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What should your dog be doing when you are not at home?

I'm sure most owners had felt guilty at least once in awhile for leaving their dogs alone at home, well this short article shares our experience on a dog's feeling and message based on their body language (do note that there is nothing psychic *sarcasm*, just pure science and experience), hopefully this can help you understand better on knowing if worrying is needed.

If your dog is:

Sitting close to the door
Take note!

Camping at the door can either be a form of anxiety or guarding behavior, it could even be both. If your dog barks whenever there are passerby, it's probably a guarding problem, if there are random whining or barking and you can't figure out the cause, then refer to the rest of the list below. If your dog is just resting near the door, then you may need to monitor closely for now. Remember, guarding is not because your dog loves you or wishes to protect your house, it is a stressful behavior then can lead to depression.
http://ambertoypoodle.blogspot.sg/2013/07/depression-in-dogs.html?m=1


Whining/crying
You should be worried!

Your dog is having anxiety attacks because you do not know how to convey the message to it that you will be coming back, once in a blue moon whining/crying is okay but if this happens everyday (when you leave the house of course), we'd suggest you seek a trainer that specialize in dog behavior, never talk or say bye to your dog, they won't understand and may think that you are abandoning them.


Sleeping
There's nothing to worry about.

Dogs, unlike humans do not just sleep at night, they sleep throughout the whole day, breaking up the sleeping hours into intervals, so it is not surprising if you see your dog awake in the middle of the night or even playing with toys. On average, dogs can sleep a total of 10-15 hours a day, sleeping helps them to recharge their energy and repair their body for later activities. If you are away and your dog is sleeping, it only means one thing - your dog is relaxed with your absence and is resting till you are back! Dogs do not sleep nor rest when they feel tense and stressful, they would've been barking or whining.


Barking
You should be worried!

More often than not, barking when owners are away is a symptom of stress, imagine this as a form of whining/crying but in a more demanding tone, the dog is simply shouting out for you to come back, you may notice that when you return after hearing the bark,  your dog will stop the behavior, things doesn't simply ends there. To let you know beforehand, doing so will only worsen the anxiety and creates more unnecessary barking whenever you leave the house in future. There are many forms of barking and having to figuring out the cause can be frustrating for most owners, no matter how many dogs owners have or the years of experience raising dogs, it's best to seek help to make sure. One thing we are sure is that the dog is clearly unhappy barking, you might also be disturbing other people depending on the scenario, solve it before it gets worst.


Playing with toys
There's nothing to worry about.

This behavior, together with resting is the number 1 thing that all owners should aim to achieve, it simply means that the dog is stress free and enjoys doing things by itself.


So what does Amber do when she is alone?

Amber is trained to be independent ever since she was a puppy, she enjoys both having us around as well as being alone, even though nowadays there are always someone around, we make it a point to have zero contact with her at certain timings, to stimulate the environment where no one is around, this is to maintain her independent skills. During these period of time, Amber treats us like invisible and might do funny stuff, sometimes even misbehaving a little.

Rest!
Most of the time, Amber will be resting, be it lying down or actually closing her eyes and doze off, she will be resting when there are no human contacts. This can go on from minutes to even hours, then she may wake up, change position and sleep again.

Playing with toys
Amber loves to have her toys around and my get frustrated when she can't find the specific toy that is given to her for the week (we change her toy on a weekly basis), she loves flipping it and making the toys move, as if hoping the toys to be alive and falling onto her body to create more intense plays. Amber also loves toys with treats in it, she could spend up to an hour digging out treats.

Sniffing around
When allowed to free roam, Amber would be checking out the house/room/area, she knows that toilets, master bedroom and kitchen are out of bounds, but she would still attempt to go into the toilet occasionally, this is the reason why we do not recommend owners to let their dogs free roam the whole house when they are away, it's not worth it to risk a dog's life just because owners are lazy to train it.

The above scenario sums up how a relaxed dog will behave when owners are not around, in the past when Amber was younger we needed to leave her alone from time to time, we would take down videos to understand her natural behavior when she is left alone at home, dogs should sleep as much as they should, it does not mean that they miss you so don't worry about it! The ones that should worry are those who are constantly alert, running around, showing uncertain behaviors like whining, barking, howling, scratching and chewing objects, these are signs that they are stressed and need proper solutions to help them feel better.

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