When my dog first started causing chaos in the house after we left I put it down to the dog being young and in an unfamiliar place. After this continued for a number of months however I decided that things just weren’t right and not only did I not want the dog going through this, I wasn’t too keen on my rented apartment being completely destroyed by a dog who couldn’t deal with being alone. In order to get some help I went for some advice from the team at All Creatures Veterinary Center, and they were absolutely amazing in providing some advice and support for what they called separation anxiety.
Below are the measures which I have tried with my dog that I believe have helped to cure his separation anxiety, or at least reduce the damage which he is doing to my home!
There are a number of toys on the market which are designed to keep your dog occupied for a long time, and these are brilliant for helping with separation anxiety in your pet dog. What happens is you load the cone-shaped toy up with treats and then when you go out you give the chew toy to the dog. No matter how much they twist and bite pot the toy, it will only release a couple of treats each time which is how the toy is able to keep them occupied for so long. This will keep them busy for about 30 minutes which is normally when they miss their owners the most after they go.
Something which you should try with your dog as early as you can is to practice leaving them alone whilst you are in the house. Much of separation anxiety is not just the dog not enjoying the fact that you are not around, it is also about not being able to deal with being alone. Start off by putting the dog in a room with the door closed for 30 minutes, then extend it to 45 and so on until you get to a couple of hours. This will greatly help your dog get used to being alone.
There is a great temptation to greet our dogs with hugs and kiss, or say farewell by doing the same thing. Unfortunately however this is not the best way to act with your dog becasue it creates expectation. Remember that dogs love routine and habit and if they expect to be showered with love when you come home then they are going to anticipate that all the time that you are gone, which is what will make them miss you so much. When you leave simply go, don’t make a song or dance about it. When you come back home make sure that you don’t even touch the dog for 10 or 15 minutes, the idea is to make coming and going just an everyday occurrence.
Give these tips a try and let me know how you got on.