Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is Your Dog Depressed When You Leave For A Few Hours

Mike the Intern leaves for work, in this dog's eye
view of his departure. The dog is inconsolable
after Mike leaves. 
A guy who identified himself as "Mike the Intern" on YouTube recently decided to attach a GoPro camera to his dog to see what the puppy did when he leaves him alone at home.

The results, predictably, are sad. After Mike leaves, the dog frantically goes back and forth between the door and windows, looking for Mike.

Then the dog gives up, finds a pile of Mike's clothes to smell, and howls and weeps over the "fact" that Mike is never coming back, and the dog's loyal companion is gone forever. The betrayal!

Mike says he never wants to leave the dog again.

But really, I think Mike can relax, as long as he doesn't leave his dog alone for an entire eight or ten hour day.

The dog probably settled down after the video ended. That part is probably not show in the video which you can see at the bottom of this post.

I kind of have a sense of what happens with dogs when we leave them.

Sometimes, Jeff goes to work, then I leave, but not really. Instead, I'll end up working in the yard and hear what goes on in the house.

The two dogs are inconsolable at first. Jackson, the younger, small dog is the most heartrending. He howls as if suffering intensely, alone to die of thirst in starvation in the cold, lonely house.

But later, things calm down, and I'll sometimes sneak in or peek in the window to see what's going on.

By this time, Tonks and Jackson are either sleeping peacefully, or exploring the house to see and smell what has changed since yesterday, or they're playing with their toys, or they're by the window watching birds fly by or trucks rumble by the house out on the road.

It turns out the behavior I see in Tonks and Jackson is pretty typical for dogs, much to my relief. Mike's dog is probably the same.

Dogs love human companionship, especially if their human companions are kind and feed them and like to play with them. So when the dog's human leaves, it's heartbreaking for the dog.

But then they recover, and go about their day. Of course, they're very relieved to see you come home, which is why we get a boisterous greeting when you do get back home. "You're back! I thought you were gone forever! But you're back! Oh joy! Let's play! Can I have some food? Now?  Wait, let's go outside and play first!

 If you leave every day at 8 a.m. and come home at, say 2 p.m., the dog will miss you while you're gone, but not as much as you leave for a longer period of time.

If you go away for an extended period of time, days, weeks or months, the dog might go through a grieving period, but adjust. But the dog will be especially happy when you return home. They're creatures of habit.

Some dogs get separation anxiety, but for the most part, it's fine to leave your dogs alone for a little while, provided they're in a safe place. But I still feel guilty as hell when I leave my two "kids."

The following video makes me feel a bit more guilty:

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