It is natural for your dog to miss you when you are gone, or to even howl with remorse whenever you leave the house. However, as with all conditions, there is a clear distinction between natural loneliness, and what may be full-blown dog depression or anxiety.
One important note to remember is that your dog will need plenty of patience and understanding at this stage, as there may be a number of causes for the separation anxiety. Whatever the case might be, it will take consistency and patience to help restore your pup, by building emotional stability and trust to solve the separation anxiety.
How to Remedy Separation Anxiety
Rid the nervous energy: Perhaps your dog isn’t anxious emotionally, but rather physically just needs a good work out. Before you leave for work, or for that evening date you’ve been planning, take your pup for a strenuous walk. He will be much more likely to content himself with a bone on the rug when you depart, if he has had a way to release some stress.
Provide him a comforting object. There is a reason that parents give fussy babies their “security blanket.” No one likes to be left alone, especially by the person who is the source of safety, food and happiness. Before you head out, leave your dog an article of clothing that you recently wore, so he can have an olfactory cue (like your scent) close by.
Calm him down. Cat owners typically use catnip to soothe stressed felines, and there are several over-the-counter products that do the same for dogs.
Treats: Many pet food stores sell soothing dog treats and chewable calming bites that will help settle the canine’s agitated nerves.
Collars: If the dog treats don’t make a difference, there are also dog collars which release gentle hormones to de-stress pooches. Shirts: These anti-anxiety clothes propose a solution by wearing a snug squeeze around a dog’s chest and back through a tight jacket. The intent behind the anxiety shirt is to create subtle pressure for uneasy pets that need a little extra support and physical contact when left alone.
Create a safe place: Before you leave, bring your dog to an area he associates as safe, fun and positive. This might be a room with a window to provide entertainment, and few hazards or potential trouble your dog can get into. It might also be a crate where you have played with the dog, or comforted him while he was resting. Wherever the space, make sure you leave plenty of toys, and other items he might need when left for long periods of time.
Downplay departures and arrivals. While it may be instinctive for some to hug, vociferously greet and pet their pup the second they open the front door, this may not be the best idea. The dog might then be encouraged to view your comings and goings in extremes, rather than just a normal part of the day. Don’t look at your dog, pet or talk to him for a few minutes before you leave and after your initial arrival. This will help communicate that being left alone is a routine, and nothing to be overly excited or concerned about. If leaving is difficult for you, then take a moment to pet and say goodbye to your dog several minutes before you actually leave, so that this will lessen the feeling of abandonment.