How to Manage Separation Anxiety in Your Boston Terrier


Boston Terrier separation anxiety is a common behavior problem among this breed of dog. It is a disorder in which a dog experiences intense negative emotional reactions such as fear, panic, and distress when they are separated from their owners. Symptoms of the disorder can include excessive barking, chewing, digging, and pacing, as well as destructive behavior that can sometimes cause physical injury to the dog or damage the home.

Dealing with a dog that suffers from separation anxiety can seem like a daunting task. It is important to recognize the signs of separation anxiety and to create a behavior modification plan to address it. It is also important to understand that separation anxiety is a behavior disorder, not a disciplinary problem, and should be treated as such. This means understanding the underlying cause of the behavior and finding ways to support the dog and lessen the anxiety response.

This may include providing increased mental and physical stimulation, instituting a consistent routine, modifying the environment of the home, using calming aids such as calming music or pheromone sprays, and safely and gently desensitizing the dog to their owners leaving the home and returning. It is also important to take the time to reward the dog for positive behavior and to create a bond of trust. With the proper care and attention, it is possible to reduce the severity of the symptoms of separation anxiety and create a better life for the dog.

featured image for How to Manage Separation Anxiety in Your Boston Terrier post

What is separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is an emotional disorder characterized by the distress, fear, and/or anxiety a pet feels when separated from its owners. It is commonly seen in companion animals, such as Boston Terriers, and is often caused by strong attachment between the pet and its owner. Signs of separation anxiety in Boston Terriers include excessive barking and whining, chewing and destructive behavior, toileting indoors, repetitive pacing, and depression or loss of appetite.

To help a Boston Terrier with separation anxiety, it is important to establish a regular routine for feeding, exercising, and toileting that can be maintained even while you are away from the pet. It can also help to gradually allow brief separations so the pet can get used to it. Providing the pet with puzzle feeders, toys, and other activities can also help keep them occupied while you are away. If a Boston Terrier is displaying severe signs of separation anxiety, it is important to contact a licensed veterinarian for a diagnosis. With effective treatment, separation anxiety can be managed and your Boston Terrier can have a happy and fulfilling life.

Why it can be a problem for Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers can have a greater tendency than other breeds to suffer from separation anxiety. Symptoms may include excessive barking, destructive behavior, moping, or attempts to break out of the house. Causes can vary from feeling insecure because of lack of socializing and training, or a physical health issue.

The most important step in dealing with Boston Terriers separation anxiety is solving the underlying issue. This could include having a checkup with the vet if there is a suspected health problem, or attending puppy classes and working on obedience training. Ensuring the dog has plenty of physical and mental stimulation throughout their day can also help.

For longer term life improvements, look to boost your dog’s self-confidence and security. This could include: having a companion, making sure your dog feels safe and secure in their environment, and being consistent with their routine. It’s important not to reward anxious behavior, as this can reinforce the behavior.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Dealing with Boston Terrier Separation Anxiety can be a challenging task for pet owners, but it is important to keep in mind that anxiety is a common problem for dogs of all sizes. The following are the most common symptoms of separation anxiety in Boston Terriers:

1. Excessive barking or howling: One of the first and most common signs of separation anxiety is excessive barking and/or howling when the pet owner leaves the home.

2. Destructive behaviors: Some Boston Terriers may become destructive when left alone, chewing and/or digging through walls, furniture, and other items.

3. Panting, trembling, and/or pacing: These behaviors can indicate anxiety or a sense of distress that can manifest in a variety of ways.

4. Anxiety when separated: Boston Terriers may become anxious and even aggressive when forced to be separated from the owner or family members.

5. Inappropriate elimination: There are several different ways that a Boston Terrier may express their anxiety, including inappropriate elimination in the home.

6. Excessive fear of loud noises: Separation anxiety can also manifest itself as fear of thunderstorms, fireworks, or other loud noises.

It is important to note that these are only symptoms of separation anxiety. In order to fully diagnose and treat your Boston Terrier, a professional vet visit is recommended.

boston terrier looking out the window waiting for its family

Behavioral Changes 

Dealing with Boston Terrier Separation Anxiety requires both environmental and behavioral changes to help alleviate the anxiety. Environmental changes involve making the environment a positive and comfortable place, like ensuring there are no loud noises the dog may be scared of or making sure the dog has plenty of toys to interact with. Behavioral changes involve teaching the dog obedience, eliminating bad behaviors, and providing plenty of affection and reassurance. Additionally, behavior modification techniques can be used to help the Boston Terrier adapt to being alone for longer periods of time and create positive associations with being separated from their owner. This may involve desensitization exercises, by gradually increasing the amount of time the owner is away from the dog, and counter-conditioning to positively reinforce good behaviors that occur when the owner is gone.

