Most dogs in an adults-only household today are likely to be latchkey pets with no one home all day but the dog. When you return after a tough day on the job, the dog can and should be your relaxation therapy. But going home can, instead, be a daily frustration.
Separation anxiety is a very common problem for a dog in a household where everyone works. It may begin with whines and barks of loneliness, but will soon escalate into frenzied destruction. That is why it is so important to set aside the time to teach a dog to relax when left alone in her confined area and to understand that she can trust you to return.
Let the dog get used to your work schedule in easy stages. Confine her to her spot (room, exercise pen, crate, or dog run) and then walk near her over and over again. Be casual about it. No physical, voice, or eye contact. When the pup no longer even notices your comings and goings, leave the house for varying lengths of time, returning to stay home for a few minutes and gradually increasing the time away. This training can take days, but the dog is learning that you haven't left her forever and that she can trust you to come home.
Any time you leave the dog, but especially during this training period, be casual about your departure. No anxiety-building fond farewells. Just "bye" and go. Remember the "good dog" when you return to find everything more or less as you left it.
If things are a mess (or even a disaster) when you return, greet the dog, take her outside to eliminate, then put her in her crate while you clean up. Rant and rave in the shower! Do not punish the dog. You were not there when it happened, and the rule is: Only punish as you catch the dog in the act of wrongdoing. (Obviously, it makes sense to bring your latchkey puppy home at a time you'll have a week or two to spend on these training essentials.)
Family weekend activities should include your APBT whenever possible. Depending on the pup's age, now is the time for a long walk in the park, playtime in the backyard, a hike in the woods. Socializing is as important as health care, good food, and physical exercise, so visiting Aunt Emma or Uncle Harry and the next-door neighbor's dog or cat is essential to developing an outgoing, friendly temperament in your pet.
If you are a single adult, socializing your APBT at home and away will prevent her from becoming overly protective of you (or just overly attached) and will also prevent such behavioral problems as dominance and fear of strangers.
Was this article helpful?
Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.