Black Schnoodle sitting in the grass

How To Help Your Schnoodle Manage Separation Anxiety

Does your Schnoodle get anxious when you get ready to leave the house? Are they quite excited to see you when you come back? Did they pee near your bed or chewed on your shoes or scratched the door? Or, did you simply catch them getting high on your underwear? These are all signs of separation anxiety and you must address them ASAP.

What Exactly Is Separation Anxiety?

 

This isn’t the usual whining and barking at everything while you’re out. But a serious condition in which a dog who’s hyper-attached to their person gets extremely stressed when left home alone. Of course, people are often frustrated and not sure how to deal with it all. It’s the main reason why a dog ends up being abandoned in the backyard and tied to a tree or even homeless in the worst cases. 

Don’t give up, there are many things you can do to help your Schnoodle cope with the sadness and boredom of being left behind. Firstly, it isn’t your dog who needs training, but you. The animal is just doing what dogs do when bored. Remember, you’re their everything and this makes you responsible for their comfort, and safety, and for keeping them busy at all times.

Ok but, you must first understand why your Schnoodle might behave the way they do. Imagine being left alone in a place where you can’t go out and meet people. A place where you can’t get a snack from the fridge or pour yourself a drink. You’re in a place where you can’t even go potty when you want to. You’d start scratching the walls pretty quick, right?

Well, it’s the same with your dog. They’re social animals who don’t like being alone. Perhaps your dog is stressed because their last person gave up on them and you took them in. A change in routine or schedule or the loss of a family member often leads to separation anxiety, especially in a fun-loving Schnoodle.

In short, separation anxiety is a sign that your Schnoodle is quite stressed when alone and will let you have it by howling, barking, and whining. They’ll pee, chew things up, dig holes, and scratch at windows and doors. Not only that, they’ll pace obsessively and even drool, pant, or salivate more than usual. A highly stressed animal will even try to run out of the house as soon as you open the door. In contrast, a well-adjusted dog won't do any of these things while you’re around. 

black  Schnoodle  looking upwards

The Personality of Your Schnoodle

 

The energy level of a given Schnoodle depends on their parents so it varies. Still, you should give them room to explore the outside world, play, and socialize, for about thirty to sixty minutes every day. Some may require less and others a bit more. Schnoodles make great jogging companions because they enjoy brisk walks.

This kind of dog can also adapt to a variety of residences but you must consider the size. For instance, a toy or miniature Schnoodle will adapt to apartment living but a larger one needs a backyard. A home with a fenced yard if possible. However, Schnoodles are companion dogs and don’t belong outside, especially not in a kennel. They’ll be on their best behavior when inside the house near their humans.

As you can imagine, your Schnoodle will experience separation anxiety when home alone, especially for long periods. Schnoodles aren't usually noisy but will become destructive if they’re bored. You’ll have a hard time reversing the damage once it starts. Still, don’t give up on them, it’ll take some work but you can do it.

How To Help Your Schnoodle Manage Separation Anxiety

 

The first thing you should do is consult a vet so they can rule out any medical problems in your Schnoodle. Non-human animals often pee in the house due to infections or hormonal issues, among other health conditions. This kind of behavior could also be due to incomplete housetraining. And, certain medications could overstimulate their bladder as well so ask your vet to review the prescription if your dog friend is undergoing drug treatment.

You can deal with milder cases of separation anxiety by giving your dog a special treat every time you leave. One they can play with for several hours, be it a puzzle, one of those you can stuff with peanut butter, or the treat of their choice. You’re to only give them this special treat when you're gone, and retrieve it when you come back. You may also want to leave out some recently worn clothes so they can smell you. 

Furthermore, don’t make a big deal out of leaving or coming back. Do tell them that you’re leaving and plan on coming back and to be good in a normal tone of voice. However, be chilled and try to ignore your Schnoodle for the first few minutes after you return. At least until you’re done hanging your keys and jacket and changing your shoes.

 black Schnoodle sitting on the couch

Serious Cases of Separation Anxiety in Schnoodles

 

A dog with severe anxiety won't be easily distracted by treats or toys so you need to be patient and slowly get them used to your absence.

You’ll know your dog has separation anxiety when you notice how nervous they get when they see signs that you're about to leave. Putting on your shoes and jacket or picking up your keys are common signs. So, do those very things but don't leave. For example, put on your shoes and then sit down. Pick up your keys and put them in your pocket and watch a movie. You have to do this over and over, several times a day.

Progressively begin to go out for short periods when your Schnoodle is not as anxious. Go to the bathroom and close the door and reappear when you’re done. Try going out the front door after telling the animal to stay and then go around and come in through the back door. Don’t make a fuzz about it and don’t respond to their excitement. Then, slowly increase the amount of time you're gone. Put on your shoes and pick up your keys and ask your dog to stay while you go into another side of the house.

Continue to increase the amount of time you're gone to get them used to the "stay” game. You want to be sure they’re relaxed before you leave. Don't rush things, only you can tell if the dog is ready to be alone for longer periods. Always be calm when you leave and when you return.

You might want to consider giving your Schnoodle some over-the-counter natural calming supplements if the problem becomes serious and you have to leave them on their own. Consider these Calming Zen Chews, they help maintain healthy stress levels, emotional balance, and disposition, and promote relaxation. 

two  Schnoodles playing in the grass

Be aware that drugs and supplements may calm your Schnoodle a bit but they’re only a short-term solution. Substances are merely a support mechanism to assist you and you must treat the root cause of separation anxiety.

In general, you want to make sure your Schnoodle is getting plenty of opportunities to play, socialize, and exercise every day. You may not realize it but a tired dog will be less stressed when left alone. The dog must also be mentally stimulated so do your best to play with them. Fetch is a classic but you can also resort to interactive puzzles. Work their mind as well as their body to keep them busy and too tired to be anxious while you're gone. They'll be a little bit happier -- although not as much as when you’re home.

