Many dogs have issues when they are left in the home alone and this is something which I have experienced in the last year with my dog Sam, a border collie who began to scratch the home and go to the bathroom at home, something which he has never done before. It started when I began working in my garden, a new hobby for me and one which kept me out of the house for long periods of time. I got into gardening after a neighbor of mine told me about the Octopot, an easy way to grow plants in the garden, the best ebb and flow growing system for amateur gardeners like myself, I soon discovered that I loved this hobby. I digress. Sam struggled to seal with my time outside and so my next challenge became settling his separation anxiety, and here is how I did it.
It seemed that Sam became most frustrated during the first 30 minutes that I walked out the door and so I needed to find a way to keep him occupied. I bought one of those dog chew toys where you can hide treats inside, and as the dog plays with the toys the treats fall out. I have seen Sam spend at least an hour with this toy so I would pack it up with bundles of treats and it seemed to really help. I used Wonder Chews because they propose to help with anxiety in dogs, bolstering my chances even further.
Leaving and Arriving
A great tip which my vet shared with me, and one which really works, is to minimize the drama around your leaving and arriving. The reason for this is that the dog gets anxious about you coming home because they know that it will be something to get excited about. What you need to do when arriving home is to pretty much ignore the dog for around 10 or 15 minutes, then shower the love if you wish. This gives the dog far less anticipation of your arrival and can settle them down. When you leave, don’t say anything to the dog, just walk out.
You can practice leaving the dog alone when you are in the house, which will help them to become accustomed to being alone. Simply put them in the bedroom for an hour, then two, then longer if you like, all whilst you are in the house. This will ease the dog into feeling more comfortable when they are on their own for real.
Putting your dog in a crate is not cruel at all and in fact they can often feel much more safe and secure when they are inside. Remember that you should never leave a dog in a crate for more than 5 hours at a time, even if they have food and water inside the crate. Gradually show your dog the crate when you are in the home and when they feel comfortable, you can begin to use it when you leave.