Written by Niki Tudge. Copyright 2011
Separation distress behaviors are those that occur as a result of diminished social contact with a person or a place. When a dog is left alone with diminished social contact it can be an aversive for the dog. The dog becomes conditioned to cues in the departure sequence and this can elicit panic related emotional responses which motivate the operant behaviors we observe such as pacing, chewing and scratching. The operant behaviors we observe as a result of this conditioned emotional response act to negatively reinforcethe dog helping to minimize the aversive.
If you have a dog that exhibits separation distress behaviors then contact your local DogSmith, there is hope and there are lots of things you can do to alleviate this distress and change you dogs behavior.