Deb D’Andrea, Nederland. While many dogs experience separation anxiety, they also may experience acute boredom and the two can be confused by humans. To help determine what your dog is experiencing, set up a camera and record what happens when you leave. If your dog curls up and goes to sleep after you leave, waking later to wreak havoc across the household, that’s a sure sign they’re bored. If within the first 30 minutes after you leave they stress out, bark, whine and become destructive, that’s a sign they are experiencing separation anxiety.
These anxieties can be relieved through consistent, patient, positive training and by providing the mental stimulation and physical exercise they desire.
There are many things you can do to mix up their days and help reduce their boredom. Several years ago, “DogTV” was created, a TV channel just for dogs that runs shows all day long (https://www.dogtv.com/). I have had several clients who purchased this channel for their dog and found their dogs happily engaged in watching TV upon their return home.
There is also dog music, “Through a Dog’s Ear”, music specifically created that is ’psychoacoustically’ designed for your beloved dog. There is also “Through a Cat’s Ear” for the felines in your life. You can visit their website to read more on the fascinating research completed to create this specialized music: http://throughadogsear.com/music/
Taking your dog on different routes when going for walks helps to give them a more enriching experience, breaking the daily routine simply by walking around the neighborhood in alternating patterns. If they are left for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time, consider hiring a dog walker or bringing them to doggy daycare to help them not lose their crackers sitting in an empty, quiet house all day. This could be compared to solitary confinement. Even leaving a radio on classical music for the day is better than silence.
Providing a safe environment by restricting their opportunities to get into trouble in your absence is essential. For instance, placing the trash up on the counter or in a closet should prevent spreading trash around the house. There is much more to discuss on how to work with dogs that experience boredom or separation anxiety and few behavioral specialists in the area who can provide assistance. This is definitely not a one size fits all type of anxiety as what works with one dog may not work with another. Alternatively, having medications prescribed to remove an undesired behavior is questionable.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.