Just like humans, dogs feel and have emotions. Because your dog loves you more than anything your dog doesn’t want you to leave. This emotion that dogs and humans both experience is separation anxiety. There is an estimate that 15% of dogs in the USA suffer from separation anxiety. When your dog has separation anxiety your dog becomes stressed and may act out due to being alone. Your dog may whine, howl, urinate, and make a huge mess when your getting ready to leave or after you have left your home.
If your dog is a rescue this separation anxiety could be because your dog has been abandoned before. Your dog may be scared you will never come back ever again. Or your dog might be confused especially if you spent a full week with them for instance for spring break and then leave to work the following week. Your dog may think you’re going to leave them permanetly because they’re not used to you being gone. It may take some time for your dog to get used to a new schedule of you being around.
How to fix an anxious dog may take some time but it will help you and your dog in the long run. You need to show them it’s okay to be alone sometimes. First try to make it so they won’t follow you around the house by throwing him bones to chew on or shake your keys to distract or occupy their time. Kongs filled with peanut butter anything that they can do to show them they don’t need you all the time. You need to spend at least 2 hours a day with your pup so he realizes you’ll be their atleast some of the day. Try teaching them tricks to keep them confident and skillful. It will help you bond and help with their anxiety. Teach tricks, such, as sit, speak, quiet, roll over, fetch, and stay. If you cannot be their for your dog 2 hours a day try enrolling him in a doggy daycare.
Dogs are pack animals and bark and howl to communicate with other dogs. So him howling and barking while you are gone could be a sign that he wants a friend. So maybe get another dog to keep your dog company. You could then have 2 doggy best friends that are there for each other when you are not. Dog’s can get over this anxiety to make it a better less stressful home for you and your pet. If these tips and tricks don’t work consider seeking professional help for your furry friend. See more help at Training Behaviors and here are our tips for Playtime safety.
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