Weimaraners are known for having separation anxiety. Because of their intelligence, they're often treated as members of the family. In fact, Weimaraners think their owners are part of their pack and they need to be protected. When you're away, they are fearful that you won't be OK on your own.
Separation anxiety is the most common reason pets are abandoned or given to shelters. Pets who suffer from separation anxiety tend to destroy furniture or other household items, urinate or defecate on the floor, howl for hours straight or attempt to escape. Although you may be upset when you come home and find a pillow in shreds, your dog didn't do it to spite you. He does these things as a nervous and fearful reaction to you being away.
Make sure your Weimaraner isn't tearing up your house due to poor training or curiosity before you start to treat him for separation anxiety. If he gets extremely nervous when you prepare to leave the house, or if he bounces off the walls when you get home, it's very likely he's destroying things due to separation anxiety. If you notice he's digging through the trash or only chewing on fragrant items like shoes or other leather items, he is probably acting out of boredom and curiosity. A constant barking while you're gone is also a nearly definite sign of separation anxiety, while barks at people walking by or loud noises are known as alarm barking, which is not due to anxiety.
Nearly every case of separation anxiety in Weimaraners is treatable over time, but it takes some effort on your part. Work with your pup daily on his anxiety. Start by leaving the house for a few minutes, then leave for 10 minutes and so on until your pet is comfortable with you leaving for long amounts of time. Be sure to exercise your pet before you leave as well. This leaves him in a more relaxed state, and may even allow him to sleep for some of the time you're gone. Always leave him with one of his favorite treats or toys, so he associates you leaving with something he loves.
What Not to Do
Always remember that your Weimaraner is struggling with extreme anxiety while you're away, and he doesn't want to make you mad. Punishing your pet for something he does while you're away will only make him more nervous for you to leave every time. Also, never point to the objects that you want your dog to stay away from. For instance, if he usually chews the couch when you're gone, don't point at the couch before you leave. This only confuses him and when he gets anxious, he may think you meant for him to pay special attention to that couch instead of leave it alone.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.