People purchase Dobermans without fully being familiar with the breed and assume that they are fine left home alone like other breeds. Unfortunately, they soon find that separation anxiety is a huge problem that causes them to whine, bark, destroy doors, furniture and everything else and even go potty in the house, despite the fact that they are housebroken.
Dobermans that suffer from separation anxiety will typically follow you from room to room, become stressed when they know that you are leaving and act overly excited when you come home as if you might never walk through the door again. Chances are, if your Doberman displays any of these traits, you need to properly address separation anxiety.
You may feel like your dog is acting out when you leave out of spite because he has been left home alone. This is actually not true. A dog suffering from separation anxiety is stressed because he is without his leader, not because of your actual absence. Causes of separation anxiety include any type of change in your family’s normal everyday routine, separation or divorce, death of a family member or another pet and a new addition being brought into the home such as a spouse, baby or additional pet.
If you are giving your dog an enormous amount of attention when you come home because you feel bad for leaving him, you are dealing with separation anxiety issues completely wrong. What you really should be doing is ignoring your dog’s excited behavior for the first few minutes until he calms down. After he is completely calm, offer him a generous amount of affection. This way, he is not associating the attention that he getting with your absence but rather with his good behavior.
Of course, this is easier said than done because many people have a difficult time ignoring their dog and end up giving in. However, once you do it a few times and stand your ground, you will see that it really does work.
Also, if you are dealing with Doberman separation anxiety, it is helpful to spend a day or weekend leaving and coming back all day. Begin by staying gone for five minutes and increase your time more every time you leave. Each time you come home, be sure to ignore the behavior until your dog is calm. Many people have had success using this method in as little as one day. The goal is to teach your dog that just because you leave, does not mean that you will be gone for a long time. This is important because most destructive behavior actually takes place in the first few minutes of you being gone.