This issue is known as separation anxiety and there are ways to effectively cope with it and make it easier for your dog to deal with those times when you must be away.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
There are many signs of separation anxiety including: barking, chewing, defecating, digging, excessive salivating, scratching, and urinating. Chewing, digging, and scratching are signs of your dog trying to "escape." Barking, defecating, excessive salivating, and urinating are signs of anxiety and fear.
Causes of Separation Anxiety
Such causes of separation anxiety include genetics, lack of socialization, lack of training, lack of confidence, mistreatment by a previous owner, extensive confinement, and too much bonding with the owner. As you can see, most of these are the owner's responsibility.
Treatment of Separation Anxiety
There are things that you can do to prevent separation anxiety. When
you put your dog in his crate, don't have a long, emotional good-bye.
Simply, walk away. It is even a good idea to ignore your dog 5 minutes
before you leave. If you draw attention to your departure, your dog
will worry when the love and emotion is suddenly stopped.
Also try and teach your dog not to associate certain behaviors of yours with your leaving the house and being away for hours. Dogs, as we have learnt in Chapter 1 are good at associating certain actions with certain outcomes. You may have noticed for example that as dress for work, or pick up your car keys, your dogs begins to get anxious.
Try changing your dog's negative associations to your behaviors to positive ones.
For example, on a weekend, dress for work, pick up the car keys and go outside for a few minutes only, then come back inside and give your dog a treat. You dog will eventually begin to associate you getting ready for work as a positive association rather than a negative one.
Make sure you have plenty of treats and toys in your dog's crate to keep him entertained while you are away. If your dog always knows that he'll have treats when you leave, it won't be as traumatic for him.
Before you leave, turn on a radio or television so your dog has some noise. A talk station is more effective than music, because the sound of human voices could comfort him. You could even tape your own voice.
When you return home, don't give your dog any emotion or attention when you let him out of his crate. This will reinforce that being outside of the crate is better than being inside the crate. Let him outside to eliminate immediately.
In extreme causes a calmative type medication may be prescribed for you dog by your Vet.
Separation anxiety is something that should improve over time. However, if it does not, or if your dog shows signs of extreme aggression when he is let out, seek a professional trainer and/or see you Vet for further assistance.
When you pay close attention to your dog's behavior, you are better able to identify his bad behaviors and correct them through training exercises. Your dog wants your attention and love, so when use this to your advantage when you are training. Keep in mind that good quality dog training resources can help with this issue.
Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios. Click here for more dog training help and advice.