Image courtesy: Pixabay.com/
As social animals, dogs do not enjoy being left alone, and may feel stressed or anxious when put in such situations. Of course, you may not be able to be around your dog or make sure that they have company round the clock. Here are some tips that can help you train your dog to be by itself.
Practice bouts of pet isolation
Your dog may not be keen on the idea of solitary confinement, but you want to train him to gradually become accustomed to it. Start by leaving your dog by himself for a few minutes, and then move on to a couple of hours. You can pick up your keys and wear your shoes as if you were leaving home, so your dog associates it with you leaving home. Of course, if you are hesitant about leaving your dog by itself, then you can probably set up a camera to monitor its reactions while you are away. Does he/she show destructive behavior when or after you leave? How long does it take before your dog turns distressed on being left alone? Are there other factors that are causing your dog to panic when left alone such as traffic or woodwork? This will help you gauge the separation anxiety in your dog when left alone, so you can accordingly train him or seek help for the same. Dog day care can also be an option.
Do’s and dont’s
Do not get back to your dog if it calls for attention with barks, whines or howls when you leave. You don’t want your dog to grow dependent on you to that extent, this is what fuels anxiety in the first place. Do give him toys that he/she can keep himself/herself busy with while you are not around, to dispel some of the anxiety. Sometimes, it may just be boredom that is causing your dog to behave badly when left alone. You can get him/her food dispenser, chew and puzzle toys so he/she keeps himself engaged. Do give your dog treats when you leave and not when you get back home. This way he/she will not associate the act of you leaving him/her and going out as something negative.
Don’t make a big deal of it
We know that you aren’t keen on leaving your pet by itself, and are absolutely thrilled to be greeted by its excited barks when you return home. However, you don’t want to make this obvious to your pet. Most pet owners like to shower their pets with a lot of affection before they leave the house, and when they return as well. What you want to do instead is to make no fuss while leaving or returning home, so it seems like a natural thing to do, just as it would be if you were walking from one room to the other. The idea is to not let anxiety pent up in your pet, by giving these situations a lot of attention.