Dog sitting an anxious dog? Talk to him! (If you are leaving your dog with someone, this could help you too!)
Don’t be concerned if you feel you don’t know how to talk to animals. Dogs know how to listen to us! You do not need to have a two way conversation to reassure him that he is loved and his family is returning.
*Tell the dear dog over and over that his family is away for a month (exact amount of time) having fun (the exact reason) and why they couldn’t take him. Assure him they will be back to get him and when.
*Tell him you love him and he will be your companion while they are away. He will return to his family and to his job with them when they come back.
*Tell him what his job with you is–to keep you company? to take you for walks? to alert you whenever someone comes to the door? Whatever you feel his job is that would be helpful to you and work with his natural tendencies, make that his job. Do not tell the dog to guard. This could cause difficulties. Alert yes, guard no.
*When talking, don’t use any negatives, as in “you’re family hasn’t deserted you,” he’ll hear deserted!
*Use only positives. “Your Mom and Dad love you very much and that is why you are staying with me. They know I will take excellent care of you and that you will be great company for me until they return. I really appreciate you staying with me and I want you to be very happy while you are here. You are going back to your family when they get home because they love you very much. You are very important to them.”
*Do not tell the dog to “wait” for his family. That is a very long wait! Tell him the length of time and date of return. Don’t say they’ll be back soon if they won’t!
These strategies will help the sweet dog be more calm and relaxed (and you too) while his family is away. If the dog remains very anxious, consider a veterinary visit to rule out any underlying causes and a two-way communication/healing session.