My dog can't be left alone


A concerned reader asks for help and advice on looking after her rescue Cockerpoo puppy.

Q: Please help. I rescued a Cockerpoo aged 14 months at the end of January and ever since I have been a prisoner in my own home. I just can’t leave him. I have tried all the recommended methods but they don’t work. It has now got to the point where I am considering rehoming him again, which will break my heart. 

Your Dog reader, via email.

Tamsin says: Caring for a dog who is unable to cope with being by himself can be incredibly debilitating and life-changing, and it’s important for your health that you are able to live your own life. Dogs are naturally social animals, so they need to learn to be confident and relaxed when by themselves, but it can be a difficult lesson to learn. 

Initially, try to avoid leaving your dog alone completely, so he isn’t having repeated negative experiences. Seek registered professional dog walkers or sitters to assist, or ask friends and family. 

It’s always worth having a vet check; separation problems can sometimes have underlying medical conditions that make them worse, so a clean bill of health will rule these out and if there are any medical concerns they can be treated. 

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Your vet will also be able to refer you to an accredited (certified) clinical animal behaviourist, who can work with you to create a tailor-made plan specifically for you and your dog to help him feel differently about being alone, and provide him with the skills to cope. This might take some time. 

If you are considering rehoming him, then please talk to a member of staff from a rehoming organisation registered with the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes.

Take a look at our webinar with expert dog trainer Tony Cruse, discussing separation anxiety and how to help puppies and older dogs overcome this very difficult behavioural issue...