How to Train Your Dog to Stay Home Alone

Medium
2-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

It has been a whirlwind few weeks since you introduced your gorgeous puppy into your new home. You’ve loved staying home with him and playing mother. Even the toilet training you didn’t mind too much. It has been a much-needed break from work too. However, the end of this period is on the horizon and you need to go back to work soon. The only problem is, that as it currently stands, he whimpers and moans whenever you leave him for a few minutes, so leaving him alone in the house all day may prove challenging.

It may be difficult, but it is also essential, for his health as well as yours. If he doesn’t get used to being in the house alone, he may develop separation anxiety. If he’s to be a happy dog, he simply has to learn to spend time on his own.

Defining Tasks

How challenging it is to train a dog to stay home alone will depend a lot on the dog’s personality. Some dogs will naturally be needier, while others will be more solitary animals. Whatever his temperament though, you simply need to find the right incentives to make staying at home relatively enjoyable. You will also need to establish a consistent routine, where he gets all the attention he needs when you are around, so he’s not left wanting when you’re gone.

If he’s a puppy then training may take a while. He will need you more and be less used to being left alone. You may need several weeks. Likewise, if he’s older and always had you around then he may need up to six weeks to adjust. Get this training right and you will be able to relax when you head off to work, instead of worrying.

Getting Started

Before you begin training you will need to gather a few things. Get your hands on some food puzzles and toys that will keep him occupied when you leave him alone. You will also need to dedicate around 10 minutes each day to training. 

Having some tasty treats around may help. It is also worth ensuring he has a comfy bed, in an enclosed location. A new bed with blankets may make spending several hours in there more appealing.

Once you have all the above, you just need willpower and optimism, then you’re ready to get to work!

The Routine Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Leave him for 5
You can’t just leave him alone for hours on end. You need to get him gradually used to spending time on his own. To do that, you will need to start by leaving him in the house alone for just 5 minutes.
Step
2
Return
After 5 minutes at the neighbor's or at the shop, head back home and greet him. Make sure you give him attention and praise him. It’s important he knows you will be back soon and happy to see him.
Step
3
15 minutes
The next day, head out for 15 minutes instead. Again, make sure you go back and give him attention as soon as you come back. It may be challenging those first few times when he’s sulking and whining, but he will soon get used to it.
Step
4
Gradually increase the time
Over the next couple of weeks, gradually increase the length of time you leave him alone for. Always make sure you give him the odd treat and praise when you come back in the room.
Step
5
Cold shoulder
It’s important you don’t give in to his whining. As soon as you do, you are telling him that moaning behavior is the right way to get what he wants. This will only make the problem worse. So, be resilient and give him the cold shoulder as you leave.
Recommend training method?

The Environment Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
New bed
Make sure he has a comfy bed to lie in when you leave him alone. You could also think about moving it to a spot where he has walls around him. This will make the space feel more like his, ensuring he feels more relaxed when he’s left.
Step
2
Food puzzles
Leaving him a food puzzle each time you leave the house to start with, is a fantastic way to distract him and keep him occupied. Some food puzzles can keep dogs distracted for hours.
Step
3
New toys
A new toy or two could also do the job of keeping him occupied when you first start leaving him. Toys will help put him at ease and leave him feeling content when you leave him alone.
Step
4
Exercise
Try giving him a decent walk before you leave him alone. A tired dog is a happy dog. If he’s spending his time napping when you are out the house, he will find the whole ordeal far easier to deal with.
Step
5
Play time
Spend a few minutes playing tug of war or fetch before you leave him. Not only will you be giving him some attention so that box is ticked when you leave, but it will also tire him out. He won’t be sad you’re gone when he’s fast asleep.
Recommend training method?

The Attention Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Toilet time
Take him out for the toilet before you leave him alone. He will find being left alone far less enjoyable if he’s desperate to go to for a pee. The quick run around and fresh air may also help him nap when you leave.
Step
2
Praise & reward
When you come back in after leaving him, go straight to him and give him a treat. Then give him some verbal praise and spend some time stroking him. Soon he will start associating your leaving with receiving a load of attention as soon as you return.
Step
3
Build up the time
Make sure you don’t go straight in with leaving him all day alone. Start by leaving him for just a few minutes, then the next day a little longer, and so on until he’s used to being left alone for a while.
Step
4
Separate at night
If he sleeps with you every night, he will find it much harder to leave you in the day time. So, making sure he sleeps in a separate room will make it easier to leave him in the long run. It may be tough, but you will be reducing his separation anxiety.
Step
5
Never punish him
If you come back into the house after leaving him and he’s been to the toilet on the floor, do not punish him. The same goes for if he has broken something. If you punish him and scare him, he may only act up more in an attempt to win your approval.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
7 Months

