If your dog howls each time you leave your house, your neighbors are most likely not happy campers. Your pet companion misses you and probably suffers from separation anxiety. You might come home to find the furniture damaged and smelly, wet surprises on the floor, because separation anxiety often goes paired with destructive and inappropriate behavior. To avoid this, train your dog to be home alone. When done correctly, his anxiety level will reduce and you won't come home to find your house soiled and destroyed.
Tip #1 - Bring your dog to a veterinarian to have him examined and make sure it's not an injury or medical condition that's causing him to howl.
Tip #2 - Spend time with your pet companion before you leave the house -- take him outside and play and run with him. Be sure to give him a workout for at least 30 minutes every day. Exercise can help relax him and make him rest while you're away.
Tip #3 - Give your dog chew toys or a food-stuffed toy when you leave the house. If you're dog's separation anxiety is mild, he might show interest in the toys and start playing with them instead of howling. If your dog continues howling, his separation anxiety is more severe and this distraction method might not work.
Tip #4 - Put on your jacket, pick up your keys and instead of leaving the house, watch television or read a book if you pet companion whines and paces each time you prepare to leave the house. Consistently do this and, over time, your dog won't associate your preparatory actions with you leaving the house and he'll stay calm when you get ready to leave.
Tip #5 - Put on your jacket, pick up your keys and tell your dog to sit and stay on the outside of the bathroom door while you go into the bathroom and close the door behind you. Wait one to two seconds, open the door, greet your dog and wait for him to calm down. Repeat this exercise and gradually increase the time that you're behind the closed door. Do this exercise with the bedroom door, the back door and eventually the front door. When you close the door for a longer period of time, give your pet companion a food-stuffed toy to keep him occupied. Once your dog can be alone for 90 minutes, you can comfortably leave the house for up to eight hours.
By Kimberly Caines
About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.