Separation Anxiety In Dogs: Training Your Dog To Stay Home Alone
The world is full of different types of dogs. Some are very sociable, some are not so much. There are also different breeds of dogs. Each breed has its own personality traits and behaviors.
However, there is one thing that all dogs have in common: they need to be with their family members during the day time when it’s safe for them to do so (and even then).
It’s true that some dogs like to play with other dogs or chase squirrels outside while others prefer to spend their time inside. But, if your dog is one of those that prefers spending most of his time indoors, he needs to learn how to behave himself when it comes to being left alone. And here’s what you can do:
1) Teach him how to go out on walks.
If you want your dog to be able to walk down the street without worrying about whether someone might steal his food, then teach him how to go out on walks. You don’t need any special equipment; just take him with you on regular walks. If he likes it, he’ll start going too! Of course, you still need to supervise him at times (if necessary), but this will definitely make walking with him a little less scary for everyone involved.
2) Teach him how to stay in the yard.
If your dog tends to run out of the house without hesitation, then teach him how to stay in the yard. This might sound silly if you do have a fence, but not all fenced yards are created equal. Your dog may be able to easily hop over the side (if the gate isn’t closed properly or if they can dig under it). He also might not understand why he needs to stay inside the yard in the first place.
So, you’ll need to teach him that part as well.
This is actually a task that you’ll have to keep working on with your dog on a regular basis. As he gets older, his natural curiosity about the outside world is going to make him want to leave the yard more often. However, this is usually a very easy problem to fix (as long as you catch him before he leaves the yard).
3) Teach him how to stay home alone.
If you really want to stop your dog from running away, then you’ll need to teach him how to stay home alone. Now, this may or may not be as easy as the other steps in this process, but it still can be done.
Keep in mind that if your dog has general separation anxiety, then this is going to be a much more difficult process. In fact, you may even need to get professional help to fix this problem. But if your dog just has trouble with being home alone, then it should be easier to address.
Now, there are some tips and tricks that can help you with this process, but one of the best things that you can do is crate training. If you’ve never heard of this method before, it’s where you force your dog to stay inside of a crate when you leave for work. It may sound cruel, but when done right, your dog will love it.
As long as you pick the right size crate for your dog (not too big and not too small), feed him in there, give him plenty of toys and keep the environment as comfortable as possible, your dog should have no problem with this scenario. In fact, he’ll actually be happy about it since he won’t have to experience any anxiety about being left home alone anymore.
Sources & references used in this article:
Frequency of nonspecific clinical signs in dogs with separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, and noise phobia, alone or in combination by KL Overall, AE Dunham, D Frank – Journal of the American …, 2001 – Am Vet Med Assoc
Canine anxieties and phobias: an update on separation anxiety and noise aversions by BL Sherman, DS Mills – Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal …, 2008 – Elsevier
Evaluation of treatments for separation anxiety in dogs by Y Takeuchi, KA Houpt, JM Scarlett – Journal of the American …, 2000 – Am Vet Med Assoc
Risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety in dogs by G Flannigan, NH Dodman – … of the American Veterinary Medical …, 2001 – Am Vet Med Assoc
Treating separation anxiety in dogs by CTC Malena DeMartini-Price – 2014 – books.google.com
Separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and cats by S Schwartz – Journal of the American Veterinary Medical …, 2003 – Am Vet Med Assoc
Diagnosing and treating canine separation anxiety by G Landsberg – 79th Western Veterinary Conference, 2007 – researchgate.net
A counterbalanced version of Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure reveals secure-base effects in dog–human relationships by R Palmer, D Custance – Applied animal behaviour science, 2008 – Elsevier
The effects of dog obedience training and behavioural counselling upon the human-canine relationship by GI Clark, WN Boyer – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1993 – Elsevier