A dog can develop canine separation anxiety when away from a person he feels especially attached to for many hours every day or during a major change in schedule. If you have school-aged children who have been mostly at home during the summer, your dog could show signs of distress once the new school year gets underway.
Is your dog lonely without the companionship of his human family and may not have enough mental stimulation to keep his mind off it. Here are some behaviors that you might notice:
- Using your house as a bathroom
- Constant barking or whining
- Pacing around the house with nervous energy
- Chewing on furniture or other items that she knows she is not supposed to chew
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat altogether
- Attempting to get out of the house to go after the school bus or your car when you leave for work
- Increased aggression
It can be heartbreaking for you as a pet owner to think that your dog misses you so much that she engages in these behaviors. It can also be extremely frustrating. Fortunately, you can take several steps to curb separation anxiety before it gets out of control.
Create a Healthy Indoor Environment
Rotating your pet’s toys every few days helps to prevent boredom when she is home alone while playing soft and relaxing music can lower your pet’s stress level. Leaving a personal item such as a shirt that has your scent on it can help pets feel more relaxed as well because scents are ten times as powerful to dogs as they are to humans.
Say Good-bye Every Morning
If several family members leave the house at staggered times, have one person spend a few minutes every morning paying extra attention to the dog. He will love the interaction, and it will help keep his eyes off the door. The person who leaves last in the morning should be careful not to show any anxiety towards the dog and say good-bye in a firm and calm manner. You may want to put your dog in a kennel with food, water, and toys if you think that everyone leaving will trigger destructive behavior.
Include Your Dog in Everyday Activities
You can send the message to your dog that he is still an important part of the family even though the humans are gone during the day. Invite your dog along on car rides or play a game of fetch in the backyard after supper. Let her sit with you as you read a book to unwind in the evening. These are just a few simple things you can do to keep a strong bond with your dog, as well as reassure her that you always come home.
We Can Help with Persistent Separation Anxiety
Some dogs are more challenging to help through separation anxiety than others. This is especially true of rescue pets that may have come from an abusive situation. Unfortunately, persistent separation anxiety is a leading reason why people surrender their dogs to animal shelters. Because we want to help you long before it gets to that point, we encourage you to check out our current list of dog training courses. We also offer several other services, such as behavior modification and dog boarding.
If you are planning to bring a new puppy home or have recently added a new furry family member, signing up for a puppy consultation can help you avoid some of these troubling situations caused by separation anxiety in the first place. It is never too early or too late to change your dog’s behavior and have the type of relationship you desire with your pet. Contact Canine Commander today to learn more.