As much as we hate being away from our furry friends, it turns out they often hate being away from us also.
In fact, as pack animals, separation anxiety is one of the main reason dogs act out, whether that’s chewing your favourite shoes or pooping on your new carpet.
Still, there’s plenty owners can do to curb this behaviour and make their puppy pals happier to spend time alone.
Here’s five useful tips for handling separation anxiety in your pet that can change both yours and your dog’s life.
And next time Rover barks non-stop or pees on your clean washing, try not to get too angry – they just love you that much!
- Take Your Dog for a Walk Before You Leave the House
Getting up extra early to walk your dog may not seem that appealing, but your furbaby will thank you for it. This will help your pet to relax and leave them in a calm, restful mood for when you leave the house. You can even reward their peaceful mindset with food or water for extra validation.
- Don’t Make a Big Deal When You Head Out
To show your pup that you leaving for a few hours isn’t something they should be worried about, don’t make a huge fuss when you head out the door. This includes no touching, talking, or eye contact with your pet.
This way you’re communicating that leaving is just business as usual, and not something they should get worked up over. If you have trouble saying goodbye without a good snuggle, make sure you say goodbye a while before actually heading out. This way the dog doesn’t associate the attention with you leaving them behind.
- Stay Calm Yourself
It’s easy for animal lovers to worry about the anxiety their dog must be suffering when we leave them at home, but it’s not helping either of you. Dogs are pack animals, and they can pick up on your anxious feelings. Instead, act calm and assertive as you leave the house. Ensure your pet that everything will be ok by acting like everything will be ok. After all, you’ll be home later to make it up to them!
- Start Off by Leaving Them for Shorter Periods of Time
Another option is to ease your pet gently into alone time by leaving them for short periods to begin with. Start by giving them space in five-minute intervals, then increase the time to twenty minutes, then an hour. Eventually, you’ll be leaving them for a full eight hours and your dog will be no more nervous than if you’d never left them at all!
- Buy an Audiobook
It may sound controversial, but studies have shown that listening to audiobooks has a calming effect on dogs suffering with separation anxiety. The sound of a human voice improves their mood and makes them less nervous, and we doubt they’re particularly fussy about the title you choose either!