Few of us like to be left alone for long periods, and your dog is certainly no exception. When working means having to leave your furry baby alone all day, it’s not unusual for some bad behaviour to be displayed.
This is usually caused by separation anxiety. Dogs tend to experience this anxiety when left alone because they struggle to be separated from their “pack”, i.e. you and your family. Anxiety in dogs often results in disruptive behaviour like barking, howling and trying to escape, and destructive behaviour, such as destroying toys and household items, urinating and defecating inside, chewing, digging and scratching furniture.
There are some ways that you can prevent your dog from becoming anxious while you’re gone for long periods, so let’s delve into how you can stop their bad behaviour.
Leave your home quietly
If you have a morning routine, your dog can quickly learn the signs that you’re about to leave them behind for the day. Consider how you go about each morning and if you can change things to prevent these clues, this might be something as simple as:
- Distracting your dog with a treat or toy
- Not saying bye to your dog (although we know how tough that is!)
- Putting on your shoes in a different room
- Using a different exit door
Whatever you do, try to switch things up a bit each day so the routine becomes less predictable.
You can also confuse your dog by picking up your keys and shoes at different times during the day when you are at home, putting them down somewhere, picking them up again, etc. Your dog will eventually lose interest in them and forget that they used to mean you’d be leaving soon!
Use scent to calm your dog during the day
A dogs sense of smell is 40 times more sensitive than our own, and they often rely on it more than their eyesight. Leaving a piece of clothing with them that smells of you can be a fantastically simple way to remind them of you during the day as they get anxious.
Alternatively, consider using calming scent plug-ins around their daily living space. These adapters plug straight into your electrical sockets and slowly release the smell of pheromones that act like comforting messages for your dog.
Keep your dog busy while you’re away
Boredom is a common reason for bad behaviour while you’re gone even when separation anxiety isn’t an issue, so keeping your dog busy and distracted is an important part of keeping their behaviour in check.
Exercising your dog with a long walk before you leave will help to tire them out and prompt them to doze for the first few hours of your absence. Make sure there are challenging toys for them such as Kongs or dispensing treat games for when they’re awake.
Cuddly toys and scented soothers can also help your dog to play their way to calmness while you’re away.
Train your dog to stay
Your dog might be anxious because they don’t know when you will return. This can especially be the case for rescue shelter dogs that may have been abandoned in the past. One way to get past this hurdle is to teach your dog the “stay” command.
The idea is to slowly build up to your dog staying in their commanded position while you leave the room, then for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually your dog will learn that you always come back with a treat and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. This means that you need to be consistent both with the training, rewards and your own behaviour!
Have a pet sitter check on them
One of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety and bad behaviour in your dog while you’re away is to hire a pet sitter to visit them through the day. During these times they can be taken for a walk, played with, fed or just have the chance to enjoy some human attention for a while.
To find out more about pet sitting in Dubai and how drop-in and walking services can benefit your dog while you’re away, check out our database of local pet borrowers to discover what they can offer you and your dog.