Then welcome to the world of the dog suffering from separation anxiety.
Our dogs feel the same sense of loneliness and isolation that we do when we are alone for to long, this leads to behavioral issues, such as barking, digging and other forms of attention seeking behavior.
However, there are causes, and therefore solutions, to separation anxiety in dogs.
‘Dog Law’ says that only the alpha animal can leave the pack whenever he or she wants with no explanation called for or needed. The other non-alpha animals require permission to leave. In households where the dog has been allowed to take the alpha role, the humans leaving the ‘alpha’ dog alone have broken Dog Law—leaving without permission.
This causes anguish to the alpha dog—one of the pack members he’s responsible for keeps going missing. Confused status is one of the most important causes of separation anxiety and needs to be addressed. This is why it is so important to train a dog from puppy-hood to think and act like a dog and not a substitute human. See Dog Training
To resolve the problem so you don’t return home to an overly excited, anxious dog that has been engaging in destructive behaviour, it’s important to change the relationship to what it should be.
This will take time. For instance, if you are only leaving for a short period of time, don’t make a fuss. Forget emotional good byes and refrain from saying ‘hello, I’m home’ when you return. Instead, go about some household chores before you acknowledge your dog. If the dog sees you as the alpha in the family, he can start to relax—someone else is taking the burden of decision-making.
Dogs are pack animals and will feel, with few exceptions, happier with another dog or even a cat for company. Unless it is absolutely necessary for you to have only one dog, consider getting your dog a companion. If you do decide to get another dog from the Pound or a Rescue Shelter, be sure to take the present dog along—they need to be compatible. Friendly, sociable cats also make good companions for dogs. Pounds always have cats available for adoption—often with a write-up about their character.
Dogs that do not receive adequate exercise suffer from pent-up energy and a lack of socialisation. Such neglect can cause severe stress.
- If you don’t have the time or inclination to walk your dog, there are dog walking services that will do it for you. You should notice a difference in your dog straight away.
- Perhaps you might consider sending your dog to day care or a private dog minder while you’re at work—this is a growing trend. Sometimes parents, grandparents or friends will have your dog to stay for a couple of days a week when they are at home.
- If you simply cannot provide sufficient companionship or regular distraction for a lonely dog, consider adopting him out into a household that has a stay-at-home person or another animal for company.
Whatever you decide, don’t let the situation continue as it is; loneliness is torture for dogs as well as humans.
Tags: dog separation anxiety, dogs with separation anxiety, separation anxiety in dogs