Why Does My Dog Cry When I Go Out?
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The part of our day leaving your dog home alone is one of the most difficult of the day. The undeniable look of sadness in your dog’s eyes when you have to go to work can easily form a lump in your throat. Many animals then howl and cry in reaction. The howling from our animals can cause many problems, such as, irritating our neighbors. It can more importantly reveal the lack of loneliness management our pets obtain. This separation anxiety that they experience when we leave can also sometimes cause severe physical and mental issues in our animals, such as elevated stress and anxiety.
In this AnimalWised article we will discuss why your dog cries when you go out and give you tips to help them deal with your absence.
What does your dog feel when you leave home?
Do you wonder what your dog feels when you leave him alone at home? Dogs are very sociable animals that greatly enjoy the company of their relatives. Dogs naturally feel sadness when they perceive that their guardians are about to leave them alone. If you look closely, you will notice that your dog shows signs that they know you’re going to leave even before you have reached the door.
Thanks to its privileged intelligence and memory, your dog can remember your habits and associate them with your day to day routine . Therefore, in the morning, when you go to bathe or start dressing, your dog will already understand that you are preparing to leave. Dogs also understands very well that this means spending several hours without you. Therefore, it is natural for dogs to feel sad when their loved ones leave and happy when they return.
But that does not mean that all dogs cry or howl when their guardians leave. Many pets learn to manage their solitude and are trained to exercise and entertain themselves when they are alone. This is most commonly only provided that they have toys and accessories to enrich their environment and keep their bodies and minds well stimulated. When this does not happen, some pets can "entertain" and alleviate their boredom by causing mischief around the house.
On the other hand, some dogs also take advantage of being alone. They see this quiet environment as an opportunity to rest and sleep. Thus, they prepare to gleefully receive their owners with replenished energy.
Why do some dogs cry when they are alone?
Some dogs are so dependent on their guardians that, when left alone, they experience extensive sadness and insecurity about whether or not their guardians will return. These dogs will express these negative feelings and relieve accumulated tension through crying and howling.
In many cases, this reaction from dogs is related to over-protection provided by its tutors, which facilitates development of certain types of behavioral problems. For example, maybe when they dog has cried before the owner would react by not leaving. This means that when the owner does eventually leave, a dog will cry in assumption that the owner will hear the cry and return sooner.
It is important to note that dogs that show a history of neglect or physical and mental abuse can be very insecure and scared. These dogs need to recover their self-esteem and learn how to overcome their fears and manage their loneliness. In these cases it means there was a total lack of bond with their previous owners that caused this situation and, if not treated, may worsen.
In more serious cases, this animal can be suffering from separation related disorders. When left alone, they often carry out certain destructive behaviors at home to relieve stress, such as; scratching, biting, tearing furniture, clothing and shoes. In more serious cases, these dogs often obsessively perform repetitive movements (stereotypes), which can lead to self-mutilation.
It is important to understand that a healthy mentally and physically balanced dog should feel secure about their bond with their guardian. This security will allow the animal to manage their loneliness during periods of absence. While this animal will still experiences some sadness, it is able to positively channel its emotions and await the arrival of its owner. This dog will take this time as an opportunity to play, sleep or simply observe the movements of the street through a window or from the balcony.
How to prevent my dog from crying when I leave
Your dog must learn to manage its loneliness, this is not only to stop crying, but also to allow for a positive channel of emotions. You want your animal to feel more secure and develop a better self-esteem. Here are some tips to keep your dog from crying when he is alone at home:
- Enrich its environment: there is a lot of talk about environmental enrichment for cats, but dogs also need an environment that stimulates their body and mind. If you leave your home for many hours and your dog does not find a means to entertain itself, he will feel bored and may present symptoms of stress. In pet stores, you can find a wide variety of interactive toys, intelligence games, teethers, bones, and many other accessories made especially for dogs to exercise and work intelligence even when alone.
- The Kong: do not you know the Kong toy? It is a safe toy that has a hole designed to put sweets, dry feed or wet food inside. The "proposal" of the toy is to make the dog "discover" how to get the food from inside the Kong. But since he can not put all his mouth in the hole, he must use his tongue and his intelligence to reach the food. The ‘‘candy’’ is used as a form of positive reinforcement to recognize the dog’s achievement and stimulate their cognitive capacity. The Kong is very effective in preventing and treating separation anxiety. In addition, it can help to create better eating habits for your dog and to avoid gastrointestinal diseases.
- A positive environment: your dog needs to feel comfortable and safe in its environment to avoid feelings of fear or anxiety. If a animal is left in a high stress environment, they may feel insecure when their guardian is absent. This insecurity, as mentioned before, may present certain unwanted behaviors, such as crying, howling or destroying of household objects. For this reason, if you have just adopted a puppy or adult dog, it is important that it receives help adapting to its new home and feels secure.
- Exercise: if take your dog for a long walk or reserve a few minutes to play before leaving, your best friend will expel its energy and sleep while it is alone. In addition, the regular practice of physical activity will help your dog maintain a healthy weight and balanced behavior. A sedentary dog can easily develop symptoms of stress and boredom, in addition, it can become more prone to various diseases, such as obesity in dogs, canine diabetes and hypertension.
- Offer a "shelter" for your dog: dogs feel more secure when they can take refuge in a quiet place. There are some cave-shaped beds that provide a safe and warm environment for your pup. But you can also create a "shelter" using a cardboard box and placing a blanket and its favorite toys inside.
- Music: Silence can often generate the sensation of loneliness in animals. If you put some music on when you leave the dog will immediately feel somewhat accompanied.
- Think about adopting a "little brother / sister": adopting a new dog can be an excellent option in the quest to not leave your best friend alone when you have to leave. However, it is recommended to always consult a specialist because depending on the diagnosis, this could be counterproductive and increase the problem even more. You should also consider whether you have enough time and space to care for and bring affection another pet. And if you decide to adopt, do not forget to correctly present your dog to its new partner.
Is your dog very insecure or scared?
If you have adopted a very fearful, insecure or nervous dog, it is essential to pay attention to its routine to identify what may be causing these feelings. Consulting a veterinarian is essential as some pathologies may be altering this behavior. You can also advise a vet in terms of the dog’s age and vaccination or deworming schedules. These are all factors that could be directly influencing and causing this anxiety and stress.
If, on the other hand, their behavior is not due to a health problem, you should consider going to a canine trainer or educator to evaluate your case. It may be necessary to socialize and educate your dog so that it is able to learn to relate to others and its new environment.
In more complex cases it could be a good option to contact an expert in canine ethology (veterinarian specialized in ethology, animal behavior) to establish an appropriate treatment. This treatment will be based on specific guidelines that aim to teach your dog how to manage loneliness and channel their emotions positively.
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