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Home / Nutrition Advice / Behavioural Advice / Training & Behavioural Advice / Rehoming Dogs & Cats


Dog Rehoming - Leaving Your Dog at Home Alone


Sadly, the most common of all behavioural issues among rehomed dogs are separation problems. These tend to be caused by the dog becoming distressed or anxious when left alone or separated from his owners - and are characterised by howling, barking, chewing, destruction and indoor toileting. In extreme cases, dogs have also been known to harm themselves - either through their attempts to escape to find their owners or through chewing at themselves as a way of finding relief - a little like humans who bite their fingernails.


Why rehomed dogs seem particularly prone to separation problems is still to be discovered, but the chances are that such dogs over-bond to their new owners very rapidly and then simply cannot do without them - even for short periods.


Overall,separation problemsrespond well to behavioural therapy, but - even better - they can be easily prevented by new owners who are aware of their dog's needs. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your dog does not become a victim of loving you too much!


Do not allow over-bonding

It may flattering that your new dog has bonded so quickly to you and wants to follow you all round the house, but the long-term effects could be damaging. If your dog is behaving like a shadow and won't even allow you to visit the bathroom without tagging along, you need to cool off your relationship a little and make sure that you don't give him constant attention and contact. Practise being apart from your dog when you are actually in the house by using a baby gate to create a physical barrier between you. This will help your dog build confidence in coping by himself.


Share loyalties

Encourage your dog to enjoy being with all family members from the outset. Make sure that everyone feeds, grooms, walks and plays with your dog so that he shares loyalties with everyone - not just a single favourite!


Practise separations from the start

Many people take time off work to settle a new dog into the household, and while this allows you lots of time to get to know each other, it can create a shock for your dog when you then return to work. Leave the house for short periods right from the outset when you get your new dog - so that he simply accepts it as part of your routine.


Keep him comfortable and happy while you are gone

Dogs always settle better in their owner's absence if they are tired! Make sure you give your dog adequate exercise and a chance to go to the toilet before you leave him in a safe area, and give him a comfy bed to rest in while you are gone. Leave some interesting toys for him to play with if he is active - interactive chew toys are usually favourites and help to pass the time.


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