The following information is from my book,
"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and
Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.
All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.
Here are some topics that are covered:
1. Separation Anxiety
3. Your dog's problem seems occur when left alone
4. Finding your dog his/her own space
5. Training your dog to use a crate
6. Making the area "dog-proof" and safe
Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog
Does your dog have separation anxiety issues?
Separation anxiety occurs when an animal is left alone, and the dog experiences anxiety and panic from the isolation. Many training techniques are available to help you help your dog deal with separation anxiety. There are also a number of different types of toys that can be used to help reduce separation anxiety in dogs.
Self mutilation is an extremely serious problem that, in many cases, requires the attention of an animal behaviorist. Dogs that self mutilate chew on themselves instead of an object or lick themselves until they develop bleeding or weeping sores. Self mutilation occurs in response to many different stressors. Your dog may have developed a sore or hot spot, started to clean it by licking it and then was not able to stop if the behavior becomes obsessive. Some dogs chew on their paws if they have allergies or sometimes out of boredom. Some dogs also self mutilate as part of separation anxiety. Once your dog develops the habit of chewing on themselves it can develop into an obsessive habit, which can be difficult to stop.
Your dog’s problem seems to occur when left alone.
Here are some basic steps to follow to begin to acclimate your dog to feeling secure when you leave.
2. If you don’t need a crate, is there a room where the dog feels most comfortable like a bedroom, kitchen, hallway or bathroom?
4. Your dog’s anxiety may stem from a lack of having their own private space. I would recommend using this “private space” as part of the area where the dog is left when you are not at home. For example, if the dog’s safe place is in your bedroom or another bedroom, you have the ability to secure the room with a door or baby gate, and the ability to dog-proof the room, I would use this spot in the place to leave your dog when you are away
3. Another helpful suggestion to ease your dog’s tension about being left alone would be to leave the TV or radio on with calming music, which could simulate your presence and comfort your dog. I have also heard of people recording a tape of the sounds when they are home, and playing this tape on a continuous loop player. This also can help to drown out outside noise from the street, which can cause your dog to bark or feel frustrated and reactive to all the new sounds.
5. This area would need to be able to be “dog-proofed” easily and on a regular basis. Dog proofing would include removing all access to garbage cans, food, laundry, loose plastic bags, drapery or blind cords and the ability to open and close dresser drawers. I have heard of stories of dogs swallowing whole socks they pulled from the drawers.
6. It would be best if this room could be made to be dark, like closing any blinds or drapes, but still be able to have the ability to open and close windows for fresh air, without allowing the dog access to jump out. Also, if the windows could be high enough so the dog cannot see out, this would prevent him from being able to see traffic outside and barking.
7. I would recommend that this area be as small as possible to offer the dog a sense of comfort and security. Many times if a dog has a larger area to wander around in, they tend to find more situations to get into trouble.
8. I would choose a spot that can be used consistently every time you are away. This would help to create a routine and habit of being successful for the dog. It would also help when you are in a hurry to leave. You need to always be sure that the room is dog-proof without having to take the chance some food wrapper is left under the bed or on a piece of furniture, and the dog finds it later.