For dogs with mild separation anxiety, listed here are tips for helping your pup cope when you are gone.
Leave Behind an Item with your Scent
If you are leaving your dog somewhere that is unfamiliar to him or her, consider bringing along an item that smells like you – such as a pillowcase, blanket, or favorite t-shirt. This trick is especially useful when your dog is being boarded somewhere new for the first time.
Provide a Distraction
When you are leaving your dog home alone, providing a distraction keeps your dog from being destructive. A favorite distraction toy of many dog owners is a KONG, which can be filled with food and treats. If you give your dog a peanut butter filled KONG every day before you leave, your dog will begin to look forward to your absence. To make the KONG an even better distraction, freeze it overnight.
Teach Your Dog a Code Phrase
You can disarm your dog’s fear by using a phrase that reminds your pet you are not leaving him or her forever. Every time you leave your home – whether for a long or short trip – tell your dog the same phrase such as “I’ll be right back.” Doing so will help your dog learn that you are not abandoning him or her.
Exercise Your Pup Before Leaving
A tired dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog stresses less about an owner’s absence. Create a routine that involves vigorous exercise for your pet before you leave the house every day for work. With sufficient exercise, your dog will be too tired to worry about you while you are gone and will sleep the day away instead.
Keep Goodbyes Short
Even though you will miss your dog while you are gone for the day, it is important to keep your goodbyes short and sweet. The more you fuss over saying goodbye to your pet, the more anxiety your dog will have. Instead of gushing and fussing over your dog, simply say your code phrase as you walk out the door.
Being separated from your best friend is stressful, no matter the duration. The tips mentioned here will help your dog cope with your absence. Distractions, scented items from home, code phrases, plenty of exercise, and minimal fuss over leaving all lead to an emotionally stable pup!