Physiological Changes 

Physiological changes associated with Boston Terrier Separation Anxiety can include increased heart rate, panting, shaking, drooling, restlessness, and increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These physiological changes can cause the dog to display behaviors such as barking, digging, chewing, and pacing. The changes can also cause changes in appetite or digestion and can increase the dog’s susceptibility to diseases. In the most extreme cases, Separation Anxiety can even lead to physical harm as the dog tries to escape in a desperate attempt to reunite with its master.

Causes of Separation Anxiety

Boston Terriers are very loyal and devoted to their owners, and they can develop separation anxiety when they are left alone. Symptoms of separation anxiety can include barking, destructive behaviors, soiling, pacing, and even self-injurious behaviors like chewing or licking themselves excessively. To effectively deal with Boston Terrier separation anxiety, owners must first understand the reasons why the behavior occurs.

Common causes of Boston Terrier separation anxiety include:

1) Genetic predisposition. Some Boston Terriers may have a genetic predisposition to develop separation anxiety, and it can often be difficult to identify if it is a part of their breed or simply an individual trait.

2) Past negative experiences. Boston Terriers who have suffered from neglect, abandonment, or trauma can develop separation anxiety as a result.

3) Too much socialization. Boston Terriers who have been overly socialized can become dependent on their owners, and find it difficult to be alone.

4) Changes in the home. Boston Terriers may develop separation anxiety if they experience sudden changes in their home, such as a new pet, a move or a change in their owner’s schedule.

5) Separation from littermates. Boston Terriers can grieve when separated from their littermates, which can cause them to develop separation anxiety.

In order to effectively manage Boston Terrier separation anxiety, owners must first identify the underlying cause and create


Genetics play a role in the development of separation anxiety in Boston Terriers. Studies show that separation anxiety is more prevalent in certain breeds, such as Boston Terriers, than in other breeds. The reasons behind this vary, however, some have suggested that the history of the breed has contributed to an increased anxiety level among Boston Terriers when separated from their owners. This may be due to the fact that Boston Terriers were originally bred as working dogs and thus, they are bred to be very attached to their people. Consequently, if Boston Terriers don’t get enough attention and love from their owners, they tend to become anxious and clingy.

To help manage separation anxiety, it’s important to understand the behavior, provide the pet with plenty of love and attention, and provide the pet with an environment that is free of stress. Exercising the pet can be a great way to help reduce their stress levels and provide them with an outlet to expel energy. If the behavior persists, it’s important to consult with a qualified veterinarian or pet behaviorist. Proper socialization and careful training techniques can be very effective in helping to reduce separation anxiety and help these dogs feel more secure when left alone.


Separation anxiety is an extreme fear of being away from their owner and can manifest in Boston Terriers by destructive behavior, barking/whining, urinating/defecating indoors, and/or a general refusal to do anything. It is extremely important to understand what causes separation anxiety in order to deal with it effectively.

The most common causes of separation anxiety in Boston Terriers include loneliness, boredom, overexcitement and lack of exercise. It is important to identify the reason before attempting to treat the problem.

Stress can worsen separation anxiety in Boston Terriers, so it is important to try to reduce it. This can be done by providing them with plenty of exercise, affection, and attention whenever necessary. Leaving their toys and treats around the house can also help keep them entertained. Additionally, you may want to provide them with a comfortable bed or crate to help them relax when they have to be left alone. Training can also help to reduce feelings of stress and ease a Boston Terrier’s fear of being alone.

a boston terrier looking said waiting for some friends

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety

1. Crate train your Boston Terrier: Crate training helps a lot when it comes to managing separation anxiety. It gives your Boston Terrier a small, comfortable space that will be associated with safety and security, not panic and fear.

2. Keep your Boston Terrier occupied while you’re away: Before leaving your Boston Terrier for an extended period of time, make sure that he has plenty of safe toys and chews to keep him busy.

3. Get the timing right: Try to avoid leaving your Boston Terrier for long stretches of time and instead stick to short periods of separation. The key is to gradually increase the duration of time away so that your pet can build up his ability to cope.

