Leave your dog home alone? Read it!
Most canine experts agree that dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than 10 hours at a time, although this is reduced to just four hours if left alone on a regular basis.
Some dogs become extremely anxious when they are away from their owner for an extended period of time.
This is a recognized behavioral problem known as dog separation anxiety.
What Is Separation Anxiety For Dogs?
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety easily become distressed when their owner is not around.
There are marked symptoms of separation anxiety, which include engaging in destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture and other household items, and incessant barking.
What are the causes of separation anxiety?
There are many reasons why a dog can suffer from separation anxiety, but the reason is often emotional.
Feelings of fear, over-attachment, or boredom in your dog can all be the catalyst.
If your dog hasn’t been socialized much as a puppy, it can contribute to his lack of self-confidence when left alone as an adult.
What Triggers Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
There are several causes of separation anxiety in dogs.
- Premature adoption
- Past traumatic event
- Death of another pet
- Changes in routine or socializing habits
- Hereditary behavior
- Sometimes your pooch is just bored
- Another possible reason for separation anxiety is unknowingly caused by the owner.
Whenever we leave our house, we usually stoke our dogs’ excitement by making a big gesture or giving them treats. Dogs will misunderstand this.
They will associate their excessive barking and whining with good behavior since we have rewarded them.
It will also result in an interdependent relationship that exacerbates the problem.
And like what was mentioned earlier, some studies suggest that separation anxiety is more common in some breeds than in others.
Dog breeds prone to separation anxiety
Like humans, dogs have different personalities.
Some breeds are more independent and can be left alone for longer.
Dogs like Basset Hound, Chow Chow, Whippet, and Maltese work best for people who work full time and are always away from their homes.
On the other hand, some dogs are more attached to their owners and are prone to separation anxiety. These breeds include:
Labs are known to be super friendly for everyone, including kids.
That’s why it’s no surprise that she’s consistently voted America’s Most Popular Dog Breed for 29 consecutive years.
They are fiercely loyal and make a good companion. The downside, however, is that they get too clingy and have a hard time adjusting when their human best friend isn’t around.
The German Shepherd was originally bred to keep sheep.
Due to their muscular build and high intelligence, they are still used in various search and rescue operations.
As a working dog, they are very dependent on their owner’s order about what to do next.
If left alone, the German Shepherd has a low temper and gets bored easily.
This adorable little white dog was bred just to be a companion dog.
Bichon Frize likes to spend every minute with its owner, and if the owner is out of sight, loneliness and anxiety set in quickly.
If you enjoy watching dog shows and competitions, you will notice that many dogs are Border Collies.
They dominate obedience and agility championships because they are smart, athletic, and highly trainable.
One downside, however, is that they are full of energy, which requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation.
Like the German Shepherd, Viszla is another working dog bred to hunt prey.
Due to its heavy reliance on its owners, this breed has a higher risk of becoming a ‘velcro dog’.
If left on for a long time, they may resort to destructive behaviors such as chewing and barking regularly.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs
Separation anxiety in dogs manifests itself in different ways.
The most common sign is that they become agitated, anxious, or engage in destructive behavior if they notice that their guardian is going to leave or is about to leave.
Separation anxiety is a serious illness that is unhealthy for the health and safety of your dog.
Imagine the panic attacks he suffers every time he finds himself alone.
If it lasts longer without proper therapy, it can lead to depression and self-harm.
There are also hundreds of reported escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety, such as jumping glass windows and getting out of a fence; all acts result in serious injury.
What about changes in behavior? Are there also subtle signs of separation anxiety in dogs that often go unnoticed?
Here are 3 signs your dog is suffering from separation anxiety:
1. Destructive behaviors
Many owners misinterpret the destructive behaviors caused by separation anxiety as simply being a “bad dog,” but they are not.
Chewing is a calming behavior for dogs, as is digging, especially if your dog is in dog groups such as Beagle, Basenji, and Dachshund.
Unlike usual nasty behavior, dogs with separation anxiety often chew on items belonging to their guardians because those items carry your scent.
