Dogs experience stress just like we do. From a change in routine to a change in circumstances, your dog may feel anxious and upset and display this emotion in a number of ways. One of the biggest causes of stress in Cavapoos is separation anxiety triggered from time spent being alone.
It is up to you to train your Cavapoo on how to cope with being left alone so that they can enjoy their own company and learn how to entertain themselves when you’re not there. Plenty of toys, a safe place to relax and a quiet exit can all help your dog to adjust to being on their own.
The last year has been a stressful one for most people, so it’s no wonder that we are all feeling a little emotionally out of sorts. But as the world starts to adjust to a new normal, it is really important that we prepare our dogs for a return to regular routines.
Cavapoos are known for their affectionate nature, and love being surrounded by people. But if left on their own for long periods of time, Cavapoos can suffer from separation anxiety. Here we explain how to train your Cavapoo to cope with being alone.
How long can you leave your Cavapoo on their own?
Dogs are pack animals so take comfort from being with others, however, to spend every hour of every day with your Cavapoo is simply unrealistic. And although we know it is okay to be apart from our dogs to run errands or go to work, most of us are unsure of just how long is too long for our dogs to be left alone?
Throughout the day your dog will need to stretch their legs, relieve themselves and replenish with plenty of water. And although most adult dogs can hold their bladder for 6+ hours it is unfair to expect them to do so day and night.
Puppies, however, need to toilet much more regularly – roughly every hour for every month of their age. So, for the safety and comfort of your Cavapoo and for the sake of your carpet, you need to make sure that you are around to provide regular bathroom breaks for your dog outside.
For information on how to toilet train your Cavapoo see our latest blog.
As King Charles Cavalier Spaniels were originally bred as lap dogs, it is no surprise that these dogs love a cuddle. Incredibly affectionate, they enjoy spending as much time as possible with their owners, which can mean that when forced to be apart, these sociable pooches struggle with separation anxiety.
But regardless of your dog’s age or breed, a dog should not be left alone for any longer than 4-6 hours at any given time. If you are unable to facilitate this every day, then you should consider using doggy daycare or a daily dog walking service so that your dog is not alone for long periods of time.
We are lucky in that we can take our Cavapoo Rosie to work with us. Here she has the run of the office, her own couch to chill out on and plenty of fuss readily available. That said, she also goes to doggy daycare once a week too, so that she can socialize with your doggy pals and get used to being with other people away from us.
How to tell if your Cavapoo is struggling with being alone?
It is often hard to know if your Cavapoo has separation anxiety or whether they simply don’t like being left on their own.
It is normal for most dogs to display discomfort when we leave the house and some even show concern when we leave the room. This is often in the form of whining or howling but most will stop and calm down within a matter of minutes.
If your Cavapoo displays extreme emotions that last for the majority of the time that you are not there, then this may be cause for concern.
If your Cavapoo is suffering from separation anxiety, then they may start to:
- Relieve themselves inside the house.
- Bark, howl, growl or cry excessively.
- Chew obsessively on things other than their food or toys.
- Display destructive behavior such as chewing or digging.
- Pace back and forth on the spot.
- Behave in an aggressive or anxious manner.
- Scratch on doors and furniture.
- Pant and even foam at the mouth.
Tips for leaving your Cavapoo alone
We all love to spend as much time as possible with our dogs, and whilst it can be a fulfilling experience it can lead to your Cavapoos becoming clingy. With some proper training, however, you can teach them that being apart from you is perfectly fine so that you can all have the best of both worlds.
Here are our 6 top tips for helping your Cavapoo cope with being alone.
- Gradual training. Whether you get your dog as a puppy or an adult, you need to teach them how to be alone. From the moment you get your Cavapoo, you should look to leave the house daily for a few minutes before gradually extending the time. This will help your dog learn to trust that you will always return back to them.
- Allow your dog time to rest. Although it is tempting to constantly fuss and play with our dogs whilst we are around, we need to ensure that they get plenty of downtime. Dogs can get overstimulated when in our presence and we need them to learn the art of chilling out on their own. It is also good to ignore your dog sometimes so that they understand that they can’t have our attention all of the time.
- Provide plenty of self-entertainment. Although dogs tend to sleep for the majority of time that we are not there, it is important that there are plenty of toys, treats and activities to keep them amused. Balls, interactive puzzles and Kongs stuffed with food are just a few great ways in which your dog can keep themselves mentally stimulated.
- Prepare your dog for your departure. Dogs are intelligent and so can pick up on certain cues. Therefore you can train them to understand that they are about to left. This can help to reduce separation anxiety and prepare them for time spent on their own. It can be as simple as saying ‘goodbye’, providing them with the same favourite treat or toy or tying your shoes in front of them.
- Make a quiet exit. The worst thing you can do is to go over the top with affection just before you leave. Many owners make the mistake of hugging their Cavapoo repeatedly which serves no purpose other than to lessen your guilt and let the dog know that something they don’t like is about to happen.
- Provide them with a safe place to rest. Whether it is a crate or a bed, make sure that your Cavapoo has somewhere safe and secure to retreat too when you are not there. This will help them to remain calm and provide them with a soft place in which to slumber.
How your stress affects your dog
Cavapoo owners tend to spend a lot of time in close contact with their dogs, which ultimately leads to strong bonds being formed.
But did you know that dogs can mirror our emotions, and this is called emotional contagion? This finding was part of a Swedish study that analyzed the long-term stress levels that were synchronized between dogs and their owners.
When we become stressed, we use specific coping mechanisms such as breathing techniques, meditation, fitness or even spending time with friends and family. When your Cavapoo becomes stress however, we need to look for ways in which can help to relieve it for them.
It has been proven that nose work such as scent work games, searches and trails can induce positive connotations with our Cavapoos. Rest and relaxation are also great for getting highly-strung dogs to unwind.
Dogs that are highly sensitized to stressful situations may even find body wraps useful as they are designed to apply gentle pressure to your dog’s torso – just like acupuncture. Canine homoeopathic treatments using herbs and oils are also good for treating stress and anxiety as well as massage, which greatly reduces tension, lowers your dog’s heart rate, and leaves them feeling calmer.
So next time you are feeling stressed out, take a moment to think about the impact that your mood may be having on your Cavapoo and what you can do remedy the situation.
Everybody feels better when they are surrounded by others in an attentive and caring environment – and your Cavapoo is no different.
Outstanding circumstances such as COVID-19, has meant an increase in the amount of time we now spend at home, with our pooches lapping up more love than ever.
But whilst all this non-stop attention is great for our dogs, we may well be setting our Cavapoos up for separation anxiety post coronavirus when life starts to resume to its normal schedule. So make sure that you keep stress at bay by remaining calm at all times and implementing some simple daily training techniques in order to combat canine loneliness.