Is your dog nervous, repeatedly barking every time you leave to work, and thrilled when you come home? Do you find your shoes or furniture chewed when you get back? While people believe this behavior is a result of a dog’s boredom, lack of training, or simple misbehaving, it might be a sign of separation anxiety.
What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety is a very common type of anxiety in dogs, affecting 20%-40% of them. It’s usually manifested by:
- Excessive barking, howling, or whining
- Chewing the owner’s personal belongings, scratching at doors and windows, and digging holes
- Excessive drooling
- Trying to escape
- Obsessive pacing – moving along the same route.
How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
If your dog’s separation anxiety is mild, a few tips can help deal with it. You can:
- Give your dog treats, such as yak cheese chews, to keep them busy while you’re gone.
- Give them natural over-the-counter relaxing supplements.
- Leave some of the clothes you wear so your dog can feel your smell.
- Keep your leaving and coming home low-key, without a lot of greeting.
- Say goodbye long before you leave the house.
However, if your dog’s anxiety is more serious, you need to really put an effort into dealing with it. You can ask your vet for help or talk to professional dog trainers to help you. If you prefer dealing with the issue yourself, here are a few tips to help you with it.
Take Your Dog for a Walk Before Going to Work
Taking your dog for a walk is great exercise. They will get tired from the fresh air and running around and will sleep when they get home.
Walks are also perfect for feeding and going to the toilet. You’ll leave your dog, sleeping, full, and with an empty bladder.
Sometimes dogs have their separation anxiety triggered by outdoor distractions like people passing by the window and loud noises. To minimize distractions:
- Leave your dog in a quiet room
- Close the curtains so your dog can’t see everything that’s going on outside
- Leave your dog in the company of the radio or an audiobook to prevent them from hearing the noise coming from outside and calm them down.
Teach Your Dog to be Independent
You can teach your dog to be independent by creating a personal space for your dog. You can create personal space for your dog by getting them a dog bed placed in the corner of your bedroom or another room. You should also create a special area where they’ll spend most of their day.
Another way to teach your dog to be independent is by training them to be alone when you’re home. You can do this by leaving them alone in another room for half an hour. Start small, leaving them alone for 5-10 seconds and gradually increasing the alone time up to 30 minutes.
Get a Dog Sitter or Smart Automatic Pet Feeder
It’s not recommended to leave your dog alone for more than 5 hours. If you don’t have anyone to look after them for a few hours while you’re at work, you should get a dog sitter. But, if you work part-time, leaving your dog alone for 4-5 hours, you can buy a smart automatic pet feeder. These feeder robots dispense food automatically and have a camera and a mic built-in. In this way, you can constantly monitor your dog, have them fed, and talk with them so they don’t feel alone.