I often have clients contact me because their dogs suffer from severe anxiety while they’re away. It doesn’t seem to matter if the human companion is gone for a few minutes or a few days: If they’re out of the dog’s sight, the dog really gets upset and worried. This can lead to some extreme stress for the dog and the human alike.
I know our boy, Kramer, gets anxious when my wife, Kim, has to leave the house for any reason. It doesn’t matter if she’s just walking out to get the mail or if she’s leaving the house for an appointment. Kramer panics if he can’t at least see where Kim is. He’ll look out each window and stand by the door to the garage to see if he can see or hear her. It takes me quite a bit of explaining to him that she will be back in either a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the circumstance. Once she arrives, all is well in his world again. He truly is a momma’s boy!
When I leave the house, it doesn’t seem to faze Kramer too much. It’s not that he’s not close to me. As a matter of fact, he is thrilled when I arrive back. It doesn’t matter if I simply went to check the mail or if I’ve been gone all day. However, he doesn’t seem to pace or worry when I leave the house.
It could be that I try to do a great job in letting him know where I’m going, when I’ll be back and that he can just relax while I’m gone. It could also be that I’m out of the house more often than my wife. I’m fortunate that I have the luxury of setting my own schedule, within reason. This means I get to run most of the errands during the week. My guess is that Kramer is just more attached to my wife. It’s his self-imposed job to watch over my wife and provide her all the cuddling and sloppy kisses that she can handle. It’s a nice gig if you can get it!
My Dusty girl doesn’t seem to fret if either of us has to leave the house. She’s been with us since she was eight weeks old, so she has a pretty good handle on the routine and how things work in the household. She’s also not nearly as fretful as Kramer. She’s strong and independent and has a naturally outgoing personality. She tends to allow things to happen as they may, as long as she is aware of what’s going on and she gets a say.
Dusty is thrilled when I enter the door from being outside. This is especially true when I arrive home. She is a daddy’s girl and we do have a very close and special bond. It likely goes back to the fact that I held her the most when she was a puppy and I continue to carry her many places when she is unable to navigate high places or long stairways. She treats every entrance I make, no matter how long I’ve been out of view, as a time to celebrate. She gets very excited, wags her nubby tail and rubs against my legs like a cat would. Please don’t tell Dusty about the cat reference!
I have friends whose dogs don’t seem to mind at all when their human companions are away from the house. They use the time to lounge in places where they’re otherwise not supposed to be, like the couch or on the bed. Of course, they hop down and crawl in their own beds when they hear the garage door open or the car pull into the driveway. When the door opens, they will simply continue to lie in their beds and not get too excited about the grand entry. The most excitement they can muster is a wag or two of the tail.
I guess it’s different for every dog and every situation. Some dogs will get very anxious when we’re gone and thrilled when we return. Others don’t seem to be bothered by the whole process.
Does your dog miss you while you’re gone? How do they act when you finally arrive? Share your story and pictures in the comments!
About Tim Link: All-American guy who loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir and prefers to associate with open-minded people who love all critters. Considers himself to be the literal voice for all animals. Author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, Animal Communicator and consultant at Wagging Tales.
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