Most fur parents lead a hectic lifestyle with their jobs, friends, and children. Unfortunately, their dogs spend most of their time at home alone because of these reasons.
It is worth noting that bored and lonely dogs end up occupying their time destroying furniture, clothes, and shoes if not taught how to be left alone in your homes. It can also be potentially harmful to them, which is never good.
Signs and Causes of Separation Anxiety
Dog separation anxiety is not just a myth. It is real and could potentially harm your dog in the long run. Separation anxiety in dogs may manifest and show in the first five minutes or five hours after you have left.
Canines can easily sense when you are about to leave your house based on changes in your routine. A change in your usual schedule alerts him that you are going out and that he will be left at home alone. Here are a few telltale signs you must look out for to see if your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs:
- Constant and continuous barking and whining
- Abnormal peeing and pooping around the house
- Showcasing obsessive behavior like overgrooming or pacing
- Trying to break free from their crate
- Scratching and chewing that leads to the destruction of your furniture, shoes, clothes, and other household items
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
There is still no definitive and straightforward answer to what causes dog separation anxiety and why dogs in some households suffer from it while other dogs do not. Experts think that dogs will show symptoms when they are young, which worsens as they age.
Others also believe that past traumas and abandonment can also cause separation anxiety. Adopting shelter dogs who suffer from this is challenging because you do not know the main reason for their fear. It takes time, practice, and patience to help them feel more comfortable while you are gone.
How to Teach Your Dogs to be Alone
One essential part of welcoming a new dog or raising a puppy is to teach and help them get used to and become comfortable about being at home alone. If you do not teach your dog to remain calm when they are at home alone for specific periods, they can develop or end up having separation anxiety.
This condition is challenging and tough to treat. It is much better to prevent separation anxiety rather than try to treat it. Training your pets to be alone is the most important thing you can do for anxiety prevention.
Below are some ways how you can teach your dogs that being alone is okay:
- Create a Long-Term Confinement Area or Crate Train Your Dog
When bringing home a new pup, be sure not to give them access to your entire home right away. Ensure that they have an area where they can hang out and spend time when you are away or at home.
Crate training is also an excellent option to help your dogs relax while alone, and it would also help if you keep them out of trouble. Most dogs that are properly crate trained feel safer and secure inside their crates when left alone. Just make sure that they are spacious and have their favorite things inside.
- Associate Being Alone as a Positive Thing
Help your dog learn that being left alone is a good thing. Associate your absence to something that your pup enjoys. For most dogs, this is something related to food and treats. You can also bring out certain toys that they can play with only when you are away. Put those toys away when you get back home.
- Be Low-Key About Leaving and Arriving
When you leave your home without your dog, it is essential to show them that it is not a big deal. You want your dog to observe and learn that it is not a huge thing that humans leave and come back home.
We all love having our pets greet us happily when we arrive, but this can also be a sign of separation anxiety.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Busy When They are Alone
Dogs are naturally active pets. You can try a few tricks to keep them busy, even if you are not at home with them.
- Give Them a View
Find a spot inside your home that provides an exciting view of the street. Leave your curtains open, so your dog has an excellent scenic view all day. Set up a station for him by placing his favorite bed and blanket to be inclined and encouraged to spend their time in the area. Dogs can spend plenty of time just watching the world go by while waiting for you to get home.
- Turn on the TV
If you do not have a window with a view in your home, the television is an excellent alternative to keep them entertained. Youtube for Dogs is a perfect channel to leave them with. It is worth noting that not all dogs are interested in watching television.
- Hire a Dog Walker
Nowadays, most fur parents hire dog walkers, especially when they live in the city or have hectic schedules. Dog walkers make sure that our pups get enough exercise they need throughout the day. So when you arrive home, all you have to do is spend quality time with them.
- Peepholes in Fences
If your furry friend is lucky enough to have a backyard that is near a street or bush, then you have found the perfect distraction that you can leave your dog with when you are away from home. Drill a couple of peepholes into the fence so your pup can see the outside.
- Hide Food Inside the House
Most dogs enjoy sniffing for food and treats. It is a great idea to scatter and hide some treats in select spots around your homes before going out for work. Try to change your hiding spots now and then, so it does not become a routine because your dogs might get bored quickly.
Keeping your dogs busy and stimulated while you are gone is crucial for their mental health and well-being. It won’t replace a good old-fashioned walk in your neighborhood or park. But trying out and experimenting with ways to keep them occupied like games and exercise inside your home can help make leaving them alone for a while bearable and more manageable.