“My dog suffers with separation anxiety. When I leave the house he urinates, even if he has recently been let out. I can’t even pop to the shop without coming home to the stench of urine.
“Even though I have been using bleach to clean the house it still smells and I’m reluctant to let people in my house.” Rachel Elliott
Separation anxiety can be very distressing for both owner and dog, writes Bromley-based animal behaviour expert Sophie Marriott of canine behaviour consultancy Endless Pawsibilities.
It is important that you do not give the dog any cues when you are leaving the house, like going out of sight to put your shoes on.
You may benefit from purchasing a product called Adaptil, it’s an appeasing pheromone designed to relax dogs. However your vet may recommend medical intervention.
It is important that you do ‘practice exits’. This will prevent the dog from anticipating you leaving, therefore reducing the anxiety and stress.
Consider leaving the radio on to help mask your comings and goings and to stop the sound of silence in the house.
Get into a routine of keeping your dog well exercised, as this will drain his energy, which may otherwise be used to destroy the house.
When you practice entering and exiting the house, you should do so calmly, not looking at the dog or creating a fuss.
And stop using bleach as a cleaner. The ammonia in it only encourages the dog to wee more.
I would advise seeking the assistance of a behaviourist on this issue.
We want to hear your dog-related questions or problems, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if Sophie can help.
For puppy training classes or if you would like to enquire about booking a private consultation with Sophie go to endlesspawsibilities.co.uk