DOES your dog bark or howl incessantly when you leave? Do they engage in destructive behaviours? Just like babies who cry when they leave their mother’s arms, some dogs do not like being left alone. They get stressed and can suffer from Separation anxiety.
Some of the signs that your dog may have some separation anxiety include:
- Showing signs of agitation when you are getting ready to leave
- Constantly following you around the house as you go from room to room
- Persistently barking, howling, chewing or whining when you leave
- Toileting in the house only when left alone
- Seeming anxious or depressed prior to your leaving
- Trying to prevent you from leaving
- Trying to escape by digging or chewing
- Pacing back and forth or around and around in circles
Helping your dog to overcome separation anxiety can be tricky, because the last thing you want to do is induce more fear.
- Before you leave the house, take your dog for a walk if possible. This will help to tire them out. When you get ready to leave, try not to exhibit any guilty or nervous feelings.
- When you leave the house, give your dog a favourite toy stuffed with food that will take them at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish. When you come home, remove this toy so they begin to associate your leaving with something enjoyable.
- If your dog suffers from more severe separation anxiety, you might need to take it in steps. Start with shorter separations and gradually increase the time over many weeks of daily sessions.
- Do not allow your dog to stick to you like glue. Make them stay in another room on a doggy bed, or put them outside and scatter some food around to keep them occupied.