You’ve adopted a dog from a shelter – Congratulations, well done!
But your adoptee follows you everywhere, sticking to you like glue. It gives you a warm feeling knowing your new pet wants to stay close to you. However this behavior, shadowing you, could be an indication of separation anxiety and other types of stress.
While your pup was in the shelter, s/he had companionship almost all day, every day. S/he may be missing that activity. But you will have to leave the house at times, so it’s important to train your new pal that being alone sometimes can be okay.
Training your dog to stay alone is a gradual process, so be patient and start off slowly.
Andrea Arden, dog trainer, author of books on animal behavior, active with Pets for Patriots, seen on Animal Planet, has several suggestions for teaching your dog to accept alone time.
Using a 6 ft. leash for your dog, attach it to a stable object in the room.
Place a comfortable bed there for your dog to lie on.
Give your dog some toys, preferably something such a Kong to place treats in. Your dog will have to work to remove them. As you work around the room, your dog is occupied with an interesting object and will soon learn that being apart from you can be less stressful.
As your dog shows less concern about where you are, move him/her to different spots and start by leaving the room for short periods.
Baby gates can also be helpful in creating separate areas.
Go outside to get the delivered newspaper or the mail or just to take the garbage out. Your dog will learn that while you leave, you do come back.
Have other members of the family participate in the training and care of the dog so that s/he bonds with all of you.
Dogs are extremely social animals and attach themselves closely to their humans. Following these suggestions, you are training your dog and preparing him/her to become accustomed to your lifestyle. But don’t forget to set aside time every day for play and fun with your best pal.