How do I know if my cavoodle has separation anxiety or is it just normal dog behaviour?

Does your cavoodle constantly bark or cry when you leave the house or destroy your furniture while you’re gone? When you’re not in the same room with them do they pace or whine for you? Has your cavoodle become quite possessive over you with friends, family or other animals?


These could be early signs of separation anxiety and it’s important to see the signals early, understand why this behaviour is happening, reverse or prevent them in the first place. 


To prevent this behaviour in the first place it’s important you lay a good foundation so you can have a well-behaved cavoodle. Puppy training, teaching your cavoodle puppy to be home alone, exposing them to all types of environments and noises, socialising them with other dogs and sleep training or crate training are all ways you can assist in developing a well-adjusted cavoodle puppy. 

So what causes separation anxiety in cavoodles?

Similar to separation anxiety in human children, separation anxiety can occur in cavoodles too when they are separated from the person or people they are hyper-attached to. It can occur in the form of clinginess (always following you around), or fear (could be shown when they are aggressive towards anything they fear is dangerous to us) or in a strange environment. 

There are other situations which can also cause separation anxiety in cavoodles, such as:

  • Being left home along or for the first time 

  • Being left alone when they are used to constant human companionship

  • Past traumatic experiences

  • Their routine or schedule has changed

  • Change of owners

  • Change occurs in the family, such as a death of a family member or other pet, a birth, or someone moving out

  • Moving to a new house

  • It can also be genetic, dogs born to anxious parents are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders

If your cavoodle is suffering from separation anxiety here are a few behaviours to look out for:

  • Uncontrollable barking

  • Scratching doors and floors

  • Destructive chewing, such as chewing furniture

  • Urination and defecation in the house if they are house trained 

  • Pacing

  • Digging

  • Trembling

  • Increased heart rate

  • Rapid breathing

  • Attempting to escape the home or yard

  • Self harming in severe cases

However, many people are quick to label their cavoodles behaviour as separation anxiety when the following should be ruled out first:

  • Lack of physical and mental stimulation - this comes from exercise, walks, runs, playing fetch, playing tug a war with toys.

  • Boredom - need more human or dog to dog interaction.

  • Medical issues or side effects to medication.

  • Barking due to a trigger, such as an unfamiliar sight or sound, car, person, mail man.

  • Lack of appropriate chew items for teething puppies - treats or toys. 

How to prevent your cavoodle from getting anxiety?

Have you been working from home and will now be going into an office? If you have been your cavoodle’s constant companion but won’t be anymore you could be at risk of having your cavoodle develop separation anxiety. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prepare your cavoodle puppy for this change.

A personal example of separation anxiety behaviour we begin to see in Bambi was in the 2021 Sydney Covid lockdown which lasted 3-4 months, I was working from home alot, and she was pretty much with me 24/7. Since she was 14 weeks we have been going to a local small dog park and she used to play with all the oodles and run around for hours. One day about a month or two into lockdown i noticed she wasn’t playing as much with the other dogs and was more comfortable being around the humans or sitting in front of my feet which i thought was odd as she loved to have a good run around with her friends usually. 

Then one day while she was sitting near my feet at the dog park, another breed came up to say a friendly hello to me and she growled and barked the dog away. I wasn’t too sure if it was jealousy or she was being possessive but I didn’t like what I was seeing and I could only put it down to one thing.. anxiety and a change in our routine with us being together all day at home together while she slept under my feet while I worked. 

It started happening more regularly if there was a new dog she didn’t know at the park and tended to happen more with female dogs! It was so unusual for bambi as she's always been such a friendly pup and took us by surprise. 

When we needed to go out (which wasn’t very often in lockdown) we also noticed she used to whine a lot longer than she did as a pup pre-lockdown. When we were both working full time and left her alone for 8 hours a day she was fine and now she couldn’t handle being without us for more than 10 minutes!

So how did we reverse this separation anxiety in Bambi our cavoodle?

Once I did a bit of research I realised we needed to change up our routine to reverse this bad behaviour, this meant no more dog park for a while, no more sleeping under my feet when I worked and when I could go out I would try to leave her home for as long as possible to give her some time away from me so she wasn’t so attached. 

Even when I was home I would put her in her pen and let her settle in her bed away from where I was (out of sight)  while I did stuff around the house or when I was working in the other room so she wasn’t following me everywhere I went. 

I also tried to not give her too much attention or if she would whine for me to play with her, I would try to ignore her and encourage her to play without me so she could keep herself occupied. 

A good tool for that is to set them up with a snuffle mat and hide treats which will keep them entertained for a while!

We also avoided making a fuss when we left or came home, ignoring her for about 5-10 minutes before we left and not greeting her straight away when coming home until she was more calm. 

It takes time for them to change their habits but it’s all about consistency so don’t be too hard on yourself! Now we find her separation anxiety is much less than what it was during lockdown and going into the office and leaving her at home in her own space for hours actually helped create a “good separation” and find she is more balanced and happy. 

Other things you can do to help your cavoodle’s separation anxiety when you leave the house is:

  • Leave them a piece of clothing that smells like you, i usually leave a sock.

  • Establish a word or action to use every time you leave that will let them know you will be back, I use “mummy will be back”. 

  • Make sure they are exercised out! Morning walks are great! By wearing them out before you go to work it should help them to relax and rest while you’re not there.

  • Provide some audio stimulation like leaving a tv on or stimulation toys - make sure its safe to leave without supervision 

  • Make sure they have enough water and they’ve eaten and done their business before you leave. 

  • Doggy daycare - this is a great way for them to socialise if you have a local doggy daycare in the area that can tire them out

  • Get them a sibling! With dogs being pack animals, sometimes having a friend can help anxiety as well as keep each other entertained while you’re not at home.

If you are unsure if your cavoodle has separation anxiety, always speak to your vet to see if they can help or suggest any local behavioural trainers that can help you.