Why Your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix Experiences Separation Anxiety
The Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix is prone to experience separation anxiety when left alone for many reasons, many of which can be solved.
We know how it goes. You leave for work in the morning while leaving your dog (assume it's a Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix because that's the type we're going to talk about here) at home. You work for about eight hours straight (all the while wishing you were cuddled up at home watching 'Insecure' on Netflix). Then you get off work after a long day and head home dreaming about sinking into the couch and eating pizza and some peace. You get home, and it's absolute chaos.
You see that your dog has drilled holes in your furniture and destroyed some of your appliances. The walls are scratched, and the dog has spilled its food and water on the floor. There is pee and poop everywhere. Even more annoyingly, your cute Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix launches into you like a cannonball immediately you enter, yapping.
The next day, your neighbors complain about the noise, saying that your precious pooch barked all day yesterday and didn't let their sick child sleep and recover. They're pissed at you.
All you can do is say aloud to the dog, "What is going on!"
When all these things happen, your dog likely suffers from separation anxiety. And if your dog is a Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix, that anxiety is even worse.
But what is separation anxiety in dogs, and how does it start?
What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation Anxiety in dogs happens when your dog gets super stressed and has behavior problems when it's separated from you or left alone.
This research on separation anxiety says that separation anxiety may have its roots in nature. It is a natural canine instinct because dogs are pack animals. Without their pack, they are vulnerable and have a lower chance of survival. This behavior is identical to the wolf, which howls for days when it's separated from its pack or lost.
It's a call for help.
This instinct explains why separation anxiety happens in many dogs (some estimates say about 14% of dogs get separation anxiety at one point or the other). Some breeds are more likely to develop separation anxiety than other breeds, and the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix is right up there. However, it is most common in dogs that are hyper-attached to their owners. The main reason for this is their ancestry.
The Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix is a breed that comes from a mix between the Pomeranian and Chihuahua species.
It's effortless to see why. Pomeranians are tiny, beautiful dogs, and Chihuahuas are sassy little things. Hence, it is easy to see why the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix would have been in demand. People had to breed up the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix to meet demand and have an even cuter dog.
But both of the parent breeds of the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix also rank high in almost every list of dog breeds most likely to experience separation anxiety. Like this list that looks adorable. And this one too. So the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix is already prone to having separation anxiety, just based on their ancestry.
But apart from being the mix of two notoriously anxious breeds, what else causes separation anxiety in your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix?
What Causes Separation Anxiety in the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix?
Many things can cause your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix to develop separation anxiety. Let's dive into some of these causes:
A Sudden Change in Doing Things or Routine
This pandemic has been a pretty rough time for many human beings. But for many dogs, it's just the opposite. Their owners stayed at home every hour of every day, so the dogs got all the attention they wanted and even more. Their owners were lonely and sad, so they relied on the dogs for emotional support. They cuddled more with the dogs, played with them more, walked the dogs more, and did every other thing too.
But the pandemic is slowly getting under control. People can move around again. Those who can are going back to work, and this means that many dogs will suddenly find themselves spending less and less time with their owners.
This sudden change in routine can very easily cause dogs that have grown attached to develop separation anxiety whenever their owners leave. When talking about separation anxiety, the ASPCA has said that "An abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety."
Of course, some breeds, like the Basset Hound, will eventually adapt to spending less time with their owners (those dogs are pretty chill). However, some species with excitable personalities like the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix will find it harder to adapt.
It will probably be difficult or impossible to change your schedule to accommodate your dog (We know, life drives a hard bargain, doesn't it?). So you have to find other ways to soothe your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix when you're gone, something that'll you need to ease their minds when you're away.
Cuddle blankets, for example, like our Calming Cuddle Blanket Plus, which contains our signature Calming Insert. The Calming Insert consists of a well-crafted blend of materials to keep your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix calmer for longer.
It may not be a total cure for separation anxiety (that requires planned training from you and possibly medication), but it guarantees a calmer dog. Calmer dogs are less likely to freak out when you're gone and make a mess. Instead of holes in your chair, you might meet your cute doggy snuggled in and waiting for you.
Plus, for every one of these you buy, we donate $1 to a no-kill shelter in need of funds, which is nice.
You, the Owner. Yes, You
Miguel Ibáñez Talegón and Bernadette Anzola Delgado did some pretty cool research on separation anxiety in dogs. There, they implied that the owners cause separation anxiety in dogs.
According to them, it is natural that when puppies are 2-3 months old, they are separated from their mother. At this stage, they are still really attached to their mother. When the separation happens, the pup becomes sad and suffers from an 'ill-state.' During the ill-state, the dog can do things like constantly whining during the night and lose appetite.
But the dog adapts eventually, most especially when an owner adopts him. He bonds with that owner and becomes attached to them, like all dogs. Adoption is even a good thing for the dog because it allows him to finish developing naturally.
When the dog does not have an owner, he still adapts in healthy ways. He begins to socialize more with other dogs. He begins to explore his surroundings and learns how to live without his mother constantly by his side.
A dog with an owner transfers his attachment to that owner, and many times, the owner still treats the dog like a mother treats him in the early stages of his life. The owner still responds to every demand of the dog, even when the dog reaches puberty, and should not be as dependent as that. According to them, this then leads to a hyper-attachment that is 'nothing but affective dependence,' which is a cause of separation anxiety.
