Separation anxiety for your dog
Lots of people feel anxious when they’re alone for long periods of time. But you may not realize that dogs feel the same way sometimes, too!
If you come home from being away to find your dog has torn up furniture, soiled the floor, or you get a report from neighbors that your dog barked and howled the whole time you were gone, your dog probably has separation anxiety problems. Unfortunately, many dog owners think their dogs are acting out of anger at being left alone or because they are “bad dogs.” This leads to you handling the problem as bad behavior, which won’t solve it. One of the keys to dealing with separation anxiety in dogs is understanding what it is, and why some dogs don’t deal with being alone as well as others.
First, you should know that dogs are social animals. Their mentality is based on living in a pack (much like our family structure), so when they’re left alone, they don’t handle it well. Their instinct is to find the rest of their pack, and when they can’t do that, they become agitated. This leads to the behavior that frustrates owners when they get home.
If you suspect that your dog has separation anxiety, there are some signs and symptoms you can look for that can help. When you’re home, does your dog cling to you and demand constant attention? Does your dog start to get upset when you’re getting ready to go out? When you’re away, does your dog whine, bark, or howl the whole time you’re gone? Is your dog restless while you’re away? Is your dog destructive, or does your dog soil the carpets or floor in several areas while you’re gone? If so, your dog most likely isn’t simply bored, but is having anxiety at being separated from you.
It takes a lot of patience and love to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety. Essentially, you have to train your dog to know that it’s safe when home alone, and help your dog to know that you’ll always come home, no matter how long it thinks you’ve been gone.
If your dog has mild separation anxiety, one way you can help is to make sure your dog has a variety of dog toys to play with while you’re gone. A good selection of dog toys will help keep your pet occupied while you’re away, distracting it from looking for you.
Getting dog toys may sound too easy, but with mild separation anxiety, it could be that all your dog needs is something to occupy its time until you get home. Making sure there are lots of toy options available could save a lot of anxiety for your dog, as well as frustration for you!
In addition to helping to keep your dog occupied while you’re gone, dog toys can also help keep your dog from chewing on objects and furniture in your home. If there’s a dog toy to chew on, you may save yourself from having to replace things at home.
Separation anxiety can be a serious issue for dogs, but with patience, love, and some great dog toys, you shouldn’t have any problem helping your dog feel safer alone, and keeping your home from being destroyed. And that will mean a happier home for everyone!