This is a fact that you might have responsibilities in life like studies or job due to which you can not stay home for the whole day and accompany your German Shepherd. Now you might be worried if your German Shepherd can be left alone? If yes, then for how long it can stay alone?
An adult GSD can be left alone for 4 to 6 hours a day but a puppy must not be left alone for more than 2-hours because it is so weak and dependent and can not do most of the things on its own. A German Shepherd is a highly social animal that loves to be accompanied by the owner or fellow pet animals.
It develops the habit of care and affection for the owners very easily and gets so much associated and attached with the owner that it becomes difficult for the owner to leave a German Shepherd alone at home. This leaving behind alone can be a dangerous experience and most of the time it ends up with a destructive reaction of the GSD.
This behavior of a German Shepherd is commonly known as “separation anxiety.”
What is Separation Anxiety?
German Shepherds are highly social, loving, and loving dogs and they love to spend time and play with the owners. The separation from the owners makes them sad and the absence of the owner for a long time can result in odd and destructive reactions like barking, digging, and chewing things.
If you leave your German Shepherd for a long time, it makes your dog aggressive, stressed, and makes the dog feel anxious.
If your German Shepherd is going through separation anxiety, you need to deal with it at an young age otherwise it will become very difficult for you to step out of your house every time.
Anxiety & Separation Symptoms in GSD
Separation anxiety is the most common problem in German Shepherds as they are the most loving & caring dogs.
Some certain actions or behaviors points out that the German Shepherd is going through anxiety of separation.
When German Shepherds are left alone for a long time, they feel anxiety and get frustrated. This frustration and anxiety are shown by destructing and chewing different items at home.
Howling & Barking
German Shepherds usually do not bark and howl without a reason. But out of frustration and anxiety, they start barking and howling for no reason at all. In separation anxiety, they bark from anger when the owner is leaving home or in your absence.
Another symptom of separation anxiety is escaping. When German Shepherds go through separation anxiety, it starts looking for ways to escape (fence) from the house.
Some German Shepherds brings the frustration out and anxiety in the form of digging. This not a usual behavior of a GSD therefore it gets prominent.
Urinating & Defecating
A German Shepherd is a sharp dog and it never disobeys its owner and never gets involved in the acts for it has not been trained. If your German Shepherd starts urinating or defecating in odd places like inside the home or on the floor, it is a very strong signal that your German Shepherd is under stress and anxiety.
Dealing with Separation Anxiety
There can be many reasons for separation-anxiety in GS but the most common reason is leaving it alone.
There are a few ways to deal with your dog and make it stay calm when you are not around.
Start with shorter absences
When you plan to deal with the separation anxiety and train your dog for your absence, start with shorter absences. In the beginning, leave the house for 30 minutes and return. You can start increasing the time of absence in a couple of days.
It will make your German Shepherd less anxious when you leave because for it you will return soon.
Leaving a used cloth
The most convenient method is to put a recently worn cloth behind when you leave home. Your German Shepherd will catch your scent from that cloth and it will think that you are present in the house. This will save it from feeling left alone.
Give a treat while leaving
Whenever you are about to leave the home, give a treat to your dog. This will keep your dog engaged with the treat and it will not feel left alone. This will let the dog associate your leaving with getting a treat.
Distract your dog
Start thinking of activities that can keep your German Shepherd so engaged that it does not feel your absence. Let your dog play with the toys, watch television, and watch out from the window. This will keep your dog busy and it will not feel lonely.
Crate or Cage training
Crate or cage training from an early stage can be very helpful in dealing with separation
anxiety. The dogs that are used to living in a dog house with toys feel comfortable in their private place and do not show signs of separation anxiety when the owner leaves.
The German Shepherds need to play or just sit beside a person. It can be anyone in the home. Just like a baby sitter, you can hire a dog sitter when you leave the German Shepherd alone at home. This dog care-taker will play, feed, tap, and take your dog for a walk.
Doggy Care Center
If you cannot trust to hire a dog sitter, you can try doggy care. Just make sure that the doggy care that you choose can take good care of your dog and make it feel good and relaxed.
Walking the Dog
Make a routine of taking your GS out on a walk before you are going to leave the dog alone. It will make your dog feel tired and on returning from a walk, it will prefer to take a nap rather than becoming anxious about you leaving it alone.
Make your exit normal
Keep your exit as normal as you can. Do not carry car keys or office bag in hand while leaving. Your sharp dog will understand instantly that you are leaving. Do not tap your dog, give goodbye hugs, or make eye contact before leaving. Just leave the home as you leave it normally for a few moments.
When this will become a routine, your dog will get normal with your departure and will get engaged with its toys or some other activity.
Do not make arrival so exciting
Whenever you return home, make your arrival a normal event. Do not greet your dog at the door. Make your dog feel that there is nothing special in returning home. This will help your dog not getting over-excited on your arrival and will also make it used to of your departure.
If nothing works, then you need to consult a vet and start giving some medication and drugs to keep your German Shepherd calm and less aggressive.
Having a German Shepherd as a pet at home all the time is quite exciting, both for the dog and the owner. But there comes a time when you have to leave home for work and if your dog is not habitual of it, it will suffer through separation anxiety. If you want to save your dog from separation anxiety, start training your dog for it right from the beginning.
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