All dog owners have faced this horrible guilty feeling of having to leave their pets to go to work or school. The sad look in their eyes follows us all day long until we get back home. Our dogs have a naturally clingy personality and they tend to suffer endlessly once we leave them, even if it’s just a quick getaway to the store. So, how can we fight this and let our doggos know that we’ll be back soon and there’s nothing to worry about? Sadly, we can never completely reassure them, as they probably will get sad every time we leave. However, we can do our best to make this easier for them and less stressful by distracting them or keeping them satisfied.
It all starts once your dog has to leave its nest, its mom, brothers and sisters. This is a very difficult time for the young pup as it’s the time they leave their pack, which is absolutely unnatural in the animal kingdom. This is the time when they cry and suffer and if we pick them up every time they do that, we’ll create a habit and teach our pup that this is the kind of behavior which is rewarded by us giving them love and affection. This is actually why some dogs keep doing this ritual throughout their whole lives, just because of the initial error we made. So, you must be strong at times like these, even though your heart may be breaking, but know that you’ll be doing your pupper a huge favour.
This is quite a neat strategy, but it takes some time. You are supposed to make a safe environment for your dog out of a crate, where it can be happy and relaxed. This is done by bringing your dog its favourite toys into the crate, his treats and let him stay there starting for a very short period of time, and then extend it gradually. The goal is to have your dog be in the crate at the moment you’re leaving the apartment, so you can relieve their tension by keeping them in their safe and happy place. Of course, you shouldn’t make any fuss about leaving, do it as quietly as possible.
If your dog is having too much trouble dealing with separation,, you can take them to a fun puppy day care center and help them spend your time apart joyfully. These places are so much fun and the people that work there are 100% dog lovers, so you’d be leaving your doggo in safe hands. This is a great option for when you need to go to work or school. At the same time, you can train your dog not to be as sad on other occasions when you leave them for a shorter period of time.
Change your routine
Dogs tend to react when they hear their owners putting their shoes on or taking their coat, keys, etc. So, the important thing for you would be to try and change this routine. Misplace your coat or your keys, put on different shoes or put them on outside the house or apartment. Do your best for your dog not to notice that you’re leaving, and above all, don’t let it stay a ritual. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to change your routine constantly until you see your dog is not as sad and stressed out as before by the fact that you’re leaving, then you can get it back, but make sure to change it even then from time to time.
No big deal
Coming back to the subject of us being the main culprits for our dog’s separation anxiety, we must say that your sad ritual when leaving your dog is just contributing to the sad ritual that will follow in your dog’s behavior. So, please, refrain from saying goodbye to your dog, hugging, comforting, sad looks, etc. The rule is “No touch, no talk, no eye contact”. It’s harsh, but it’ what you must do for the sake of your beloved doggo.
Our dogs love us unconditionally and we can only try to return the same kind of pure love. Of course, as much as we want to, we cannot spend all our time with them and we need to let them know that we are always going to be there for them and we’ll never abandon them. This is why we need to train our doggos and help them deal with their issues in the best possible way. After all, they would forgive anything we do, but they deserve to be happy at all times and we shouldn’t settle for less.