TIP #1: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'!
The most common cause for nuisance behaviors in dogs is boredom. Dogs are social creatures and crave attention and affirmation. Ignoring a dog for long stretches at a time and then reprimanding him for seeking attention is counterproductive. Reprimands are a form of attention. Behaviors that earn the dog attention will increase in frequency. Reprimands only confuse the dog.
1. Keep your dog busy: give him something to do.
2. When you take breaks, (please) don't forget to pay attention to your dog.
3. Teach/reward your dog to relax on his bed.
4. Give your dog exercise, play, and mental stimulation every day.
- Elisabeth Weiss
TIP #2: SEPARATION ANXIETY OR BOREDOM?
Have you ever had the misfortune of walking into your house to find overturned furniture, inches-deep claw gouges on door frames, blood-stained tooth marks on window sills, and countless messages on your answering machine from neighbors complaining about your dog barking and howling for hours on end in your absence? If so, you're probably familiar with the term "separation anxiety" - a mild label for a devastating and destructive behavior.
Most separation anxiety behavior happens within 30 minutes of the owner's departure and within a similar period before the owner's anticipated return. This is one of the keys to determining whether your dog's behavior is truly an anxiety reaction or simply a bout of puppy hijinks.
If you can leave and come back in an hour to an unscathed home but four hours puts him over the top, chances are you're dealing with boredom, excessive energy, or a housetraining issue rather than true separation anxiety. (Some dogs will become destructive in their efforts to go outside to relieve themselves if they are very committed to not soiling the house.)
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI