You may notice that your little Yorkshire Terrier has been acting anxious.
One form in which this shows up is in separation anxiety; it is the major source of discomfort in the Yorkie.
Missing you, your Yorkie may show some symptoms that are typical of those dogs who are left alone during the day.
This affectionate and lovable dog does not like it when their favorite person or people are gone for long periods of time.
Separation anxiety can happen at any age, although it usually begins when they are young.
In some cases, the dog may be older and show signs that have never appeared before.
Anxiety relating to age and health problems can also be factors in a dog that is showing behavioral symptoms.
There are certain steps that you can take, however, to help your dog overcome his separation anxiety and be happier, even if you are gone all day.
Some Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
Some common symptoms of this include:
- Excessive Barking
- Urinating/Defecating in places within the home
- Destructive chewing
- Panic attacks
- Dilated pupils
- Hours of pacing
Some Yorkies may show these signs even before the owner leaves the house; anticipation of being left alone can cause the dog to become upset.
The key to prevention of this anxiety is building up the self-confidence of your dog. Independence is another trait to encourage.
Training is one way to prevent this problem.
Here are some tips on establishing an environment to help your Yorkie cope with you being gone for long periods of time.
- Create a special space or den. It can be a small room, with space to freely move about. Some owners opt for a doggie playpen.
He should be able to move and play. If a window or sliding glass door is in the area, that is good, as they can look out.
If the dog barks more while looking out, you might find another location where he is more comfortable.
- Make sure the area is warm and comfortable, away from air conditioning blowing cold air on the dog.
On the other hand, he should not be too close to heating vents in colder weather.
- Keep the light on when you leave. That way, your dog will not have to be alone in a dark room, when you return late in the day or the sky gets darker outside.
Like people, a dog being alone in the dark can often cause greater anxiety and isolation.
- Leave a television or radio on with some calming music. Programs on TV with animals or dogs are shown to interest dogs; some are avid TV watchers.
Some studies have shown that programs with animals are more interesting to the dog than programs of just people.
Have the following items in his area:
- Toys – chew toys are helpful. You may have special toys that your dog can have only when alone.
- Food and water
- Canine bed – this should be of high quality with good cushioning
- Pee pads – you can place them in a corner of the area
- Companion toy – a stuffed animal helps relieve being alone and adds a comforting friend; you can find great ones that are meant for canines to snuggle.
Desensitizing the fearful Yorkie
Because you probably do a set of actions, such as putting on your coat or grabbing your keys before you leave, you might do some of these actions as rehearsal.
That means do the actions but not leave the house, or leave just to get the mail and then return.
One day when you are planning to stay home, begin desensitizing him to your leaving.
The idea is that the “cues” that he looks for will not be there. Do one “leaving” action each time you are planning on staying home.
On days when you are planning on being gone, put your dog in his playpen or room about 20 minutes before you leave.
The door or entrance can be open so he can wander in and out to retrieve toys or drink water.
Your departure should be done with a matter-of-fact attitude.
Do not scold your dog if he whines or does not go back to soothe him. He will become more confident with these tips.
You can also leave for timed sessions, getting him gradually used to your being away.
Find more information regarding timed sessions, including leaving and not leaving, here.
Some other tips
If you are still having problems after the desensitization training, it may be time to call in a relative or hire a petsitter while you are gone.
Your family member or friend, as well as a pet sitter, can take the dog for a walk and give it exercise.
The exercise is good for your Yorkie’s health as well as can lessen his anxiety. A regular schedule of walking and attention may just be the answer.
Just be sure that whoever comes in is aware of the boundaries that you have established and will uphold them.
You can also find phone-driven pet treat feeders and cameras to check on your dog while you are gone.
Just remember to avoid punishing a dog that is anxious and keep calm.
Do not reinforce the fear and continue to reinforce positive behavior in your furry friend.
Reward his good behavior and know that with the right training, anxiety can be a thing of the past.