Many people don’t realize that dogs can feel a wide range of emotion. Contrary to popular belief, destructive behaviors such as urinating indoors, chewing on furniture, and scratching at the door are not just activities of the animal brain—they are cries for help, most likely the manifestation of separation anxiety, fear, or plain old boredom.
The good news is that you can help your dog overcome loneliness and stop the destructive behavior while you are at work. Try these tips to give your dog the peace of mind that he or she needs.
Create a Safe Space for Your Dog
Dogs like to have their own space. They need a place where they can go if they get stressed out or just want to be left alone. You can use a crate if you’re crate training, or if your dog needs a bit more space, you can designate any part of your home as your dog’s safe space.
There are a few things that you might need to get your dog to use the space.
First, you’ll need something to keep your dog in the space if you want to restrict certain areas of your home. If you’re going the crate-training route, you’ll need to find a durable crate that fits your dog. Others use baby gates for a bit more of a relaxed feel.
Second, to help your dog feel comfortable, put any favorite toys or blankets in the area so that your dog can recognize from the scent that the space is his or hers.
Finally, if your dog has separation anxiety, leave some of your old clothing or shoes in the area. Your dog associates your smell with comfort, so doing this will give your dog reassurance that you aren’t leaving forever when you walk out the door.
Leave out Some Stimulating Toys
In addition to creating a comforting space for your dog, you can also help occupy their time. Much of the time, your dog’s destructive behavior can be tied to boredom. When this is the case, it can be an easy fix.
The first thing you have to do is find out which toys challenge your dog. You can’t just buy a toy, throw it into the safe space, and expect your dog to play with it all day. You have to engage your dog with the toy. Associate it with play time, and you are well on your way to a happy, independent dog.
You can also try using toys that reward your dog, such as puzzle toys that hold treats. Some of these take a little bit of training, so do a little research before you buy to find which product is right for you and your dog.
When it comes to stimulating your dog’s brain, you don’t have to rely solely on dog toys. Leaving the TV on during the day can help your dog feel less lonely (we all know how much dogs love being talked to). You can also create a music playlist to run quietly during the day. If you want something slightly more geared toward your dog, online videos of dogs and other animals can also serve to keep your pup entertained.
If you take nothing else away from this blog, remember this: dogs are pack animals. That means they need to interact with others. Not necessarily other dogs—humans do nicely, too!
In the event that you can’t make it home during the work day (some people like to eat lunch at home), you can give your dog something to look forward to each day by having a friend check up on them.
Don’t know anyone who can help?
That’s no problem! If you want to keep your dog stimulated and anxiety-free all day, you should consider signing up for doggy daycare. With services from Doggies Gone Wild, you can stop worrying about whether your dog is sad and get your work done. Not only will doggy loneliness no longer be a problem—you’ll come home to a content, well-exercised dog that’s ready for belly rubs and hanging out on the couch.
Want to learn more? Give us a call today!