Pretty well said, wouldn't you agree?
The Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix that easily gets attached happens quickly and intensely, and separation anxiety easily develops.
What you could do here is leave some of your clothes with your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix. They will still have your scent in them and will probably provide some measure of comfort to the dog.
You Again, and How You Behave When You Return
Many people have assumed that dogs mirror the feelings of their owners. Recently, this seems to have been backed up by several scientific studies. This mirroring explains how your reactions when you arrive after a day at work contribute to whether your dog develops separation anxiety when you leave.
When you come home after a long, probably mind-numbing day at work, you'll probably want to greet your dog so much. You've missed him after all, and he missed you too. So you'll want to give him big hugs, plenty of kisses, and loads of attention.
But doing this when your dog has bouts of separation anxiety is not a good idea. When you arrive and rush straight to your dog, squealing, "Oh, I missed you so much! " it sends a message to your dog that it was right to be worried.
For easily excitable dogs, such as the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix, this can increase the dog's anxiety over time.
What you should do instead when you come home is be casual. Casually enter, casually pour a drink of water, do other things like checking your mail. Then calmly approach your dog and greet it matter-of-factly. Generally, delay for a minute or two.
After that, take your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix out for a bathroom break, and then play to your heart's content! Playing is essential because it helps your dog release pent-up energy and enjoys quality time with you.
The goal is not to altogether withhold affection from your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix. You're a human with feelings, after all. The goal is to hold it back when it does more harm than good.
A Major Life Change
Significant life changes can include different things. Some of them are changes in the household (like a birth or a death), bringing the dog home from a shelter, or moving apartments.
All these events can be stressful for any dog, but emotional dogs like the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix can be even more stressful and develop separation anxiety.
There is no one way to solve separation anxiety that results from significant changes except to give the dog a chance to adapt to the new situation.
Actively training him to regard the new changes as usual and not a big deal also helps.
While training it, you also need to find ways to calm your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix when you have to leave for a while. Treats are a great way to do so, especially if you have enough that covers the period you'll be gone. However, these can take longer than you want or have. If the treats contain safe calming agents (like our Calming Zen Chews), then even better! They'll help your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix relax even more when they're feeling anxious.
We have seen some of the causes of separation anxiety in the Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix. So what can you do about it?
What Can You Do About Separation Anxiety in Your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix?
You can do different things for your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix to help cure him of this condition.
Some of them are:
First, you have to know if your dog has separation anxiety or if the behavior is just a one-off thing.
The American Kennel Club says that you should 'be sure it's not a case of inadequate training.' A great way to know is to videotape it while you're away.
If your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix shows the following symptoms: pacing; excessive barking; destructive acts, excessive drooling or panting; and multiple attempts to escape, then it most likely has separation anxiety.
Once you know that your dog has separation anxiety, you can consider many different treatments.
Counterconditioning is one way. It is a treatment process that changes an animal's fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. For example, you could leave treats as the Calming Zen Chews around the house for him to get, like an Easter egg hunt.
Be sure to remove these special treats as soon as you return home so that your dog only gets them when he's by himself.
Treats may not always work, though, because many Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix dogs get too anxious to eat while their owners are away. You'll have to find other counterconditioning methods. The AKC and ASPCA websites have some excellent guides.
Desensitization is another way. Desensitization is similar to counterconditioning, but the focus is to change the dog's perception of an event from bad to not a big deal.
You could desensitize your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix to your departure cues. They probably know that you take your keys, put on shoes, and take your laptop bag when you're leaving. Gradually, they associate these actions with going and begin to feel anxious when you start doing them.
Desensitization will mean you will do things like taking your keys, jingle them, and then going to the kitchen to eat a snack. You could put on your shoes and then sit down to watch TV.
With time, your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix will come to associate these actions, not as you are preparing to leave, but as you are doing random stuff. Maybe it will wonder why you're weird. We don't know how dogs think.
Before you begin desensitizing, we recommend that you consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) to draw up a desensitization or counterconditioning plan. If you can't find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), but be sure they are qualified.
Make your house as comfortable as possible when leaving. The least you could do is help your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix stay calm when you're gone. Make them comfortable with toys and whatever is available. Make sure their beds are comfy and soft, like the Calming Cuddle Bed with its great design.
Also, make sure that the normal food and water are available and easy to reach apart from treats. Water, especially because everything needs water. The Calming Fountain Plus is good for storing and dispensing water on demand for your adorable Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix. It has an eye-catching LED light that can hold your dog's attention, and it can hold up to 2.4 liters of water, keeping it fresh for as long as your pooch needs it.
Medications can also help. Medication is usually a last-ditch thing. When your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix does not respond to desensitization or counterconditioning or treats, or any other methods, medication can be the next option.
Some vets recommend medications like amitriptyline, used for treating depression, or alprazolam, prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders.
These meds require a prescription, but they're safe for almost every pet. But as always, consult your vet.
Finally, separation anxiety is stressful for both your dog and you. But it doesn't have to be the norm. There are plenty of trusted websites online, such as the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA, with extensive guides on the topic. Speak with your vet also.
Your Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix deserves the best, and so do you.