My puppy has developed car anxiety In the last month or so. She used to like the car and be happy to go anywhere, but the last few weeks she has started to refuse to get in the car and she shakes really bad as soon as she gets in. She only cries every once in a while, but she won’t calm down until we finally get to our destination. She is about 12-13 pounds and I have tried the car hammock, a kennel, and a dog seatbelt. Do you have any suggestions on what would ease her anxiety or what I should use (kennel, seatbelt, hammock, etc.) in the car? I have even put her favorite toy, a Kong with peanut butter, her favorite blanket, etc with her and nothing helps her stop shaking. Any suggestions would help!!! Thank you :)

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. Dogs sometimes go through weird phases as they are maturing. I think you're best bet is to continue doing what you are doing, but practice with short trips. I would also stick to using the kennel. Load her up with her favorite items. And then go for a quick 10 minute drive. This will show her that the drives really aren't that big of a deal and she will go back to enjoying them.

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Question
Mia
Jack Russell
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mia
Jack Russell
4 Months

Good day I rescued a pup and she is a small breed, we have her a month now and had to go back to work and she is left alone during the day she is good most of the times however recently she is biting anything and everything. She is also peeing on her bed and my kids bed. She used to pee on the pad only now she is peeing anywhere even on the couches. She is left in a big space and i close off all the bedroom doors. Please help me I dont know what to do. How do i train her if we not going to be home. Just need her to pee and poop in a specified spot indoors as there is no one to walk her during the day

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like she may have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Question
Maya
Golden Retriever
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Maya
Golden Retriever
3 Months

She is attached to us all time we couldn't leave her alone and go to toilet even she is making sad sounds if we leave her out of our bed room as well

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, know that it's normal for a puppy to cry while alone. They have to be intentionally taught some independence and given the chance to see that you will return and to learn how to calm themselves. Check out the article linked below. I recommend practicing it with a crate or exercise pen. There will be crying involved in teaching a puppy independence- but teaching it now can actually prevent true separation anxiety later on in adult dogs. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Shepherd Husky
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Max
Shepherd Husky
6 Years

We recently adopted a 6 yr old German Shepherd Husky. Whenever we leave him alone, he destroys the house. Before we leave, we make sure he has plenty of exercise, toys, treat balls, everything we can do to keep him happy. We left him alone for 2 hours tonight and it took us 4 hours to clean up the mess he made. Please help

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like he may have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Question
Piper
Affen Tzu
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Piper
Affen Tzu
6 Years

My dog is 6 years old, and has just had a major change in environment (moved countries) 7 months ago. I cannot leave him alone or he will cry, bark, and scratch the door. My door is completely scratched up. I bought him a very nice dog bed, CBD, and a doggy separation anxiety vest for when I leave. What more should I do? What’s a good routine to develop (days to weeks?) how long does it take until he will be at a point where he’s okay to be alone?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, I would start by working on independence, structure in the new home and day, and desensitizing pup to your departure. To work on building his independence and his confidence by adding structure, work on things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets by telling him to do something like Sit before you feed, toss a toy, ect.. Get him working to stimulate him mentally and help him feel more secure in your leadership gently. Work on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open to help him build confidence with being alone. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and give him something to do during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on or an automatic treat dispensing device, like Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer - which certain models can be programmed to intermittently release a treat when it detects pup is being quiet ). Physical exercise can help with anxiety, but mental exercise, making and enforcing consistent rules - like not climbing into your lap uninvited, following through calmly when you give pup a command, and keeping your interactions with pup calm and confident are equally if not more important for anxiety. Teaching obedience that's a little challenging for pup and incorporating the obedience into your interactions with pup is a good way to stimulate mentally. How soon pup adjusts depends a lot on the individual dog and how you are training and interacting. Unfortunately there isn't a set amount of time, and some dogs don't even adjust unless you change the way you are interacting with them and train. After 7 months, I suspect additional training and adding structure needs to happen before behavior will change. Usually 6 months is enough time to adjust without additional changes. I would focus the most on commands like Place - working up to 1 hour staying, and distance down-stays, and making sure your interactions with pup are calm and confident - expecting pup to be able to obey commands and following through calmly with house rules, rather than pittying pup or being looser with expectations - your confidence, consistency, and calmness can help pup feel that way too. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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