You might go ‘awwww’ when your dog starts whining the moment you leave their eyesight, but separation anxiety in dogs may cause a lot of issues especially in more serious cases. Here are some ways to help your dog cope with being alone when you are not around. That being said, every dog has a different personality and what may work for others may not work for you. You just have to experiment with different methods to see which is best suited for your pet and lifestyle.

1. Leave an old piece of shirt

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Separation anxiety might occur when your dog is overly attached. Leaving a piece of fabric/ old shirt that belongs to you provides a sense of familiarity and comfort for your dog as they can recognise the scent. This helps in calming them when they are being left alone.

2. Engage with stimulating toys

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Dogs may display anxiety or negative behaviors if they do not engage in sufficient exercise or stimulation. Provide your dog with fun treat puzzle toys such as Nina Ottosson or Dog’ SUDOKU® to train their brain and keep them occupied. If your dog is too anxious to play while being left alone, try letting them play before you leave the house to tire him/her out. You can get these toys from Woofliving and DDhouse.

3. Provide healthy dog chews

Providing dog chews or long-lasting treats is a good distraction for food-motivated dogs. However, ensure that you provide sufficient supervision if you are giving a new product to your dog. Some recommended dog chews which are natural and made with a single ingredient are Knineculture and Droolb.

4. Allow your dog to free roam

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Confining your dog to a small playpen may cause it to feel trapped and distressed. If the playpen doesn’t work, try providing it with a bigger play area such as a room free of dangerous items. If your playpen is the only option, train your dog to be comfortable with this ‘safe zone’ instead of using it as a punishment.

5. Bring your dog to daycare

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While dogs should be trained to be independent on their own, they should not be left alone for several hours on a regular basis. Consider bringing your dog to daycare hotels, which are also beneficial for their socialization and mental well-being. Alternatively, you may hand it to an experienced dog owner who is a trusted family member or friend.

6. Play calm music

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Play some classical music or relaxing music with nature sounds to calm your dog and relieve some separation anxiety. You can also switch on the television and play some dog-appropriate channels which can also be easily found on Youtube.

7. Let your dog whine it out

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This is tough love, but sometimes you just have to let your dog whine it out if the rest of the methods do not work well. It is important not to give in easily at the start otherwise your dog may have more problems adapting to being alone, and this could be a long-term issue for both of you. However, it is highly advisable to install a CCTV or dog camera to monitor his/her activity in case of any self-injury.

8. Behaviour training

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If you have exhausted all options and your dog is still facing serious separation anxiety issues, consider seeking professional help from dog training schools. There are also private trainings available if you are uncomfortable with group trainings.

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