Have you ever come home from work to find that your dog has destroyed every pillow in the home, or has had an accident on the floor? While many pet owners may want to chalk this up to simply being bad pet behavior, there's a chance that your pooch could be acting out from anxiety.
Signs of pet anxiety
Just like people, dogs can have conditions that lead them to feel needlessly anxious or stressed. For many pups, these feelings are exacerbated when their beloved humans leave them alone.
According to Healthy Pets, there are several signs that pet parents should look for to help determine if their dog is dealing with separation anxiety, including:
- Destructive behavior, especially to a home's exit points or your personal items.
- Bathroom accidents, especially if they aren't confined to just one area of the home.
- Barking or whining, especially when it can tell that you're getting ready to leave.
If your dog does these things when it's alone and not when you're around, it's more likely to be a sign of anxiety. Anxious dogs will also likely follow you from room to room in the house because they don't like having you out of sight, may lean against you or sit on your feet to be as close to you as possible or may have visible shifts in their moods when you're getting ready to go out.
Treating anxiety for dogs
If you think your pup has anxiety, you should discuss the issue with your vet first, Dog Times reported. Typically, treatment will revolve around a few behavior modifications. You may be asked to spend some time starting your leaving-the-house routine, including putting on shoes and gathering together keys, and then not actually leaving the house. This can normalize the going-out signs that your pup is looking for, so it's not starting to build anticipation when you getting ready to go out for real.
It can also help to give the dog something to hold its attention or allow it to be destructive without harming your things. Try giving it a special toy or treat every time you leave that it only gets when you aren't home. Try the Hartz® Ruff Rewards® puzzle toy to help hold its attention for longer while you're out.
It's important to be patient during the relearning process for your pooch, and to be gentle with it. Reacting with your own stress or anger in return will only make the problem worse.
This content is provided by the pet experts at Hartz®. Before you invest in a new chew toy, biscuit or treat for your companion, turn to us for top-of-the-line advice and tips.
Category: Dog Training and Behavior