2. Urinate and defecate
Is your dog trained at home, but suddenly starts to poop or pee if you are not at home?
It could be a sign of separation anxiety.
This happens when stress hormones build up, affecting bowel and bladder movements, making it harder for your dog to hold him back even though he has been potty trained.
3. Excessive drooling or panting
Too much drooling or panting is your dog’s stress response to being isolated on his own.
To better imagine this scenario, imagine a human being stuck alone in a faulty elevator, his pulse and heart rate quicken due to panic and anxiety, and after a while, he will start to gasp. strongly.
Do Dogs Grow Up Because of Separation Anxiety?
Absoutely! With patience and the right help, dogs can come out of separation anxiety.
You need to be very understanding when dealing with a dog with separation anxiety.
Empathize and never punish. Get on the same level as them to better understand what they are going through.
Don’t be the type of owner who dismisses separation anxiety as just being mean, and get rid of their dog if they start showing symptoms.
How long can I leave my dog alone?
Four hours is the longest time dogs should be left alone, however, every dog is different, and some may be on their own for longer than that.
Sometimes you may need to leave your dog alone for longer than usual, and there are several things you can do to make it easier for them if you are away for long periods of time during the day:
- Preventing Problems: Preparing Your Dog to Be Alone
- Make a short visit to your dog during the day, for example during a lunch break
- Have a friend or neighbor watch your dog
- Hire a professional dog walker to take them out while you are busy
Find pet sitters or doggy day care centers in your area who might spend time with your pooch while you are outside
It’s never too late for your dog to socialize with other dogs.
If your dog is having trouble with other dogs, don’t worry; socializing isn’t just about being around other puppies; it’s also about being regularly exposed to everyday sights and sounds.
The more time they spend in different environments, the more they will relax in new situations.
Being left alone is one of the normal things your dog will need to learn.
Important things NOT to do when leaving your anxious dog alone
- Don’t say goodbye to your dog when you go. It might seem odd to do this, but leaving calmly and quietly will mean that your dog will settle in faster once you are gone.
- Don’t get overly excited when you get home. Keep the atmosphere calm and calm, so that your dog doesn’t feel like your departure and return is a big deal.
- Do not leave your dog in an open area of your home where he has access to items to be destroyed. Leave them in a safe and secure place in your home, at a comfortable temperature, with an appropriately sized bed to relax on, and with chew and interactive toys to keep them occupied. You can also give them an item of clothing with your perfume that they can snuggle up to.
- Remember to give your dog the opportunity to go to the bathroom before you leave and upon your return.
Home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs
Counter-conditioning and desensitization
Counter-conditioning involves altering your dog’s behavioral response to a stimulus.
Desensitization is a process where you gradually expose your dog to something he doesn’t like.
Teach your dog that being alone has its rewards. Leave them for a few hours until they get used to being solo for a lot longer.
Cage training is a process of familiarizing your dog and feeling safe inside a crate or crate.
Training lasts differently for each dog. Some may take only a few hours, others even months.
No matter how long it takes before your dog feels safe in his crate, don’t give up.
Giving your dog enough exercise does not directly cure separation anxiety, but it does help prevent it.
This is especially true for very energetic dogs like a Border Collie and a German Shepherd.
Walk them for at least 30 minutes each day and offer interactive brain games such as puzzles and food distribution toys.
Train your anxious dog to stay home alone
You can train your anxious dog to be alone by slowly increasing the amount of time they are left alone.
Start by walking a short distance from your dog. If they stay calm, back off and reward them so they know you’re happy with their behavior.
Then walk away from them again, but this time briefly leave the room.
Come back and if they are still calm, reward them again.
Keep repeating this, gradually increasing the time you spend away from your dog.
When you are successful in doing this indoors, try to leave the house for a short time, preparing to spend more time outdoors.
Remember to always reward your dog when you get home.
Being slow and consistent with training is the basis of successful dog training and is the best way to get them used to this new way of doing things, without triggering feelings of distress.
Keep in mind that this is a process that will take, so be calm and patient throughout their training.