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Hello I have a a 7/8 month old puppy who does not like to be left alone at all, which for the most part she never is. We've trained her to be calm while we are at work but the real challenge is when she is left alone while we are in the house.

This rarely occurs, we have a special dog room where we keep their toys and feed them and have a few beds lying around, and whenever I take a shower and step out for a minute to empty the trash or something like that I'll put her in the room(which has a see through gate) just to keep her out bedding, wires, etc.

Now whenever she is left alone here, she'll poop! Not only poop but eat it as well likes she's trying to hide the evidence. I literally have no clue how to stop this, obviously I can crate her when im in the shower or something like that, but it seems excessive. Mainly I am just concerned she's defecating in the house.

Any tips?

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This behaviour is usually associated with separation anxiety.

However, before addressing the behaviour, I strongly suggest a visit to your vet to eliminate any medical conditions.

Dogs are excellent watchers. They learn new behaviours all the time on how to react to human behaviours to please us.

Basically, they are first triggered by something, see your behaviour, acts accordingly: Picking up a lead is a trigger for walk and fun, usually excitement!

Unfortunately, sometimes, they learn ‘negative’ behaviours without us realising.

Separation anxiety is one of them. Dogs are pack animals and if the relationship with your dog is correct, you should be the pack leader and the dog a follower. If yes, when you leave, the dog is lost and can not cope. [pack leader advice][

Separation anxiety comes in 2 parts:

The triggers: putting your shoes on, key noises, sudden activity, unusual routines.

You need to find out what these are and get your dog to think these triggers are not always associated with being left alone. For example, you could go find your keys (which could be a trigger) but instead of leaving, you come back and sit down and wait until the dog settles. Only reward the dog if it is in a calm state. When in a calm state, praise the dog simply, quietly in a short appraisal. If the dog gets up, ignore. You must practise over and over again until the dog is bored with it and desensitised. My dog now knows we are leaving and goes in her crate by herself in a very calm manner. She enjoys being left alone. I can explain a typical dog’s life in the wild if you wish!

The actual state of being alone.

You need to ‘teach’ the dog to be alone. As I said, they are pack animals and must be educated or in fact empowered to be left alone by using a natural behaviour. Most dogs will have a guarding behaviour and I always use that one with separation anxiety. If you give a job to a dog and passively occupy it, it won’t feel the anxiety. Practicality, you need to distance yourself from the dog. Start in one room. Get the dog to sit and move away as far as the dog can take staying calm (you and the dog). If the dog moves or display negative behaviour you’ve gone a step too far, literally! Work from room to rooms. Get the dog to get use to be alone for length of times when you are in different rooms. Then work the garden, always challenging the distance. The dog’s guarding behaviour will eventually take over when left alone.

There are lots of things to be said about how to tackle this including many books on positive reinforcement.

You should also think of the following:

Is your dog mentally and physically challenged enough?

Is the house too big? Dogs don’t usually deal very well with large amount of space. When I leave, the only rooms open are lounge where the crate is and kitchen where the water is.

The use of a Kong and distracting behaviour can be used to change the dog’s perception of you leaving.

I could go on for pages as this is not an exact science and varies depending on the dog...

It would to know what type of dog you have. I am happy to answer more direct questions.

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