Dogs are very sociable and are creatures of habit. They love company. Naturally dogs love company and do not like to be alone. Domestic dogs are now perfect companions for us humans who like nothing better than to be with their human families. Given the choice most dogs would spend every second with their owners! But that is not always possible.
Because humans have busy lives with work, children etc. Dogs do have to be left on their own at times. Some dogs do not cope with this very well and develop a canine condition called ‘separation anxiety’. Which can be distressing for dogs and owners. As the name suggests, separation anxiety is a feeling of anxiousness, nervousness and fear that a dog develops when they are not in contact with their human family. Dogs can’t tell you how they are feeling but when it comes to separation anxiety they are good at showing it. They can become destructive but also show it in different ways.
Pining for you in the day -
Have your neighbours said to you they have heard your dog whining or barking a lot during the day. Maybe even scratching at doors or windows when home alone.
Very enthusiastic greetings-
We all love to be greeted by our pets when we get home but have the welcomes home become very over the top? This could be because your dogs is lonely and anxious during the day.
Destructive behaviour -
Dogs with severe separation anxiety will start to become destructive. they will chew and tear things, scratch and bite things. This is a big sign or being very unsettled.
Distressed behaviour -
Your dog becomes distressed as soon as you leave. The first 15 minutes are the worst, during which time your dog becomes extremely upset. They can start to pant and salivate. Becoming very stressed and could go to the toilet in the house because they've wound themselves up. Once you're home your dog may follow you around and not let you out of their sight in case you leave the house again.
Ways in which you can help your dog be comfortable being left alone -
It’s a good idea to teach a puppy or dog to get used to your absence for short periods of time, even if you don’t intend to leave them alone for long. At some point, you will have to leave your dog at home and if they aren’t used to it, they may become very distressed. The idea is to teach them that being alone isn’t scary at all; it’s actually a time to relax and feel comfortable.
Firstly you’ll need to decide on where you are happy for your dog to be left alone. Some people prefer their dogs to be left in a utility room or kitchen due to ease of cleaning up any potential mess. There is nothing wrong with this – however you don’t want to make the mistake of putting your dog in this area only when you are leaving them. This is because you want them to feel as comfortable and relaxed as they possibly can, and if they only get put in this area when they are left, they may learn to only associate it with isolation.
It is good to leave the radio or tv on so the dog thinks their is company in the house. You can also leave them with a bone or chew so they are occupied. Don’t start by leaving the dog for hours. Little and often is good so your dog knows you're coming back.