It’s no secret that lots of dogs have separation anxiety. It’s a common problem for many dog owners, including us. Our new foster Annabelle suffers from separation anxiety. Wally does too. But what goes through a dog’s mind when they’re left home alone? Our friend Caramel thought it would be great to share her point of view on this issue. Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? What do you do to ease their anxiety?
Separation Anxiety from the Dog’s Point of View
Sometimes when Dad comes home, I get so excited to see him that I can’t stop myself from jumping around, barking and licking him all over. Most of the time, he’s happy to see me too, but sometimes I get in trouble because I’ve made a mess in the house or chewed on the rug. I understand that this is a problem a lot of my other dog friends go through, so I thought it might help to talk about why this happens and how my Dad helps me.
What Goes through a Dog’s Mind When You’re Gone
Whenever Dad leaves me, it feels like he’ll be gone forever. I always wonder whether he’ll really come back. Dogs don’t understand how time works. An hour and a day both feel really long when you’re all by yourself in an empty house, especially when there’s not much for you to do.
To keep myself from getting too bored, sometimes I chew on things. It makes me feel better, but then I get in trouble later. I don’t always know that’s what I’m getting in trouble for, though, so it’s really hard to remember not to do it. Sometimes I also have to go outside and can’t wait until Dad comes home to walk me, so I leave a mess on the floor. It’s so embarrassing, but I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do.
Dogs are pack animals, and when we’re separated from our pack, we can get scared and lonely. Sometimes I’ll bark or howl to see if my packmates will answer me, but they never do. I guess the neighbors don’t like that very much, but I don’t know why. I’m just trying to find my pack.
How Mommies and Daddies Can Help Their Fur-kids
Luckily for me, my Dad started doing some things that really help me be less lonely while he’s away:
— Leaving the TV on. I know they’re not real people, but when I hear people talking on the TV, it helps the house from seeming so quiet and lonely.
— Giving me a nice blanket. If I have something that smells like Dad, it helps me remember that he’s not gone forever. It’s also nice if I have a cozy, comfortable place to sleep while he’s gone, like a kennel.
— Giving me some toys. It gets so boring being alone all day. Toys that are really challenging help keep me busy and help the time pass quickly.
— Hiring a dog sitter. Sometimes a sitter comes to check on me, take me for walks or even play ball with me. I love her almost as much as I love my Dad.
If other dogs show this list to their moms and dads, maybe it will help them understand what they can do. Every dog is different, so all of these things might not work, but trying them will definitely help the dog see that his mommy or daddy cares about him.
Caramel Easterly serves as Chief Rover for the dog boarding and dog sitting offices of Rover.com. A tiny, red-headed 11 year old Teacup Pomeranian, Caramel has over 10 years of experience in dog advocacy and spends her days at the office scouting for belly rubs and dining on bacon and Asian cuisine. For more tips and posts from Caramel, follow Rover.com on Twitter @roverdotcom or on their blog, Dog Boarding News.
Ever try training two dogs to “take a bow” at the same time?
Butts in the air, guys! Butts in the air!
Hey friends, Lu here. I know the Woman usually writes this stuff, but I have something really important to say. Yesterday, the Woman learned the importance of teaching us people words. I accidentally backed out of my harness when we were walking, then I heard the Woman say the word “Stay”. Because she’s practiced that word with me over and over again, I knew not to move a muscle. She put my harness back on me and gave me lots of kisses and we got to finish our walk. I’m SO lucky I knew what that word meant! What if I didn’t know and thought it was ok for me to run away?! I might have gotten lost or hurt! Make sure your people teach you the important words, like STAY, COME and LEAVE IT. And always remember to be a good student and tilt your head so they know you’re listening! xoxo ~ LuLu
If your people don’t know how to teach you words yet, here are some great videos on a few of the most important words you should know: