I have recently been asked the question “How do I train my Shih Tzu if I work a lot?” Which is an interesting question and bought a few things to mind, inclusive of doggy dedication and separation anxiety.
If you have a Shih Tzu dog at home, are worried about his behavior and work long hours then read on.
Let’s first talk about the Shih Tzu that is home alone and how he or she might be feeling.
The Shih Tzu is a companion dog that needs companionship to be really happy. If the little dog is home alone quite a lot he is likely to be sad and maybe even stressed. This will show in a variety of behaviors which might lead the returning human to think the dog needs training. Types of behavior that can occur when a dog is anxious about being left alone are;
- Toileting issues
- Destructive behavior
- Scratching doors
These symptoms are all pointing to the same fact, the Shih Tzu is suffering from separation anxiety and this is a mental state that cannot be traditionally trained out of any dog.
How is your Dog Feeling?
Try and remember a time when you were quite stressed. A time when your palms sweated and you felt completely out of control of a situation then add isolation. Imagine that you are completely alone for all of those hours, feeling stressed.
Now imagine that for 8 hours a day or even longer you are put back into that same situation or state of mind and have no way to escape it. In addition there is no-one to talk to, or interact with, to alleviate that stress. Your behavior is likely to change isn’t it?
Finally picture this, someone comes along and tells you that you must behave in a certain way, but you can’t think straight because of the high stress levels within your body. In addition you start of fear their every movement because they may leave you alone again, so stress becomes and everyday part of your existence.
That’s how a dog feels when suffering with separation anxiety.
What Can You Do?
So now that you are more aware of how your dog may feel whilst you go to work what can you do?
If you work on the reason for any dog behavior rather than the behavior itself you are more likely to achieve long lasting success. There are many small business types that are springing up all over the place that can help, namely doggy day care, dog walking and pet visiting.
It’s a wonderful and compassionate thing to think of your dog whilst you are out at work. Making arrangements for someone to take care of your pet and give him all the love and attention that you can’t for at least some of the hours you are away is a great thing to do.
In addition you may benefit from introducing a separate behavior modification program to alleviate the stress of being home alone. A qualified local expert can help with this.
If you make proper arrangements for your dog to have a good quality of life by not leaving him alone for long hours then he will be a well-rounded and happy Shih Tzu. This will show in his behavior and your Shih Tzu training sessions will be fun rather than desperate attempts to stop stress related behaviors in your little friend.