4. Exercise your Boston Terrier regularly: Exercise and social activities can help your Boston Terrier use up excess energy. Not only that–it’s also great for distracting them from the fact that you’re gone for a period of time.

5. Have a daily routine: Establish and stick to a daily routine so your Boston Terrier knows what to expect when it comes to feeding times, playtimes, and other activities. Having a consistent schedule will help ease daily stress and anxiety.

6. Maintain a calm demeanor: As much as possible, try to remain calm when it is time to part from your Boston Terrier. This helps reduce your pet’s stress and anxiety.

Establish a Daily Routine

A daily routine can be an effective tool to help a Boston Terrier cope with separation anxiety. It’s important to introduce the routine gradually, as abrupt changes in the routine can worsen the anxiety.

Part of the daily routine should include an exercise component. Depending on the age and energy of the dog, walks, runs, and playtime can help with the pup’s anxiety. Scheduled walk times can provide a calming effect and allow the pup to burn off extra energy.

In addition, set aside time for relaxing activities like calming music, soft petting, or treats. This can ensure your Boston Terrier is getting enough deep relaxation time throughout the day.

Finally, as much as possible, maintain a consistent routine. This includes regular meal times, bedtimes, and social interaction. The routine should be used to establish and maintain a sense of security for the dog.

Provide Stimulating Toys and Puzzles

When dealing with Boston Terrier separation anxiety, providing stimulating toys and puzzles can be a great way to keep your pup engaged and distracted. Toys like treat dispensers, KONGs, and puzzles can help relax and focus your pup when you are away. Fill the toys with yummy treats and kibble to keep your pup occupied while you are away for extended periods of time. Not only will they be able to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to get the treats, but it will also take their mind off their separation anxiety. This can also help to reduce the stress levels associated with your pup not having you around.

Exercise and Training

Exercise and training are important components of managing Boston Terrier separation anxiety. Exercise is important because it helps reduce stress and release hormones that help your pet feel better. A good exercise plan should include regular walks and playtime. Training is also important in managing separation anxiety in Boston Terriers because it helps them to better understand how to cope with being left alone. Training should focus on teaching your pet the appropriate behavior for when you leave and when you return. Teaching a few basic commands can also help make it easier to leave your pet alone for short periods of time. Additionally, you should work with your pet to help them develop self-confidence and strong problem solving skills so they can face difficult situations when they are alone.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Separation anxiety in Boston Terriers can be a serious problem and requires the attention of both you and your veterinarian. Speak to your vet about your concerns and work together to develop a plan that makes sense for your individual pup—whether it includes medication, behavioral modifications, or a combination of both. Potential treatments could include providing your pup with comfort objects, such as a favorite toy or blanket, when you are not home; providing an enriched environment while you are away; or enrolling in a pet-care or doggie-daycare program. Your veterinarian can also help you identify and remove stressors in the home environment and provide tips on how to separate from your pup in a positive way. With a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, you and your vet can find a way to manage separation anxiety in your Boston Terrier.


Dealing with Boston Terrier Separation Anxiety requires being mindful of their tendency to worry and need for companionship. While the initial step is to identify the cause of the anxiety and address it through proper instruction, behavior modification, and management, it is important to provide them with tools and strategies for coping with the anxiety when it arises. This includes providing enrichment and activities to occupy their minds during periods when they are alone, along with providing comfort and reassurance when they are upset. Ultimately, developing a good relationship with your Boston Terrier is essential, as it can help mitigate the effects of their separation anxiety, and ultimately give you both the tools you need to find an effective way to manage this condition.

a boston terrier with his ears up listening for his family

Summary of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a condition in which an animal experiences distress when it is separated from its people. This behavior often manifests itself in various forms such as excessive barking, destructive behavior, and increased heart rate. Dealing with separation anxiety is particularly important for Boston Terriers, who are especially prone to the condition due to their tightly-bonded nature. It is important to provide your Boston Terrier with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to decrease the anxiety they may experience. Other strategies include creating a safe space for them to take refuge in, using a crate that they can call home, and providing them with toys, treats, or a well-fitting harness. Additionally, gradually acclimating them to being alone can be beneficial, starting out with shorter periods of time and slowly building up from there. Providing your Boston Terrier with a secure environment and outlet to practice these coping skills is important for helping them to manage their anxiety.

Recent Posts