A bored dog can wreak havoc in your home when left alone and, worse still, could be a sign that your pooch isn’t coping by himself and could be experiencing separation anxiety. Animal shelters take in more than 5.5 million dogs each year, according to a study from the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Adopting a dog from a rescue shelter is a generous and caring thing to do and, understandably, many dogs have been through some difficult times, so when home alone, boredom and stress can set in. Therefore, it’s essential to stimulate your dog to prevent full blown separation anxiety kicking in.
Signs of boredom and separation anxiety
A bored dog is likely to destroy its surroundings and anything within it. You may come home to find your slippers ripped to shreds, a chunk out of your kitchen cupboards and the stuffing from your pillows scattered across the room. Additionally, a dog with separation anxiety may urinate or defecate in the home when alone, escape from confinement and risk getting lost and bark, howl or cry when you leave.
It’s inevitable that you’ll have to leave your former shelter dog home alone at times so that you can go to work, do the weekly grocery shop or hit the gym. Therefore, it’s vital you prepare your pet for your departure and provide him with stimulation to prevent boredom. Simple yet effective things you can do include leaving toys packed full of your canine’s favorite food to encourage him to work to get it out over the course of the day and leaving chew toys out for your dog to gnaw on to pass the time.
Long walks are an easy way of stimulating your dog, while, tiring him out at the same time. Thus, you should ensure you introduce a daily walk into their routine which will encourage your pooch to rest up when back in the comfort of the home. If you don’t have time to walk your pet each day or feel that an additional walk would be of benefit, look into hiring a professional dog walker or enlist friends, family or neighbors to help out.
Audio and visual stimulation
A dog with separation anxiety will likely respond well to background noise left on in the home. Research has shown that music can soothe a stressed dog and, in particular, classical music can be of great benefit. Other options to consider are leaving the television or radio on during your absent to occupy your canine, or, playing an audiobook to create a peaceful and relaxing environment.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a sad thing to witness, especially in dogs who have come from shelters. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for owners to alleviate their pet’s boredom, stress and anxiety when leaving them home alone.