If your dog howls, whines, barks or is destructive when you leave him, he may be suffering from separation anxiety. Dog separation anxiety simply means the fear of being left alone. Your dog may be stressed and he will stay that way-every day-until you come home. He needs to learn that it is OK for you to go, that he will be safe and you will come home.
Separation anxiety in dogs has several causes, one being incorrect conditioning by owners, where puppies are over-indulged, and never given the chance to become accustomed to being left alone. Over-indulging a puppy also includes allowing it into the house the moment he or she cries to be let in or immediately after you arrive home.
The main reason for this behavior is a lack of calm, consistent leadership. Dogs will become very demanding if they feel that they don't have a strong leader.
To begin to alleviate separation anxiety:
Do not accede to demands by your dog such as whimpering, nudging for attention, dropping toys at your feet, scratching at the back door, or barking to be let in or out.
Do not lavish attention on your dog as soon as you arrive home. Completely ignore him until he is not demanding a greeting from you. Once you have settled in you can then call your dog to you for some affection.
Provide your dog with his own place of safety when he is apart from you. A small room, kennel (see: Crate Training), or other quiet place will help him feel secure. Make it more enjoyable with his favorite treats and toys.
Practice locking your dog away from you and out of sight in his safe place when you are home. It is important he feels relaxed in his safe place when you are home as well as when you are gone.
Separation anxiety is often an extreme behavior problem that requires professional help. Contact your local Bark Busters Dog Behavioral Therapist to discuss your particular situation.