Some dogs will nervously pace, whine, bark, toilet or destroy the home when left alone. They’ll exhibit these behaviours because they can become stressed not knowing where their guardian has gone or if they’ll ever return. In their minds, the guardian leaving means they have potentially lost their companion, food source and security, which in turn reduces their chance of survival.
The key to addressing this issue is to facilitate many lessons where the guardian leaves the home and returns before the dog has a chance to panic. To do this lessons should start off for the briefest of moments by walking out and then coming straight back in. Each experience will build the dogs confidence in the guardian returning when they walk out the door. This should be repeated many times to normalise the process whilst slowly building up the time being outside before coming back in. It is vital when leaving and returning you do not look or speak to the dog otherwise you will be in communication with them. Looking and speaking can be misinterpreted as you need them. Whereas not looking or speaking is clear communication to say they are not needed.
Whilst instigating many lessons walking in and out and (not speaking or looking at your dog) there may be times your dogs state heightens and they panic. If this is the case it is a sign to say you were out too long so reduce the time to a situation they were comfortable with and build it back up again.
Each time I come home from being out I say hello to my girlfriend and baby first and I do not speak to my dog Rex until he leaves me alone. This is a clear sign to say as leader I make the decisions when to interact and he need not worry about what I am doing as I will keep the pack safe. As a result he is both comfortable when I leave and well-mannered when I enter the home.
Here is a video demonstrating the method in action with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Roxy
For more info or to get Nigel’s book, go to www.thedogguardian.com