1. You rile him up when you leave the house
The more you make a fuss about saying hello or goodbye to your pup, the more anxious he’ll become—and unfortunately, many of his most destructive symptoms will play out when you’re not home to calm him down. The best thing to do? ‘Take your keys, say bye, and leave,’ says Nicole Ellis, pet lifestyle expert at Rover.com.
‘The calmer you are leaving for the day, the calmer they’ll be.’
When you get home, continue to keep it simple. Take off your shoes, say hello, and wait a few minutes before launching into playtime. Encourage the kids to do the same as well.
2. A family member has left
Separation anxiety is real for kids and dogs alike. Your dog’s anxiety could be sparked by something as small as a family member being out of sight, or as monumental as a kid moving out of the house—and you could see it play out in a variety of ways. To fix it, you’ll want to make your dog as comfortable as possible while you’re out.
Go on extra-long walks (which will tire him out for when he’s home alone), leave a toy to entertain him while you’re gone, and consider a training class to build up his confidence.
3. You've moved houses
A new place can make anyone nervous. If your dog’s anxiety symptoms started after your move, consider that a likely trigger. Do whatever’s possible to make him feel at home in your new place. A great way to halt any destructive habit is to leave some entertainment for when you’re gone.
‘That could be anything from a frozen Kong toy with food inside to a snuffle mat where you hide his breakfast,’ says Ellis.
Building your dog’s confidence could also help.
‘Taking a scent class is a great way to build confidence—and a confident dog isn’t a nervous dog,’ says Ellis. Most training centres offer them, too.