Howling, whining, barking, spoiled furniture and small household items - this is how the dog reacts to loneliness. Leaving the dog in the apartment, the owner expects with fear - what will meet him upon his return? Such a reaction is not pampering, but the natural reaction of the animal to stress. To punish him is only to aggravate the problems. How to teach a dog to stay at home alone?
Before taking any steps, you should make sure that barking in an empty apartment is not caused by real factors. Even the most well-bred dog will bark if he hears a noise near the door. So she implements security instincts. In response, the neighbors begin to knock on the wall, which even more “turns on” the pet. As a result, complaints about barking and howling, which was caused by natural causes.
The reaction to loneliness in canine "teens" is natural. They reach maximum activity in 7-8 months. If the dog is not brought up and not given the opportunity to “let off” steam, then chewed shoes, torn sofa cushions and magazines are a normal reaction to a lack of attention and care.
With such naughty people it is necessary to walk in the morning, to give them the opportunity to actively move - to play, communicate, run, explore. Then a minimum of developing toys and intensive walking will make it possible to leave the baby for 3-4 hours without prejudice to his psyche and mastery.
Natural factors are easier to correct and, with a minimum of effort, the owner receives a well-bred and mentally balanced pet that can safely remain alone. But there is a real danger that zoopsychologists warn about.
If an animal, contrary to all methods of upbringing, active walks and training, continues to spoil things of one of the family members, then one should be wary - perhaps the pet has mental problems or a conflict with someone in the family.
In some dog breeds, the fear of loneliness is difficult to correct. They are bred in order to constantly be in contact with the owner. The fear of loneliness is genetically determined and can cause a neurosis of loneliness. Such a dog and in adulthood "naughty", causing defeat and making noise. But in some individuals, neurosis is manifested by apathy, loss of mobility, and depression. Until the development of organic lesions.
Fear of loneliness can be caused in dogs:
- attention deficit;
- stressing factors (shot, explosion of firecrackers, peals of thunder, suddenly triggered car siren);
- change of residence or owner;
- the appearance in the house of a new object of attention (baby or other pet);
- violence of previous owners;
- obsessive states.
In such cases, in addition to patience, education, increased attention, drug therapy may be required. Dogs are given sedatives, and in the case of mental disorders, they provide medical care and resort to professional behavior correction.
Signs of a "neurosis of loneliness"
The fear of being alone in an empty apartment is “recorded” in the genes of pets and is a legacy from wild ancestors. Puppies left in the hole for a long time can die from starvation or attack by a predator. Constant contact with the leader of the pack or parent is necessary for the socialization of the animal, the acquisition of necessary skills, the formation of behavioral characteristics.
Fear of losing a protector and guardian causes a puppy:
- voice reaction - howling, barking;
- behavioral deviations - rout in the apartment, damage to things;
- increase in body temperature;
- upset stool - diarrhea;
- shortness of breath (the puppy often breathes with his tongue sticking out);
- sweating paw pads;
- physical and psychological exhaustion - after the arrival of the owner, the dog sleeps for a long time.
Only after the causes of fear of loneliness have been identified, can we start raising a dog.
Manipulators and leaders
Dogs very well feel the emotional state of the owner and from childhood learn to manipulate it. It is difficult to remain indifferent if the baby cuddles at his feet, whines and howls, if the owner approaches the exit from the apartment. A natural reaction is stroking, squeezing, trying to appease a treat. Doggie quickly realizes that the owner is weak and repeats the encore number.
Another form of inappropriate behavior alone is the fear of losing control. Most often, dogs with a strong character and a desire for leadership behave this way. They need to constantly be in contact with households in order to control them. Such a dog immediately calms down, should he go out or chat with other dogs. He also loses interest, it is worth the owner to enter the apartment. They have no symptoms of loneliness neurosis. Such psychotypes need a solid and consistent upbringing.
How to train a dog to loneliness
Correction of behavior can take a lot of time and require a change in the behavior of not only the pet, but also its owner. In order to develop a calm attitude of the dog towards parting, it is recommended to adhere to the following rules:
- You can’t say goodbye to the dog for a long time before leaving, and when you return, vigorously hug and “kiss”. You should try to accustom yourself and the pet to calmly react to parting.
- Make it clear to the animal that the owner will definitely return. You can gather for 1-2 weeks, as usual (get dressed, ring the keys), go out the door, and come back in a few minutes. So the dog will understand that no one is going to leave him, and the owner will definitely return.
- Develop a neutral reaction to stimuli. The dog develops a reflex that the owner leaves him after putting on outer clothing, shoes, key rings ... It’s worth trying 1-2 weeks to dress, take keys with you, but don’t go anywhere. Gradually, the dog will develop a calm reaction to stimuli.
- Create a pet safe shelter. The dog will feel calmer in the "mink" with his favorite toys, which will not only occupy the teeth, but also provide food to the mind. A dog house or a cozy basket with a mattress will create the illusion of protection.
Norwegian dog handler Thurid Rugos advises training a dog using reconciliation signals. In the book “Dialogue with Dogs: Signals of Reconciliation” there is an exercise that will take not so much time, but will give the expected result.
Video on how to wean a dog howl and bark when she stays home alone
The education of the correct attitude to loneliness should begin gradually. Each time, getting up from the chair, you need to extend your hand towards the dog, turning your palm down, and after a while to sit down. Gradually, the dog will understand that the gesture means "calmly, I return to the place."
After a while, the signal repeats when the owner leaves the room and enters it. The time of absence is gradually increasing. The third stage is the exit from the apartment. Gesture - we go out and in a couple of seconds we go in. We increase the time. So the dog gets used to it, that the gesture speaks about the imminent return - there is nothing to worry about.
Trying to get another dog so that they are not so bored together waiting for the owner, as a rule, is doomed to failure. Not the fact that they get along or will not be jealous of each other. Two ill-mannered dogs will create twice as many problems. Therefore, the only way out is to try to properly raise a pet or not to have a very active, emotional breed like setter, hounds, spaniels.