, R. (2014, October 30). Canine separation anxiety: Strategies for treatment and management: VMRR.

A. (n.d.). Separation Anxiety.

Ogata, N. (2016, February 13). Separation anxiety in dogs: What progress has been made in our understanding of the most common behavioral problems in dogs?

McCrave, E. (2015, January 20). Diagnostic Criteria for Separation Anxiety in the Dog.

Tiira, K., Sulkama, S., & Lohi, H. (2016, December 12). Prevalence, comorbidity, and behavioral variation in canine anxiety.

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

2 comments

  1. I have a 10-year-old mini poodle that exhibits terrible separation anxiety. Even if I just go to the toilet, he will sit and cry. If I go out, he will moan and pant and worse, jump on me, wet the floor, and ruin the door mat and the runner carpet. My patience’s running out and I don’t know what to do.

    1. Jennifer, I am sorry to hear that your dog seems to be suffering from separation anxiety. I recommend that you practice the exercises you have read above and give your dog some more time, start by training your poodle in smaller intervals, be patient with him as patience is crucial when it comes to mental illnesses. A trusted trainer who can help him would be your best option if you aren’t able to do it yourself.

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