Does your pet act like a perfect angel when you are home, only to tear around your home, destroy your favorite shoes and shred the couch cushions the minute you leave home? If so, then he may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Yes, just like children, pets can struggle with feelings of anxiety when they are separated from their pack leader, which is you. Symptoms may include having accidents, chewing on your belongings, destroying furniture or escaping confinement. Your dog may start pacing, whining or even licking you or himself when you start showing signs that you are leaving.
So, if your pet is having this trouble, what can you do? You have to leave from time to time, and you can’t have your pet destroying your home or belongings when you do.
First, make sure you understand the reason behind this behavior. Your pet is not trying to get back at you for leaving. Instead, they are worried that you may never come back, and are dealing with that stress the only way they know how. You can alleviate this by showing your pet that you will come back.
To start, desensitize him to the sight of you getting ready to leave. Pick up your keys and purse, but do not go anywhere. When he can handle this without panicking, then start leaving for short periods of time, multiple times per day. Vary the amount of time by a few minutes, but always come back within 10 to 15 minutes.Leave him a favorite toy or treat when you leave so he will associate your absence with something positive.
When you return, make a big deal out of your pet and spend some one-on-one time playing with him. Over time, this will help eliminate the problems of separation anxiety. Soon, you will be able to go to work without fear of losing your favorite pair of shoes while you are gone.