Alleviating Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety: Tips from Expert Pet Sitters in Columbus, Ohio

Anxious dog waiting at home in Columbus, Ohio, missing its owner

Does the sound of your car keys or the glimpse of your luggage seem to unsettle your furry friend? When you come back home, do you find yourself welcomed by an overwhelming display of joy, or maybe discover a shoe or piece of furniture that’s been curiously nibbled on? As experienced pet sitters in Columbus, Ohio, we’ve encountered these situations often and have some insights to share about what might be happening…

It’s likely that your beloved dog is showing symptoms of separation anxiety.

What is Canine Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety in dogs is a complex and emotionally charged issue, often misunderstood and overlooked by many pet owners. This condition extends beyond the typical mischief of a bored pup, actively delving into the realm of intense psychological distress. This is why understanding and addressing separation anxiety is crucial for a harmonious pet-owner relationship.

What Triggers Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

The roots of separation anxiety in dogs can be traced back to various causes. Here are some of the primary triggers:

  1. Initial Experiences of Solitude: For some dogs, the root of separation anxiety lies in their initial experiences of being left alone. The sudden lack of presence from their human companions can induce profound panic and fear.
  2. Transition to New Guardianship: A change in ownership or living environment can significantly impact a dog, especially for those moving from shelters to private homes. Adapting to new caregivers and surroundings can be a source of considerable stress and anxiety.
  3. Routine Disruptions: Dogs thrive on routine, and significant changes in their daily lives can cause them stress. Such changes might encompass shifts in the household’s schedule, relocating to a different home, or adjustments in family dynamics. Even introducing a new element, like hiring a dog walker in Columbus, represents a change as it brings a new person into their familiar environment.
  4. Loss and Separation in the Family: The departure or loss of a family member, whether it’s a human or another pet, can have a profound effect on a dog’s emotional state, often leading to feelings of abandonment and heightened anxiety.

Actively addressing these triggers with understanding and appropriate care helps dogs overcome separation anxiety and ensures their emotional health and happiness.

Identifying Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Recognizing the signs of separation anxiety is the first step towards helping your dog. Unlike the occasional naughty behavior, a dog with separation anxiety exhibits specific symptoms that intensify in the owner’s absence. These include persistent and excessive vocalization like barking or howling, which is often the dog’s way of expressing distress. House training mishaps are also common, with previously well-trained dogs having accidents indoors. This behavior isn’t out of spite but rather an indication of the intense stress they are experiencing. Addressing these behaviors to a Columbus, Ohio dog trainer can be a helpful route to take in managing separation anxiety.

Destructive tendencies, such as chewing or scratching at furniture, doors, and personal belongings, are also tell-tale signs of separation anxiety. This behavior is often a dog’s attempt to escape or engage in activities that provide some relief from their anxiety. Increased drooling, panting, or salivating, along with obsessive pacing or attempts to break free, are other symptoms that signal a dog’s struggle with being alone.

Effective Solutions for Managing Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Managing separation anxiety in dogs involves a range of strategies, each tailored to address specific aspects of the anxiety. Here’s how you can divide these strategies into sections for better understanding and implementation:

1. Training and Behavioral Approaches

  • Gradual Desensitization: Start by leaving your dog alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration. This helps them get accustomed to being alone.
  • Counterconditioning: Pair your departure with something positive, like a special treat or their favorite toy, to create positive associations.

2. Creating a Comfortable Environment

  • Safe Space: Establish a specific area in your home where your dog feels secure, such as a crate or a designated room.
  • Routine and Consistency: Maintaining a regular schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime can provide a sense of security.

3. Physical and Mental Stimulation

  • Regular Exercise: Adequate physical activity helps reduce excess energy that could fuel anxiety. Our team of qualified dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio is always available to help ensure your dog gets the regular exercise they need.
  • Mental Stimulation: Engage your dog in activities like puzzle toys and interactive play to keep their mind occupied.

4. Calming Techniques and Tools

  • Anxiety Aids: Items like anxiety wraps, calming scents, or soft music can provide comfort.
  • Non-Fuss Departures and Arrivals: Keeping your leave-taking and return low-key helps normalize these events for your dog.

5. Professional Guidance and Support

  • Seeking Expert Help: In cases of severe anxiety, consulting with a Columbus, Ohio veterinarian or an animal behaviorist is advisable for tailored advice and possible medication.
  • Positive Reinforcement Training: Working with a professional dog trainer in Columbus can be beneficial, especially for building confidence and correcting behavior.
  • Avoiding Punishment: Negative reinforcement can exacerbate anxiety, so it’s important to focus on positive reinforcement.
  • Socialization: Gradual and positive introduction to new experiences can help build confidence.

Don’t Give Up; Consistency is Key!

Pet sitter in Columbus, Ohio praising a dog for following training commands.
Pet sitter in Columbus, Ohio praising a dog for following training commands.

When managing your dog’s separation anxiety, it’s important to remember the power of perseverance and consistency. Anxiety in dogs, much like in humans, doesn’t disappear overnight. It requires ongoing effort and patience. Giving up too soon can be disheartening and may set back any progress made.

Your dog looks to you for guidance and reassurance, so making a stable routine in training and daily life is essential for their sense of security. Small victories in managing their anxiety should be celebrated, as progress, even if incremental, is a significant step forward. Remember, setbacks are part of the journey, so have some flexibility with trying new approaches.

Over time, your commitment in helping your dog overcome their anxiety will surely strengthen your bond with them. With a patient and consistent approach, your dog can learn to cope with their anxiety, leading to a more relaxed and happier life. This achievement, though challenging and hard-earned, is a beautiful reflection of the deep connection and love between you and your pet.



Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. I'm the proud owner of Columbus's own Hands N Paws, started in 2018 to bring joy to pet parents. See you in the next post!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.


It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 


To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.


To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.


All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.


In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.


Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.


For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at


The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 


Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.


To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.


Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

Non-Ongoing Services: For services not scheduled as ongoing, a 50% down-payment will be charged on the day the services are accepted and confirmed. An invoice will be sent immediately. Client has until the date of the last confirmed service to manually pay the remaining balance on the invoice. If manual payment is not made, the remaining total will be automatically charged to the card on file on the date of the last service day on that invoice.

Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.


When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.


Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.


This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.