Dorsetdog - Separation anxiety

One of the cruellest things that any caring owner can do to their dog is to encourage its missing the owner. A dog that barks, whines and howls whilst the owner is away is showing signs of separation anxiety.

This is often caused by the owner coming home and making a fuss of the dog as the owner opens the front door. The dog is saying “Oh how I’ve missed you, I thought you were never coming back.”

Without realising it, the owner who makes a fuss of the dog when it is in this state is actually telling the dog that it was right to worry about if the owner came back. This has a spiralling effect on the dog, who will get worse as the owner’s actions continues to increase the dog’s concerns.

A good owner will walk in to the house, take their coat and unpack the shopping before making a fuss of the dog. By this stage the dog has calmed down a great deal and will not pick up the wrong message, and will not have its fears encouraged.

When leaving the dog, a good owner will say something simple like “See you later, be good” and then just walk out. A cruel owner will get down to the dog's level and make a fuss. This action emphasises to the dog that it is about to be left alone, and should not be done.

It should be remembered that dogs are hot human babies. It is possible to leave them for many hours on their own, just ensure that a bowl of fresh water is available to them.

It is advisable to leave the dog with its collar removed.

One unconfirmed story goes “Two friends went shopping for the day and left their dogs together whilst they went out. On returning they found both dogs dead. It transpired that whilst play fighting, one dog got its bottom jaw strapped in the other dog’s collar and was unable to free itself. Both dogs died of asphyxia, - so please remove the collars before going out.