Many dogs tend to follow their owners from room to room or prefer to stay by their side while they are at home. Although being loyal and attentive are positive traits that many dogs possess, some develop unhealthy forms of attachment that aren't good for pet health and do not create a positive living situation for either dog or human.
According to Modern Dog Magazine, many dogs show mild signs of being anxious or upset when their owners leave the house without them. However, if this anxiety is severe when a pet is left alone or if a pet exhibits anxiety when their owner is home but in a different room, this can be a problem.
The publication reports that if the behavior has just started, owners should bring their dog to the veterinarian health clinic for a full physical. Many times, dogs that show sudden behavioral changes or an increased “neediness” may be responding to a physical ailment.
Once illness or injury is ruled out, owners should start to enforce alone time for their dog. The magazine suggests setting up an area in the home that is filled with its favorite chew toys, a dog bed and soothing music from a CD. Offering this environment will show the dog that being alone is not scary or a punishment.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, if a dog is displaying anxious behaviors before its family members leave it alone in the house, owners should try creating a more specific daily routine that incorporates scheduled times for attention (such as time in the morning to play fetch, or eating breakfast together), followed by scheduled times when the owner is in the house but the pet gets no attention. During this time a pet should be allowed to play with their own toys and have access to a limited number of treats. It is important that owners learn to ignore bad behaviors their dog may use to get their attention as they are heading out the door. Owners should also not overly praise their dog or give too exaggerated of a welcome when they return home.