As your dog grows older, he will no longer feel as anxious when being separated from you. This is the time to introduce him to new experiences and helping him to gain confidence in your absence. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do for him to help with this transition. Here are a few ideas:
25 Ideas to Help with Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
1. Socialize your dog: As a puppy, you should have already started socializing with new people and different environments. You must continue to do this throughout his life, as it helps him gain confidence. Take him for walks in busy places such as shops, parks, and cafes. When you go out of the house on a walk, pretend that you are leaving the house for good! This will help him get used to being left alone at home.
Don’t panic if your dog starts barking: It can sometimes be challenging to know what you should do when your dog barks. It may be that he’s trying to tell you something and that you should take note of this. However, it is essential not to react harshly. Instead, provide some reassurance.
2. Teach your dog some tricks: Learning new tricks is an excellent way for your dog to pass the time, and it will also distract him from being too sad when left alone. Teach him to bring you his favorite toy, roll over and bark on command (or any other commands that you like).
Remind your dog to do things like sit, roll over and shake hands (you could also teach him a trick where he jumps through a hoop, for example). These tricks are great fun for him as well as helping him to pass the time.
3. Follow a schedule: Help reassure your dog that he will be okay when you are out of the house by sticking to a routine. The same activities should take place at the same time each day. For example, you could feed him and then give him a walk before leaving the house. This will help your dog to know what to expect and when things are going to happen. Try not to change your routine without letting your dog know first, and don’t forget to give him plenty of praise when he does something correctly.
4. Leave a radio on: A radio can be left on during the day, or you can buy one that has an alarm function. This will help your dog to get used to the sounds and will make him feel that you are nearby.
5. Have a special place for your dog: Make a separate space from what you use for yourself, either in your bedroom or by the door. This will help your dog feel more comfortable about being left alone and will make him realize that it’s not the end of the world when you are out.
6. Take your dog out on a walk: After leaving the house, take your dog on a short walk. This will allow him to stretch his legs, and it will also give you both some fresh air and exercise. Your dog will appreciate this break from being at home while you are out.
7. Feed your dog: Give your dog his usual breakfast or dinner when you are at home so that he has something special to look forward to when you go out.
8. Cuddle up on the couch: If your dog stays at home with you, it is a good idea to take him for a walk or to your bedroom so that he can get used to being there. This will help him realize that you are not going away forever.
9. Take pictures of your dog: Whenever you leave the house, it’s good to take lots of pictures of your pet so that he doesn’t feel left out when you return. You could have his picture on the table or in the hallway. This will make him feel that he is part of your family and help him stop missing you.
10. Crate when you return: When you get home, put your dog in his crate before going into the house so that he is familiar with the enclosure. He will feel more comfortable being there when you return home.
11. Treats: As your dog gets older, he will need less exercise. Instead of doing vigorous activities such as running around the block or going for long walks, you can give him a few treats when you come home to make sure that he is ready to have lots of fun when you return.
It can be beneficial to give your dog a treat whenever you leave or return home. This will help him to get used to having treats when he is left alone.
12. Give your dog a chew toy: Dogs love to chew, which they should be encouraged to do. If you leave your dog alone for long periods of time, he might also chew on furniture or your possessions in the home. This is where a chew toy can come in handy, as it will help occupy him for a while.
13. Introduce new eating habits: When you leave your dog for extended periods of time at home, it will be good to try and introduce some new things to his diet. This will help him build his confidence when you are out and about.
14. Put your dog in a kennel: A kennel can be helpful if you want to leave your dog for extended periods of time. It can be used as a confinement method, or it can also be used to let him out to go on walks. Do not leave your dog in the kennel all the time, though. It is best to take him out periodically and allow him to stretch his legs. When you leave him, take him out on a short walk to help keep his mind off being at home.
15. Play games: Playing games with your dog is a great way to make him feel more comfortable when you are not around. You could play fetch or hide and seek (a game where he has to find you, and you have to find him). This is an excellent way for him to burn off some energy while you are at work.
16. Leave your dog with a friend: If it’s possible, it’s always a good idea to have someone come over and be with your dog while you are away. This could be a family member or a friend (if you have more than one dog, they could play together). The person coming over should take your dog to the same place that you do so that he can get used to the routine.
17. Take your dog with you: You can help your dog feel more comfortable being left alone by taking him with you on the journey. This can be done by taking him in a car or by getting yourself a small dog carrier.
18. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior: If your dog starts to bark, he is likely telling you something. Take note of what he is saying and try to make sense of it. It might be that he wants you to go out, or perhaps he needs more exercise because he has been running around all day in the house.
19. Toys! It’s a good idea to give your dog some toys designed for being played with when left at home. Give your dog a new chew toy: If your dog will be left at home for long periods of time, it’s a good idea to give him something to play with. This will help him to get rid of the energy that he has.
20. Take your dog on a trip: If you are going on an outing or a trip, try and take your dog with you. If you can, take him out on a walk or to the park before you go. This will help him to feel more comfortable and not as stressed when he is left at home.
21. Increase the time: If you are going out for short periods of time, try and increase your time away from home slowly. For example, if you usually go out for an hour at a time, try increasing it to two hours before eventually leaving your dog alone for long periods of time.
22. Be patient: If you feel that your dog is ready to be left alone, you should be prepared for him to make mistakes. Do not punish your dog when he does something that he shouldn’t do, such as jumping on the furniture. Instead, be patient and teach him how to behave when you are out.
23. Dog Breed Selection: Many dog breeds are suitable for inexperienced owners and are good for you to leave alone. These dog breeds include the Siberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Beagle, German Shepherd Dog
24. Cuddling with your dog! Do you have a blanket or pillow? You can use that to cuddle with your furry friend and leave it with your dog when you are away. Your scent on the blanket or pillow will be comforting for your dog. He will soon be used to being left alone.
25. Exercise, don’t punish: Punishment is not recommended when it comes to leaving your dog alone. Only discipline what is needed when you are not home; don’t punish for normal behavior that can be corrected. If your dog jumps on the furniture or tries to chew on something, make sure you correct him before he does any damage.
It can be hard leaving your dog at home by himself. If you want to help your pet adjust, we have created a list of things that will make it easier for him to cope. Give him a treat, lots of love, and attention, and make sure that he is getting enough exercise. Finally, it’s essential to pay attention to your dog’s behavior as dogs have a way of communicating with their owners. If you try some of the techniques above, you should start to notice a change in his behavior over time.