Your Pug is a loving, affectionate little dog and you are probably the center of his world. So it is not surprising if he is a little put out when you leave the house without him. But there is a difference between this normal disappointment and a dog who truly can't cope with your absence.
True separation anxiety is not as common as many people think. What passes for separation anxiety is, in many cases, boredom. Your dog does not want to be left alone because it is boring and he misses you, but he probably is not experiencing real separation anxiety when you leave him. Learn the difference between boredom and true separation anxiety.
Signs of real separation anxiety would be that your dog can not stand to let you out of his sight even when you are home. He follows you from room to room. He chews on things that smell like you when you're gone. Your dog uses the bathroom in the house out of stress. Your dog whines, whimpers and barks every time you leave him alone, even for less than 30 minutes. He does these things every single time you leave him alone. In short, your dog has a genuine psychological problem.
That does not describe most dogs who whine and bark when their owner leaves. For most dogs, they simply do not want to be left alone, but they can learn to get over it and get their attention on something more fun until you come back.
There are things you can do to help your Pug become accustomed to spending time without you.
- Keep things low-key when you come and go.
- Don't make a fuss saying hello or goodbye.
- Stay upbeat. No tears or hugs.
Other things you can do to minimize your Pug's anxiety about your leaving include practicing your leaving routine frequently, even when you're not leaving. Pick up your keys, your purse, etc., so your dog gets used to it. Go outside, start your car, come back in the house. Let your dog know that it is no big deal when you do these things. Practice some short absences, coming back in just a few minutes. Increase the time you spend away as your dog gets more comfortable.
Remember to increase your dog's mental stimulation by making sure he has toys to play with and things to chew on. These things give him something more productive to think about and tire him out so he is not worrying about what you are doing.
Consider confining your Pug to one safe area or room of the house. Leave a radio or article of your clothing for him.
If you have a dog who has true separation anxiety, you may need to consult a certified animal behavior consultant to help him. As a temporary measure, consider doggy daycare or letting your dog stay at a friend's house when you have to be out while you are helping him to deal with his separation anxiety.
Whether your Pug is experiencing boredom or real separation anxiety, do not try to rush the process of helping him through it. It takes time.
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