Anxiety in Dogs

Published: 17th April 2012
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Anxiety in Dogs: Frustration and boredom, especially among puppies left at home all day, on their own, is becoming more commonplace and can cause your dog to literally chew everything it can get hold of. To prevent a dog from chewing, and in order to alleviate its boredom, is very difficult and needs a lot of thought. To stop this kind of behavior you have to channel the dogs thoughts, actions and mind in a different direction. But what kind of direction and how?

You cannot expect the puppy to sit all day, either in a cage or house and not become bored when left alone. Much of the time you should be spending with your puppy is about socialization, house training and obedience training. So what is the answer? If you have a high-spirited, high-energy puppy it will need some kind of release for both its mental and physical activities. If your new puppy is naturally quiet and happy to just accept things as they are, it is less likely to develop problems linked with frustration and boredom.

In order to prevent boredom and frustration in all puppies you have to become and think as a puppy. Let us look at this from a totally different direction and not only from the point of view of the puppy, but yours. If, instead of your puppy, you were to spend all day in a cage, how would you behave? You would get bored and possibly suffer from some mild form of cabin fever.

So let us get down to the dogs eye level. You will be amazed at how different it is down there. Look around you, what do you see? Ah good! Something to chew, but is it the right thing to chew? I am a dog, I do not know the difference, I chew everything, I am not particular. Okay you have got the idea, so where do you begin?

Your first day back at work after getting your new puppy, you are leaving him in the dog cage you bought for him, you left a bowl of water and what else? Is there anything in there that will encourage your dog to tear to pieces, like cardboard, paper, wood, thin plastic, old slippers etc.

One major stumbling block to boredom is the length of time you are leaving your puppy alone 1 hour 2 hours 3 hours, how long? It is never a good idea to leave your puppy with just a bowl of water and somewhere to sleep. Again ask yourself how you would feel if you were left alone for 2,3,4,5 hours or even more.

The dog is a pack animal and in the wild it is used to having the members of the pack around. It is unnatural to leave them alone for long periods at such a tender age. You are his pack leader and he or she is going to miss you. Pack leaders do not leave the rest of the pack on their own unless they are out hunting. You may have to learn to compromise with the amount of time your intended leaving your puppy alone. Try getting someone else to visit your pup during the time you are away.

If you are leaving your puppy alone for long periods please get someone to attend to his needs. Whether it is let out for toilet training, exercise or just a change of scenery this is an important part of its socialization process.

Think like a dog, and give your puppy something to eat before you leave him. A dog tends to sleep more when he or she has a full stomach. Get him used to playing with toys that require plenty of investigation to achieve a goal whether it be food or a tip-bit. Make sure the chew toys your puppy is playing with are robust enough to stand his constant chewing and will not come to pieces while you are away.

Chewing is a natural habit to a dog and you have to use ways of maximizing this trait to its fullest advantage. Instead of your puppy attacking the carpet, curtains or even shoes, use chew toys to give him an alternative way to vent his preference for chewing. Many puppies will simply chew because they are teething. Try a chew toy from the freezer, it may help to ease the irritating teething pain.

It all comes down to you in the end. Leaving any puppy of grown dog alone for long periods is a recipe for disaster. Dogs are social animals and need plenty of socialization (getting out and about) to make them a balanced individual, leaving them alone for long periods of time is not the way to do it. Like we humans Dogs can suffer from anxiety and stress and it can start at the puppy stage.


Ian Nicholson lives in the UK and has kept and bred dogs over a period of fifty years and is passionate about their welfare. Visit him at his website Choose Best Dog Breed and learn more about mans best friend and you are invited to claim your free e-book "7 Proven Steps to Better Older Dog Health" helping to keep your dog healthier longer.

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