Problem Behavior When Left Alone
It has become fashionable to attribute
all home-alone problems to separation anxiety. This is
simply a wrong assumption. Dogs who are destructive, bark
too much, escape ,
themselves in the house when they are lef t alone can
do so for a number of different reasons.
Many dogs are simply bored, meaning they aren’t
getting enough exercise, playtime, potty breaks, mental
stimulation or social contact to meet their needs. Others
have learned that misbehavior results in discipline when
their owners are home, but not only does nothing bad happen
in their absence, but foraging through trash is actually
fun and it’s much more convenient to urinate in the
dining room than to use the dog door to go outside!
If separation anxiety is the problem, your dog will be
virtually panicked about being left alone. She will show
her problem behavior on a regular basis, every time she’s
left, not just some of the time as bored dogs tend to do.
The third most common reason for home alone problems
is noise phobias . If your dog is afraid of thunder, fireworks,
construction sounds or other loud, startling noises, she
may react by trying to get away from the sounds, resulting
in destructive behavior or attempts to escape. She may
also howl or bark, or become so anxious she can’t
control her bladder or bowels
Be very, very cautious about crating your dog to manage
home alone problems. If the home alone problem is due to
separation anxiety, thunder phobia, or other fear related
problems, confining your dog will only increase his panic
and likely result in him hurting himself trying to get
out of the crate. If you are going to try this option you
MUST MUST acclimate your dog to the crate and to being
alone in it gradually. “Crate Training the Right
Way”, a DVD we authored for PETsMART and available
at your local PETsMART store tells you how.
PRODUCTS FROM HELPING FIDO THAT
WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND, PREVENT AND RESOLVE HOME ALONE
First, you need our CD “Managing
the Home Alone Dog".
This program explores a variety of causes and relevant
solutions to home alone problems.
To understand why “punishment” after the
fact won’t work and to learn the value of remote
punishment and providing opportunities for rewarding alternative
behaviors, we recommend our 4 CD set “How
Fido Learns Best”.
After you learn from the above program why remote punishers
are often best, try the SSSCat. Designed not only
for cats but small or easily frightened dogs, this is a
motion detector that emits a harmless spray and hissing
sound when triggered by movement. Great for counter surfers
and trash trowlers. Can also be used to discourage housesoiling
and urine marking.
If the home alone problem involves housesoiling, we authored
two DVDs for PETsMART on housetraining. Although not available
on our website, you’ll find them in your local PETsMART
store. Look for “Crate Training the Right Way” and “Housetraining:
A Plan for Success”. If you don’t find them
on display, ask a PETsMART trainer to help you locate them.
We have to be honest, avoid their Potty Training manual.
If your puppy is having problems staying home alone,
you need our “ Raising
a Behaviorally Healthy Puppy” book.
You may be quite surprised to discover your puppy just
isn’t ready for free run of the house yet will
home alone. The book also discusses crate training.
To provide your dog with wonderful, engaging toys to occupy
him rather than using your sofa as a chew toy or digging
holes to amuse himself, watch our video showing Tug
a Jugs and Bouncy
Bones in action. Our Fidos LOVE these
toys and we are sure yours will too. Great way to prevent
destructive chewing due to “boredom”.