Owning a dog is a responsibility. You need to take care of them as you do with every member of your family. Still, can Labrador Retrievers be left alone? There will come a time when your Labrador retriever should be left on their own.
Is this possible? Or will your dog suffer from separation anxiety? If it’s the latter, how do you fix this issue?
Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Separation anxiety happens to dogs who are overly-attached to their owners. They get stressed and anxious whenever left alone or when they can’t see their humans. It’s a serious condition as it can lead to destructive behavior.
There’s a possibility that your dog has separation anxiety when you go home to chaos.
Your shoes have chew marks and are probably destroyed. There are claw marks on the doors. Your pillows have been chewed open and there are more chew marks on tables and couches.
Dogs with separation anxiety will whine and howl excessively when they see you leave. They’d also be euphoric when they see you arrive. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been gone for days, hours or even minutes.
Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety
A dog with separation anxiety may showcase any or all of these symptoms:
- Excessive whining, barking, and/or howling
- Destructive behavior
- Indoor “accidents” even when they’re housebroken
- Salivating or panting more than normal
- Pacing in an obsessive pattern
- Trying to escape
Causes of Separation Anxiety
To understand this problem more, here are the reasons why dogs develop this problem:
- First time being left alone when they’re used to having people around
- Losing a family member
- New owner or family
- Relocation from shelter to a home
- A sudden change of family’s routine
Can Labrador Retrievers Be Left Alone?
Other dog breeds are more prone to separation anxiety than others. Could your Labrador retriever be one of them?
Labs love their families and get attached to them rather quickly. They’re friendly and sweet and will follow you around just to show you their love. But since they get attached too much, it can also be a recipe for separation anxiety.
Labs have a tendency to worry about their families. Once you’re out of their sight, they’d worry about you, too. This could lead them to feel anxious.
This could become worse when they’re left completely alone for a long period of time. They’d experience panic attacks. The only way they can cope is to chew on things.
Both young and adult Labs can feel this type of anxiety. Yet it’s more prevalent among young pups as being alone is new to them.
But while your Lab is susceptible to separation anxiety, don’t give up on them. You can fix this problem and help them be more independent. Training them and getting them used to being alone can help.
How To Fix Separation Anxiety
Before trying to fix the problem, ensure that it is indeed the reason behind the “accidents.” It’s possible that these could happen due to several health issues. Check with your vet to rule out any possible diseases.
If their anxiety is mild, these are things you can do:
- Give your dog a special treat when you’re leaving. This can be a type of food that hides a treat. For example, there’s a toy bone that you can fill with peanut butter. Only use and give them this toy when you leave. Take it away when you’re home.
- Be low-key. When you’re leaving, don’t act too much and kiss them goodbye. The same goes for when you come home. Wait a few minutes before you greet them.
- Leave clothes you’ve worn around. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. They’d feel like you’re with them when they small the clothes you wore.
If the problem is more severe, here’s how you can train them:
Labs with severe separation anxiety will start stressing over you picking up your keys. They will react to things you used to do when you’re leaving.
Start by doing the things you normally do when you leave that elicit such behavior. But don’t leave. Instead, watch the TV. They should ignore these things altogether so it will take a few repetitions.
Once they feel more comfortable with that, you can now start disappearing. Tell them to stay and leave the room. When you get back, give them a treat if they behaved well.
Do this a few more times and each time, increase the time you’re away.
Crate training can also help your dog feel safer when you’re not around. This shouldn’t be seen as a punishment. Instead, make their crate feel more comfortable filled with their toys.
You can also keep him confined to avoid destructive behavior.
Labrador retrievers are rather emotional and too devoted to their humans. It can be hard to go away even for a while when they get too attached to you. So, can Labrador Retrievers be left alone? That depends on how you train and care for them. Help your dog by training them as a young pup. It’s because you likely have to leave them alone for a while soon.