Separation Anxiety: How to Teach Your Dog to be Alone.
By guest author, Kika Dorsey, Animal Trainer.
All puppies experience some anxiety. Dogs are pack animals and feel most secure when in the company of members of their pack - their guardians or other dogs. Puppies need to learn how to be alone gradually, as their guardians leave them for increasing amounts of time. They learn that when left alone, nothing bad happens and their guardians return. They learn how to entertain themselves and thereby gain confidence. However, some dogs do not gain this confidence. They may have been left alone too long as puppies and were traumatized by it, or they were neglected or abused and are insecure. These dogs often wreak havoc on a house - chewing on doorways, destroying furniture, barking and scratching incessantly on the door. They end up in shelters. Well-meaning people adopt them, but still, they carry low self-esteem and exhibit their learned behavior of separation anxiety. The process of teaching dogs with separation anxiety to be alone requires a lot of time, patience, and positive reinforcement. To start, change your routine before you leave. Try to make it less drawn out. Put your keys in your purse ahead of time, for example, and have your shoes ready to put on at the door. Dogs know the routine of leaving, and if it's drawn out they become increasingly anxious.
The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian.