Poodle Separation Anxiety: Can Poodles Be Left Alone?

By Nancy Williams •  Updated: 08/24/23 •  19 min read

If you’re lucky enough to share your home with a poodle, you’ve undoubtedly noticed their affectionate and keenly intelligent nature.

These charming dogs often form a deep emotional bond with their owners. But what happens when that bond crosses into the territory of separation anxiety?

You might be asking yourself, “Is my poodle actually suffering from separation anxiety, or is this normal canine behavior?”

Separation anxiety is a specific behavioral issue in which your poodle experiences elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and discomfort when you’re not around or they’re separated from their safe environment.

So, if you’ve ever returned home to find your throw pillows torn to shreds or your neighbors mention the constant barking while you’re away, you’re in the right spot.

We’re going to dive deep into how to spot the signs of separation anxiety and what you can do about it.

Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll walk away with a toolkit of strategies to help you and your poodle feel more at ease.

What Is Poodle Separation Anxiety?

An Apricot Poodle waiting for their owner to return home

Separation anxiety in poodles isn’t just your average case of puppy blues.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster where your poodle turns into a fur bundle of stress the moment you step out the door. They might start panting, pacing, or even engage in some “creative” redecorating with your favorite shoes.

This isn’t a poodle-exclusive club, by the way. Dogs of all breeds and ages can experience separation anxiety. But let’s face it, poodles, with their intelligence and keen emotional sensitivity, seem to feel it a little more intensely.

Ever notice how your poodle wants to be your constant shadow, following you from room to room? Yeah, they really do prefer to be by your side 24/7.

And it’s not just your poodle’s emotional wellbeing at stake here. I’ve heard countless stories of dogs being rehomed or, even worse, abandoned due to behaviors sparked by separation anxiety. It’s heart-wrenching for everyone involved.

The good news? While it might seem like a mountain to climb, with a sprinkle of patience and the right approach, separation anxiety is totally manageable. In fact, you’ll find that a well-executed plan can turn the tide for you and your poodle.

So if you’ve been wrestling with how to help your fur baby, keep reading. We’re about to dive into everything from identifying signs to effective treatments.

How Can I Tell if My Poodle Has Separation Anxiety?

Spotting separation anxiety in your poodle is a bit like playing detective. You’ve got to look for the clues that might indicate your pooch is stressed out when you’re not around.

Let’s be real, we’ve all heard a lonely howl or two, but when does it cross into something more concerning?

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

Here are the typical signs to watch for:

These signs are your poodle’s way of communicating that they’re really not cool with you being gone. They may not tick every box, but even one or two can signal that something’s up.

So, if you’ve been wondering why your usually well-behaved poodle suddenly turns into a tiny Tasmanian devil when you’re out, keep reading.

Why Do Poodles Get Separation Anxiety?

Oh, man, the “why” behind separation anxiety in poodles is such a tangled web, right? It’s like a puzzle where each piece plays a role in your poodle’s emotional state.

1. Genetic Predisposition

If you’re a poodle parent, you’ve got to know that poodles are like the Einsteins of the dog world. Smart? Absolutely. Emotionally complex? You betcha. Some of this emotional complexity could actually be hardwired, meaning it’s in their genes to be a bit more anxious when you’re not around.

2. Puppyhood Socialization

Picture this: Your poodle as a pup, eyes wide, ears perked, ready to explore. If they didn’t get that crucial “Hello, world!” experience, it can lead to anxiety issues later. Less exposure to people and other dogs during puppyhood can cause them to feel stressed more easily in new or alone situations.

3. The Owner Bond

When you and your poodle are like two peas in a pod, it’s awesome, right? But sometimes that closeness can tip the scales, and your absence feels like the end of the world for them.

4. Ghosts of the Past

Here’s the thing: dogs remember stuff. If your poodle had a rocky past—maybe they were mistreated or even neglected—they might take more time to warm up and can show separation anxiety symptoms when they finally do.

5. The Attention Game

I mean, who doesn’t love a little spotlight, right? Poodles are no different. They want to be the star of your life, and when they feel like they’re being pushed to the sideburner, anxiety can creep in. You’ve got to balance that work life and that dog life, my friend!

6. The Chaos Factor

Stressful home environment? Yeah, your poodle feels it too. They’re sensitive to the vibes around them, and a chaotic home can contribute to their own stress levels.

7. The Loss Blues

This one is heartbreaking. Losing a family member or an owner can be emotionally shattering for a poodle. They’re not just “pets,” they’re family, and they grieve in their own way, which can manifest as separation anxiety.

8. New Kid on the Block

Rehoming is a massive shift for any dog, but poodles? They take it especially hard. They need time to adjust and feel secure in their new environment. It’s like being the new kid in school, but worse because you can’t even understand the language.

9. The Big Move

Imagine if someone told you you’re moving to a new city tomorrow. Stressful, huh? That’s what your poodle might feel when you’re changing homes. Even the act of packing can get them antsy and anxious.

10. Senior Moments

Older poodles might get a touch more anxious, and it’s not just because they’re grumpy seniors. With age comes changes in health, vision, and hearing that can make the world a bit more frightening when they’re alone.

In any of these scenarios, it’s like your poodle’s brain is shouting, “Alert! Alert! Something’s off!” And while we can’t talk it out with them, we can definitely work on solutions to help ease their minds.

What Should I Do If My Poodle Has Separation Anxiety?

If you’ve identified that your poodle struggles with separation anxiety, you’re probably feeling a mix of concern and a little overwhelmed.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there are proven strategies you can put into action to help ease your four-legged friend’s anxious tendencies.

Poodle Separation Anxiety: Can Poodles Be Left Alone? 1

We’re going to dive into four different methods to help alleviate your poodle’s separation anxiety.

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

The first two methods—Desensitization and Making Leaving Lowkey—are a bit labor-intensive but tend to yield excellent results.

These are longer-term solutions that require a consistent and committed approach, but the payoff is definitely worth it.

The other two methods, Aromatherapy and the Use of CBD Infused Products, are generally easier to implement and can also offer substantial relief.

So grab a notepad or open up a new doc on your computer—let’s get into the nitty-gritty of making life better for you and your poodle!

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.

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:

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

If you’re the proud owner of a poodle, it’s good to know that these intelligent and affectionate dogs do have a tendency to develop separation anxiety.

While not every poodle will go through this, it’s relatively common in the breed.

So why are poodles more prone to separation anxiety than other breeds? One major factor is their intelligence.

Poodles are sharp and form deep bonds with their owners, which is mostly wonderful but can become problematic if they feel left out or alone.

They’re also quite energetic and require a good amount of attention and mental stimulation.

Basically, your poodle loves being around you—sometimes to the point where being apart feels like the end of the world for them.

While it’s flattering to be so adored, it does mean you might have to put in some extra effort to keep your pet feeling secure and happy when you’re not around.

Understanding your poodle’s natural tendencies towards separation anxiety can help you better prepare and take preventative steps to ensure both you and your pet live harmoniously.

Can My Poodle Die From Separation Anxiety?

The concern for your poodle’s well-being is totally understandable. While separation anxiety can indeed cause stress and lead to harmful behaviors, there’s some good news:

As far as we know, separation anxiety itself isn’t directly lethal for poodles or any other dogs.

However, that’s not to say that the condition should be taken lightly.

In severe cases, dogs may attempt to escape or engage in harmful behaviors like excessive scratching, which could result in self-inflicted injuries. These situations might lead to health complications if not addressed.

So while your poodle isn’t likely to die from separation anxiety, untreated symptoms can definitely put them at risk for injuries and other health issues.

The best course of action? Early intervention and treatment, so that both you and your four-legged friend can live a happier, more peaceful life.

Does Separation Anxiety in Poodles Go Away on Its Own?

Ah, the million-dollar question. Will your poodle’s separation anxiety just fade away like a bad haircut? Well, the answer varies.

For some poodles, separation anxiety is a lifelong challenge that never really goes away; it becomes a part of who they are. In these instances, the focus is often on managing the symptoms rather than seeking a “cure.”

On the other hand, some poodles actually outgrow the condition as they mature or as their life circumstances change.

You know how life gets, full of ups and downs; sometimes new anxieties or distractions take the edge off the old ones.

However, for most poodles, targeted interventions like desensitization training or even aromatherapy and CBD-infused products can make a world of difference.

With the right treatment plan, your poodle might not just manage their anxiety, but actually overcome it.

So, while the condition may not always go away on its own, there’s plenty of hope—and methods—for improvement.

How Long Can You Leave a Poodle With Separation Anxiety

When it comes to leaving a poodle with separation anxiety alone, the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Every poodle is different, and how long you can leave yours alone really depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of their anxiety and how accustomed they are to being alone.

For example, if your poodle is just starting to show signs of separation anxiety and hasn’t had much alone time, then leaving them for extended periods might not be the best idea.

In contrast, a poodle who has gone through gradual desensitization exercises and is generally more comfortable being alone can be left for longer stretches.

Basically, you’ll need to gauge your poodle’s comfort level and anxiety severity to determine how long is too long.

Even then, always remember that every dog has their limits, so make sure to check in and provide plenty of love and attention when you are around.


Dealing with separation anxiety in poodles can be a challenging but surmountable obstacle for both you and your four-legged friend.

While it’s a serious issue that shouldn’t be overlooked, there’s good news—you’re far from powerless in this situation.

The strategies and information laid out in this article are a good starting point to help you navigate the maze of separation anxiety.

But let’s be real—every poodle is unique, and what works wonders for one might be a complete dud for another. 🐩

The key to success here is a blend of patience, keen observation, and perhaps a little trial and error.

With careful planning and commitment, you can help your poodle adjust to times when you’re not around, making life a bit easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

So, take a deep breath, gather your resources, and step forward with confidence.

With the right approach, you can manage or even entirely kick that pesky separation anxiety to the curb. Good luck!

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.

Nancy Williams

👩🏻‍🦱 Hey, I'm Nancy! Over at PoodleGo, I'm "that passionate poodle lady". At home? Mom to 3 kiddos 👶🏻, ruled by 2 diva poodles 🐩, and one dramatic Persian cat 🐈‍⬛ who thinks he’s king. Poodles might seem all glam, but they’re more than just fancy fur. Dive into PoodleGo and discover the magic behind these curly superstars ✨. For some behind-the-scenes poodle tales 🐾, don't miss our newsletter 💌. Let's embark on this fluffy journey together! 💯