Dogs need to be taught that it is safe to be left at home on their own. It is not something they automatically know, and some dogs struggle more than others.
There are various signs that your dog is struggling when home on their own. The following list is not conclusive, but if your dog does ANY of the below behaviours when home alone (which they don’t do when you are home) then they may be struggling:
- Toileting in the house (when otherwise house trained)
- Chewing excessively
- Destructive behaviours
- Excessive drooling or panting
- Refusing to eat food you have left them
- Trying to escape
- Digging at the carpet
- Being unable to settle
- Looking tense, tail tucked under, taught jaw
- Excessive licking of lips or yawning
When your dog is struggling to be home alone, they are not doing it to punish you. They are frightened and scared.
It could be that individual dog has had bad experiences in the past, perhaps they are a rescue who has been moved from one home to another and they don’t know if you will ever come back. However, it is important to remember that this is not always the case.
Many people who’s dog suffers from separation related behaviours have had their dog from a puppy. They have done everything right and introduced home alone time appropriately, yet that dog has still struggled. It is NOT your fault. Some dogs are just genetically pre-dispositioned to struggle when left on their own.
The good news is, There is a solution!!
You can teach your dog that it is safe to be home alone, even those who really struggle with it. This training does not hurt your dog. You do not need to eat first, prevent your dog sitting on the sofa or bed (if you choose to let them up there). Outside of the training, most people can act exactly how they always have with their dog!
So…. how is it done?
We will gradually expose your dog to longer and longer amounts of time home alone. We will ALWAYS do this at a level where your dog can cope, and doesn’t show any signs of stress. For some dogs, this may only be walking towards the door, whereas others may already be ok for 5 seconds, or 5 minutes.
I can help you assess what your dog can cope with now, and we will go from there.
To find out more, please visit my separation anxiety page!