Some dogs will have problems when their owners leave the house. Many of these dogs may be destructive to the house, hurt themselves trying to get out of the house, or excessively bark. These dogs suffer from separation anxiety.
What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Many things can trigger separation anxiety in your dog. Most dogs find themselves attached to one specific person in the family more than others. When that person leaves, whether it is for work or school or a trip to the grocery store, the dog may have a hard time dealing with their absence. New puppies in particular may have a hard time being left alone for the first time. Your dog may have experienced a traumatic event and fear being left again.
There are many things you can do to help your dog with separation anxiety. Make an appointment with your veterinarian and have your dog examined. There are many medications that they can prescribe your dog to help with the separation anxiety.
You can train your dog that you are always eventually going to come back home. At first, just walk out the door and stay for just a few seconds and come back into the house. Then slowly increase the time that you are out of the house.
After a few times of this, get in your car and drive around the block and come back inside. Eventually, your dog will learn that you are going to come back home. Some dogs may do well with rewards when you leave and when your return to help decrease their anxiety.
Puzzle Toys and Other Treats
When you leave you can give your dog something to help distract them from you being gone. A puzzle-based toy or chew stick will help give them something to do until you return. This may also help to prevent them from chewing on other things in the home.
Doggy daycare is another great option for pet owners who have anxious dogs. Although separation anxiety is something that can possible be trained, it is not one of the easiest behavior problems to be fixed. A lot of patience and consistency is needed.