Boredom & Separation Anxiety in labrador puppies
Two are better than one!
Two are better than one... and this is not a sales pitch! Dogs are pack animals. Many people ask us about leaving their dog alone for a working day. If you are really concerned about leaving your dog home alone, then why not consider a second one? We love all our dogs and particularly seeing them play together. Is your dog driving the neighbours crazy with its barking while you are at work? Your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety. Is your dog incessantly digging holes in the backyard? Your dog is bored. A second dog will answer this problem, and two dogs are certainly not twice the work.
Responsibilities as an owner
Historically, dogs were never separated from their pack. If you have one dog as a domesticated pet, then it is your responsibility to make this unnatural situation less boring and stressful. Be a calm, decisive and assertive pack leader. This will help ease the anxiety in your dog. You might consider starting the day by taking your dog for a short but vigorous walk. This will leave your dog in a quiet, resting state while you are at work. When you leave for work, give your dog plenty of affection.
If your dog seems to be abnormally stressed, then start with smaller amounts of time away and incrementally extend the separation time up to the length of a working day. If your dog is older than one year it will only need to eat once a day. Nevertheless, we regularly feed our dogs half the volume but twice a day with the intention of engaging in a short, 10 minute training session at each meal time. (This routine is simply reinforcing the basic sit, stay, come commands). This way we have at least 2 contacts a day with each of our dogs. While your dog is a pup, use the multiple feed times to train and bond with your new friend.
Always use a leash
When a pup is young, we use every opportunity to put the leash on the dog. If we are watching the TV or reading, we will put one of our young dogs on a leash, bring it into the house, and sit down with the lead around an ankle. This way, the pup learns to sit with us in a controlled situation. Labradors love to please their masters. They love to have the leash around the neck and sit quietly or, alternatively, set off for an adventure!