Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety from being Home Alone

Dogs are extremely social and if they were in the wild they would run in packs. Domesticated dogs consider their human family to be their pack, and generally don’t cope well when they’re left alone for long periods of time.

What dogs do during the day will depend on the individual dog, and whether they are anxious about being left. Not all animals cope equally with alone time. Some dogs may suffer from separation anxiety, which is a medical condition that can result in problematic behaviours.

Separation anxiety is one of the most common issues that people have with their pets.

Separation anxiety causes a dog to become severely stressed when their owner goes out and leaves them behind. This anxiety can manifest itself in nuisance behaviour, including soiling the house, incessant barking or whining, or destructive behaviour.

Lifestyle changes can leave dogs lonely and bored or feeling like they’ve been abandoned, especially if they’re used to a house full of people and the kids are now back at school or off to college or the adults are back at work.

A young puppy that may have been removed from its mother to early may be very insecure in its new surroundings, and attach itself to the new owner. When the owner leaves the pup alone it may become insecure and show symptoms of separation anxiety.

Other changes in a dog’s daily routine or surroundings may trigger separation anxiety, including the following:
• A new baby enters the home
• The recent loss of a family member or pet
• Change of environment, such as moving house
• Recently being introduced to a new home (new family) i.e.: adopted
• A change in your working hours – or you spend more time away from hom
• Having spent a large amount of time in unfamiliar surroundings recently, such as a vet or boarding kennel

Owners can also get emotional and anxious about leaving their pet behind for the first time. Given you have taken all the precautions, it is good to remind yourself that your pet will be OK. Particularly if you have implemented ways to tackle boredom, you may find your pet will have just as fun when they are home alone.

Here are a few tips that you can try at home to ease some of your pets stress.

• Create a routine. Dogs are less stressed when things are predictable.
• Take your dog for a walk before you head out to work. It will not only physically tire them out but it will also stimulate their minds and give you both some quality bonding time before parting ways.
• If a walk isn’t possible, a play sessions or some kind of training can also be preformed before you leave. You may even be able to have a friend/relative pop in at lunchtime for a quick cuddle too!
• Don’t make a big deal when you come and go. That way, it seems more ‘normal.’ e.g.:, when you come home, try ignoring your dog for a few minutes before you take them for a walk. 
• Making feeding last longer by stuffing a Kong with your dog’s favourite treats. You can even seal it with a generous spread of peanut butter, freeze and then give to the dog before you leave.
• Rotate your dog’s toys every couple of days — this will ensure that your dog doesn’t get bored of playing with the same old toys
• Provide entertainment, like a fish tank, a bird feeder out the window or the TV playing an animal channel.  

*Just remember to test any toys when you’re at home, to make sure they can stand up to Rovers’s killer canines. If not, don’t leave them alone with it. Pet toys might not carry choking hazards, but they should

Think about where is the best place for the dog to stay alone. This should be ensured for the safety of the dog and also for the safety of the house. Leave the dogs indoors if possible, in a large room or a passage that can be blocked by the use of a good barrier.

The area where the dog is kept alone for a certain amount of time should possess of all the essentials that might be needed by the dog – such as a comfortable bed, good water supply and access to a toilet (i.e.: dog-flap to outside if left inside).

Leaving food will keep the dog occupied while you’re gone. Pigs ears, stuffed hooves, and meaty lamb necks will keep him occupied and not give him the time to get anxious about being alone.

It is also important that your pets become independent and don’t depend on you to be constantly entertained.

Teach your dog to become more independent. This can be achieved by leaving your dog alone for short periods of time, perhaps initially while you are still at home – feed it in a separate room, leave it alone in the yard for short intervals, and gradually increasing the time frame of the periods that your pooch spends alone before you disappear for the entire day. That way, your dog will learn you’re always coming back and accustom the dog with the habit of staying alone at home and spend his time the way he would like to.

Separation anxiety can affect the bond between owner and dog. An owner that comes home and finds his house wrecked on a regular basis, or pressure from neighbours who are fed up with the constant whining and barking of a distressed dog may eventually become despondent and think about relinquishing the dog to an animal shelter.

If separation anxiety is severe, and causing such behaviours as the dog being extremely destructive, it may need to be temporarily crated to prevent them from damaging the house or injuring themselves. Seeking the professional help of a dog behaviour specialist who can help you and your dog work through these issues is recommended.

And what do pets do when they are home alone? Unless you have cameras installed in your home it is impossible to tell what your pet or pets get up to in your absence. The good news is that pets are creatures of habit. In the main, they treat their owner’s departure as part of their daily routine. Alone-time is also a chance for animals to sleep, something they spend a lot more time doing than we do.

Television for Dogs – Critics are calling DogTV a new breed of television, a 24-hour block of on-demand programming designed to keep your dog calm while you’re away from home. During production, cameramen had to mute colors, alter sound, and add music specially written for dogs, according to the Huffington Post, with no commercials, ratings, and reruns. A million subscribers with a couple cable companies already have access to DogTV in San Diego alone. The cost will only be about $4.99 monthly, also according to Huffington Post.
The New York Times reported that DogTV, which is the first cable channel devoted to viewing by pets, features simple yet appealing views of grassy fields, bouncing balls, and humans rubbing the tummies of dog.

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