DOGS NEED TO JUST BE.
Dogs these days just need to learn to chill out, be cool and relax. We see a lot of dogs that are so overstimulated that they don’t know how to just sit at home and take a nap. It is so important for dogs to know that it is OK to just be alone. Dogs aren’t meant to play seven days a week for eight hours a day. They get really overstimulated and that is when bad things happen, like fights and separation anxiety.
Start slow if your dog is one of those dogs that doesn’t know how to just be in the house without constant touches or acknowledgment. Put him in a room (or in his crate) away from you for five minutes or until he stops whining. When he is calm, let him out but don’t make a huge deal about it. Also, don’t give tons of attention when you are putting him in his alone place. That means don’t tell him “It’s OK, you’ll be alright.” Dogs develop precursors to behaviors just like us. If he hears “It’s OK” every time you leave, he may associate that “It’s OK” means that he will be alone and this can cue the anxiety. If he is having a hard time, use excersise to tire her out before you put her in her alone place. Often we condition crates and alone places to mean I am leaving you here, try putting the dog up while you work on e-mail in the room or hop in the shower. Mix up your routines.
All dogs look to who ever they spend the most time with as a role model. Consider your teenage years. Were your parents concerned with who you were hanging out with. If you are a calm, cool and collected role model your dog will resemble this. If your dog attends dog daycare all week, lives with another dog and goes to the dog park on weekends, do you think you have the most impact on his behavior? Wrong, your dog is more likely to behave the way he has been shown by his canine companions for the majority of the week.
If you have more than one dog in your home, your newest (or typically youngest dog) will look to the dog who has shown him the ropes rather than you. All creatures need alone time. If you have lost the bond and the right to call yourself your dogs best friend, do something about it. Spend some quality time with each dog individually. Walking your dog around the block or outside to pee does not count as a walk, that is a potty break. Plan a few hours this weekend and do whatever activity your dog loves the most (not a dog park) something that involves you and him enjoying each other, a game, a walk somewhere new and exciting. When is the last time you taught him something new or introduced him to a new sight, smell or taste. Many owners attend puppy class and that is all the pro-active training they will do for the life of their dog, how cruel. Find an accredited local trainer (preferably not a big box store) and enroll in another class. Spice up his life! If you can’t work your dog without a special collar or without food, your bond is not as solid as you think. Bribes and appeasement behavior is not the same as a willing happy companion. It is never too late to start again. Your dog will be so happy to be apart of your new level of enthusiasm for your relationship to get even stronger.