Good knowers and proud owners of Yorkshire Terriers are aware of the complex personality this breed is representing. A contrast of cuteness packages with a fragile label on it, and protective, defending Terriers can be both of a challenge and a funny enjoyment for Yorkie’s owners. Although they can be seen as spoiled and demanding, Yorkies are actually just complexed and they need proper care and discipline.
Sometimes it is inescapable to leave your dog alone at home, especially because it is recommended for Yorkies to spend their time inside, in a warm and safe place (although they need plenty of outdoor activity). Regarding all that has been said above, Yorkies can sometimes develop separation anxiety. Keep reading, and find out what it is, what are the symptoms, causes, and how to deal with it.
The Causes of Separation Anxiety
A pet is a part of your family. You should not consider it just an animal. Pets don’t have a level of self-awareness as humans do, but they are living beings with emotions and enough self-awareness to sense the lack of your presence. Yorkshire Terriers get so attached to their owners, that any separation causes remarkable amounts of stress and anxiety in them. Of course, your dog will get used to being separated from you for a short time, but sometimes it gets too long and too much for the Yorkies to handle. Separation anxiety doesn’t just represent sadness.
It means a variety of responses and changes in their behavior and can permanently affect them. Although separation anxiety is considered a condition that is developing when you and your loved one are far away from each other, each Yorkie has its own personality, so some of them may respond with this condition even when you leave them to go to the supermarket. Some Yorkies develop separation anxiety while they are still puppies, as expected, while others can develop it in their older age when they become more sensitive and super used to you.
How to Recognize the Separation Anxiety
When you leave, your dog can not be sure you will come back. It doesn’t know how many days have passed, and how many days will past until you come back. There are symptoms showing this difficult condition. First of all, Yorkies start barking uncontrollably and frequently. It is their way to call you, to hope for your response and your voice. They can’t ask anyone where you are and why you have left, so they are alarming that something is wrong. This barking can become aggressive. Yorkies with separation anxiety become destructive and disruptive.
They can literally turn into a dog that you won’t recognize. No matter what level of discipline you have established with your pup, Yorkshire Terriers can behave really bad and different. They go from good boys to really bad boys. You can expect them to ruin your furniture, relieve themselves all over your home, and not accept cuddles. Even when you come back, these symptoms can last, because of the Yorkie’s excitement and confusion that you are there again, or maybe because they feel angry with you. Some Yorkies try to escape. Maybe it is a sign of rebel, or they want to find you since you won’t find them.
Other than aggression and the lack of control, Yorkshire Terriers with separation anxiety sometimes just don’t react to anything. They don’t want to go outside, they refuse food and water. All they do is lay and sleep. Some Yorkies bark intensively, while others remain quiet for a long time. They are just super worried and sad, and that is the only emotion that is overwhelming them. Panic and pacing are common to this condition, so if your dog has been seen walking in an imagined path forwards and backward, it is a sign of separation anxiety. Yorkies start licking stuff excessively, eating and licking their feces. Any other unusual behavior can be developed, so if noticed when you are away from your Yorkie, it probably means the separation anxiety has found its way to this tender creature.
What to Do?
Going away on a trip for a few days usually means leaving your dog with somebody else, if you don’t have the possibility to take it with you. But if you leave Yorkie alone for a few hours in the house, you can make a safe place where it will play, and so there won’t be the opportunity for Yorkie to seek for you through the house. Yorkie will still be worried, but the pacing and walking in circles through the house are making separation anxiety even worse. Getting to know your dog can also help. Some dogs can get even more scared if they don’t have free space to walk, some can be calmed by a window view or even their favorite TV show! On the other hand, this can make it harder for some Yorkies. So have your dog’s preferences and habits in mind.
Leave your dog with its favorite toy. There are some toys, for example the ones meant for chewing, which can reduce the level of stress and distract Yorkie’s attention. Get the Yorkie distracted with a toy and a calm place before you leave. That is good preparation and a “base” for what is coming. Still, you shouldn’t be playing together at that moment. Yorkie needs to learn how to be alone and how to entertain itself.
There are some opinions that dog chewing and destroying our shoes is a consequence of us putting the shoes on when we are leaving. Myth or not, dogs still can learn some patterns we do before we leave. Try doing some of these activities throughout the day even if you are not leaving. Yorkie will still be upset, but when it sees that it is not a big deal, maybe it will stop reacting to you putting the shoes on or clinking with your keys. When you leave, your dog will still be upset and confused, but there won’t be a negative preparation for your walkout with sadness and emotions accumulating.
READ ALSO: Yorkshire Terriers Care Guide For Newbies
If there is time, try rescheduling your day. You need to make a balance between leaving your dog completely on its own and spoiling it. Combine the reorganization of your day and Yorkie’s day. You both need to change your habits in order to feel good. It is a compromise. If you are at work the whole day, don’t go to the after-work drink, for example. That can wait until the evening, or weekend. You have a loved one in your home, you are a family, so this shouldn’t be a frustrating obligation for you.
Photo credit: @yorkiegirlchloe / @austin_the_yorkie_crew