Dogs, much like their human counterparts, have strong emotional connections to their family. Dogs often feel scared or anxious when separated from their owners, even for just a short time. Soothing a lonely dog isn’t difficult and will distract the dog until his owner returns.
Ask the owner to exit quietly when dropping off the dog. Dogs are very sensitive and pick up on a number of voice and body cues, and the more fuss you make over the dog, the more likely she is to be upset.
Feed the dog a small amount of her regular dog food. Eating gives the dog a feeling of comfort and distracts her from missing her owner.
Take the dog for a long walk. Walking burns off excess energy, and allows the dog to sniff and explore unfamiliar territory. If it’s too cold to take the dog on a walk, a trip to the pet store is an excellent distraction.
Give the dog a new toy. Engage in a game of fetch or tug-of-war to keep the dog busy and prevent her from pacing and looking for her owner. Treat-filled toys are particularly helpful in distracting a lonely dog.
Present the dog with an article of clothing worn by her owner. Dogs have particularly powerful noses, and worn clothing carries her owner’s scent for a very long time. The dog will relax and be comforted by the familiar smell of her owner.
- Herbal calming supplements are useful for dogs with separation anxiety. Consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication to the dog.
- Never punish a dog for anxious behavior. She is upset and should not be punished for being afraid.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.