What does your pup do when you go to work? Or the grocery store? You can’t take your pup everywhere you go so sometimes you have to leave them at home alone. Some pups have difficulty with this, others don’t have as much trouble. Leaving them alone for long periods can be somewhat uncomfortable for even the most well-trained of dogs. As an owner, you are just as responsible for their happiness- as they are for yours.
Stress and anxiety
Leaving your pup alone in your home is a necessary fact of life. It is not possible to take them with you everywhere you go, and it would prove expensive to leave them with a pup-sitter every time you have to go to work. Dogs, especially young pups whom are used to constant attention can become worried and begin to stress when you are not around them. The bond you two share affects them deeply and can lead to emotional anxiety. They can become depressed or even in some cases- aggressive.
Unfortunately for some pups, prolonged amounts of time alone can cause stress and anxiety attacks. Enduring long periods of time away from your pup will cause their worry to grow. The anxiety becomes centrifugal- much like a snowball rolling downhill consuming all in its path. It doesn’t take long periods of time for this to happen. Dogs can sometimes develop anxiety while you are still getting ready to leave. Anxiety like this is more difficult to manage because you will have to train your pup to endure the separation.
Separation anxiety symptoms
These problems often result in depressed or frustrated characteristics. They may refrain from eating properly when alone, or may consume a lot more food than usual. Chewing on and destroying items that have your scent are most common. This is not done out of spite, so please don’t punish them as it will only make the situation worse.
Training your pup to endure these separations will take time. For pups that seem to have trouble almost immediately when they discover that you are leaving, you can try a simple trick. Dogs respond well to noise- especially keys. Jingling keys most often are familiarized with- leaving. Try jingling your keys randomly and doing activities that you would normally do before you leave. Hanging around the garage door seems to be quite effective as well. But don’t leave when you do this. This procedure should be done randomly throughout the day- and soon your pup will begin to worry less and less that you are leaving.
Another helpful hint is to slowly adjust your pup to longer periods of time alone. Depending on the pup’s anxiety symptoms- start at half an hour, move to an hour and so on. Each time you leave, stay away a little longer and when you get back- give them a treat so that they will understand that this is good. This helps slowly adjust your pup to understanding you will always return and hopefully reduce their stress.
If you are gone for extreme periods of time- and your pup must stay alone at home unwatched- consider having a friend stop by and spend some time with them, or leave them with someone that can interact with them regularly. This will help break them of the monotonous alone time and can reduce anxiety.
For a pup, spending time alone can be stressful. They are creatures eager to please and want to be around the people they love- much like us humans you could say. But situations cannot be as easily explained to them. As your pup’s owner- you are responsible for their happiness and health so spending a little extra time with them to train them to cope with being alone is important to them.