Your dog loves you, and that’s great, but when you return home after a busy day at work, you walk into total chaos:
Is your dog being deliberately naughty while you’re away from home? Probably not! Your pal gets anxious and bored while you aren’t around. But some dogs make a terrible fuss when you leave home and then settle down. Why does that happen?
Scruffy breaks your heart every time you walk through the gate…
Then she chills out. You arrive home, and all’s well. Are you to blame for the ‘performance’? According to dog behaviour specialists, you may be making too much of a fuss about your departure.
When Scruffy begins to cry, you either scold her or make a fuss of her. Attention is attention in your dog’s eyes. Even a scolding shows that you care – it’s attention.
How can you tell the difference between real anxiety and a bid for attention?
It’s possible that you make too much of a big deal out of your comings and goings. Your dog gets the message and makes a big deal about it too. When you go out, acknowledge your dog, but don’t make a terrible fuss or get emotional. If your dog ‘acts up’, ignore it.
But whether the anxious behaviour is real or feigned, it’s an indication that your dog’s needs aren’t being met. What are these needs, and how can you meet them when you aren’t home?
The boredom factor
A lack of stimulation is a problem for a dog, especially if you don’t have other pets to keep it company. Dogs can’t switch on the TV, play a computer game or read a book, so they make their own entertainment!
Dustbin-emptying is a favourite sport and satisfies a dog’s instinct for foraging. Apart from the mess this results in, your dog can injure itself or eat something that could harm him. Couch shredding and furniture chewing are also possible forms of entertainment.
Barking at everything that moves also provides entertainment for the bored and lonely dog. They’ll even bark at things that the generally ignore!
What can you do?
You can’t possibly stay at home all the time or take your dog with you everywhere you go. But even if he or she isn’t actually anxious, there are obviously needs that aren’t being fulfilled. A combination that includes one or more of the following approaches could help:
Play and rewards
Play and rewards can provide your dog with lots of stimulation, and you don’t even have to be involved. Many people have found that interactive toys keep dogs happy while they’re out, so try the foobler as a cheerful diversion that keeps your pup out of mischief!
Thanks to the folks at foobler.com.au for this informative article.