How To Help Your Schnoodle Manage Separation Anxiety

 

According to dog trainer Cesar Milan, a dog is either afflicted by true separation anxiety or by simulated separation anxiety. The latter is a learned behavior that resembles true separation anxiety. He adds that it usually manifests when the dog lacks leadership and self-control. In turn, true separation anxiety causes real stress in your dog during your absence.

Simulated Separation Anxiety

Some dogs, especially those who have been neglected, will seek any kind of attention and even thrive on the negative kind in some instances. Thus, the dog knows they’ll get attention if they misbehave and even being a verbal reprimand for such behavior is rewarding. They feel validated.

You can overcome simulated separation anxiety by using a gradual approach, slowly increasing the amount of time spent in a kennel when you are at home as well as away-consistent obedience training, proper amounts of exercise, and strong leadership.

owner with her  Schnoodle in the outdoors

True Separation Anxiety 

This is challenging for anyone who leaves a dog alone at home, but guess what’s the most common reason for it? This kind of behavior is often encouraged by people with dogs, though unknowingly. Do you make a big fuss when you leave or come home? Well, you’re rewarding the dog’s concern regarding your absence and are stressing them further.

Instead, you must aim for a harmonious partnership with your Schnoodle. They should be self-confident and trust your leadership and count on you always being there at certain times to meet their needs.

A trusting relationship begins as soon as you adopt a dog, and this is a big change for any dog but particularly for puppies -- often taken from the litter too soon. Of course, your parently instinct may lead you to try to protect them and reassure them but this is a reward for undesirable behavior.

You must teach your Schnoodle to be quiet and settle down for increasing periods from the very beginning. Reward patience and calmness instead and let them do their thing when you take them to the park. They must learn to entertain themselves.

Do allow the dog to explore and learn the limits and boundaries of their new environment. They should respect your personal spaces as well as those of anybody else living under the same roof. Training is about discipline and consistency. This might be news to you but you’re not training the animal, you’re training yourself and any roomies you might have.

 Schnoodle with a uncertain look on it's face

Discipline Is Key to Correcting Separation Anxiety

This approach is how you communicate your expectations to your dog and make it a habit. Did you know your dog often feels guilty when you frown upon something they did? Take advantage of it but without overdoing it.

As we said above, training requires consistency and is a full-time job. Tell your dog what you expect from them every chance you have. Show them to wait to cross the street and to be nice to the animals they meet outside, including people. Have them sit or lie down and stay while you go to the bathroom or at night when you sleep in your bedroom. Also, teach them to sit and wait for guests to greet them first and to stay out of your way when you cook or clean.

Dogs are no different than children when it comes to educating them and teaching them manners. You want both to be respectful and self-confident so explain things to them. Yes, they understand everything you say, children do too.

Kennel Training 

A change in a dog’s routine can lead to separation anxiety. However, as we said above, destructive behavior is usually due to boredom and lack of stimulation. Most dogs have a “job” and it depends on their breed. For example, Retrievers retrieve, Terriers dig, and Schnoodles are quite proficient as therapy or performance dogs but are better as companions. They’re particularly good at sitting on your lap and being playful and lovable. Fun is their second name and their destiny is to be the center of your attention.

Unfortunately, local regulations regarding dogs along with our daily occupations often force us to repress their instincts instead of nurturing them. This is why you need to establish a balance between patience, obedience, and confidence in your dog and, of course, allow them as many opportunities for exercise, socialization, and affection. Hire a dog walker if you can’t do it yourself.

In the meantime, you might want to consider kennel training. Just keep in mind you must be there at the beginning to supervise.  

The easiest way to begin this kind of training is to tell your dog that this is their space and allow them to explore it. Let them in and out and lock them in for short periods and progressively increase the time they spend in it. You might want to feed them in there and throw in their favorite toy or bone, these are great stress relievers.

There are many toys designed to keep your dog when you’re away. These stimulate your dog but also relax them. Dogs shouldn’t perceive a kennel as punishment but as a safe, enjoyable place. It should be big enough for them to stand upright without their head touching the top and they should be able to fully extend, turn around, and lay down without a problem.

Schnoodle in a cage

Don’t put water in the kennel as they might spill it. Also, discourage them from barking while they’re there. There are barking collars to help control the dog in your absence but don’t use them unless your neighbors are annoyed by them and about to complete a petition asking your landlord to kick you and your dog out.

 

Place a kennel in the busiest room of your house while you’re there, it’ll help your dog deal with the daily activities around your home. Then, when it’s time to leave, inform them you’re leaving but are coming back -- do so without making a fuss.

When you come back, wait until your Schnoodle calms down and ask them to wait in the kennel while you open the door. Discourage any excitement -- they shouldn’t come bursting out to greet you. 

Keep more than one kennel if you need to. Place one near your bed if you want them close by. You can make it dark by placing a blanket on top, it’ll be just like a den and dogs love them.

In Conclusion

 

Regardless of whether you have a Toy Schnoodle, a Standard Schnoodle, or a Giant Schnoodle, all of these dogs need daily exercise, thirty to sixty minutes per day at least. Their original parents, Schnauzer and Poodle, are quite brainy, so this kind of dog requires lots of mental stimulation. Keep in mind that any dog lacking physical and mental stimulation will become destructive and be difficult to handle. 

A Schnoodle loves his people and just wants to please you. Train them instead of relegating them to the backyard. They’ll surely develop separation anxiety if you don’t interact with them for long periods. Having a dog is the best thing that can happen to you but it’s also a privilege as well as a responsibility. Don’t bring one home unless you have lots of time for them. Just put yourself in their paws. How would you feel if you were locked up all day long?

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