Don’t leave me this way ….
It’s been a lovely summer and now the children are heading back to school our pets, and especially our dogs, will start to feel a bit sad after all the attention and company they have become used to. Their adult owners are back to work and the routine of being left ‘home alone’ is the new reality.
Some dogs, especially in multiple households cope fairly well with being left for three or four hours but ‘only dogs’ can quickly become ‘lonely dogs’ which in turn can lead to something known as ‘separation anxiety’. This is why at VIPPIES our foster carers never leave their charges for more than a short while to do essential chores and errands.
Separation anxiety can lead to some challenging behaviour in the home such as excessive barking and howling which leads to irritated neighbours. Your dog may become destructive and start scratching the carpets and chewing the furniture, emptying the bins and even soiling in the house, which leads to irritated owners. But it is not the dog’s fault. They may be afraid – something could have scared them such as the postman knocking too loudly, or they may just be bored. High energy working breeds and ‘busy’ dogs such as terriers can be particularly prone to these issues. Poor socialisation as a puppy, lack of exercise, bereavement, changes in routine and some medical issues such as arthritis are all factors.
Outdoor runs and kennels are an option but security is an issue in these days of increased pet thefts and it doesn’t solve the barking. In fact being alone outside can make matters worse and certainly lead to very annoyed neighbours – you don’t want an ASBO slapped on your pup do you!
The PDSA have some great advice on what to do when you have to leave your dog. Creating good habits as part of their puppy training are important, short times away and building up gradually are at the core of this. Obviously for a rescue dog it will be more complicated and you may have to reconsider if they are the right dog for you if you cannot be at home for much of the day or night.
There are technological options such as dog cams so you can keep an eye on your pooch, they even allow you to have a chat – although pet behaviourists believe this option can make matters worse as your dog will think you are home when you are not. So, if you do need to be away a lot and haven’t got a neighbour you can absolutely rely on, then VIPPIES are the kind of team you might want on your side to pop in to play with your dog, give them a cuddle or take them for a walk. Doggy day-care is also a great service for those who work long hours as the client testimonies confirm.
It’s all about keeping our pets happy and healthy whether we are with them or not.