Indy is now twenty weeks old and he’s never been left all alone when they go out of the house.
It soon became clear though that this isn’t yet the real problem. Indy simply loves company and doesn’t want to be left out of any action there may be! It’s fear of missing out.
Wherever he is, at home or at the parent’s house where they have a dog, he doesn’t mind who he’s with so far as he’s part of the action.
He wants to go around the house with them.
In an effort to get Indy used to being separated from them, they now have a couple of gates. As soon as they go out of sight he barks and cries. He’s missing out. He wants to go with them.
The young lady in particular finds the stress of this overwhelming.
The two things, teaching him it’s okay to be left all alone for short periods of time and stopping him feeling he’s missing out, are totally separate.
Is missing out necessary?
I would go as far as to say that the more the ‘leave him out’ the more anxious he will get to be with them. The lady can’t even have a shower in the morning without distressing Indy.
I suggest she let’s him be there with her! Why not?
They only stop him following because they feel it’s the right thing to do, no because they actually want it.
The more they leave him out of the ‘action’, the more he will want to be with them. He will be anxious every time they leave the room.
I believe if he can follow when he wants he will become a lot more casual about it. It’s nature to want most what you can’t have!
One caveat – I would suggest they keep interaction with him to a minimum when he follows them so he learns that he’s not missing out on very much really!
Leaving him home alone
Going out and leaving him all alone is different. He will learn that with nobody home there is nothing to miss out on.
So we have chosen the best place to leave him. This is the place where he is happiest, in the living room on the sofa.
What else can they do to optimise the leaving environment? They can add a Pet Remedy plugin and later calming dog music which they will already have played at times when he’s happy and relaxed. This way the music is associated with calm and happy feelings.
They will make sure Indy feels safe with no letters likely to crash through the door by setting up an outside mailbox. They will desensitise him to the doorbell so that wouldn’t cause him alarm either.
A structured routine
They will work on a routine which involves going out of the room in the direction of the front door. Then out of the house. All the time he will know what is happening, there will be no creeping out on him.
Little by little, they will begin with walking towards the door and straight back again, adding a cue and dropping some food as they go.
Next they will shut the door briefly again giving their cue and dropping food before coming straight back in again – ignoring him at this stage. A visual cue that they aren’t at home will be the shut living room door so that he knows he’s not missing out on anything.
As the interval away increases they can leave Indy something to get his teeth into – a chew or stuffed Kong – and add the music.
Other cues will be added like changing shoes, coats, and picking up keys.
Return before he stresses
They have a camera so will always return before he becomes distressed in any way.
If they do a short session every day, bit by bit they will be able to leave him all alone for short lengths of time. Very likely, when he learns nobody is in the house therefore he’s not missing out on anything, he will be okay.
Meanwhile, when they are at home, Indy need not have any fear of missing out because whenever possible he can be be with them if he wants.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help