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german shepherd
electric fencing
separation anxiety
negative behavior
garden hose
night shift
spending time
boundaries
Leaving Your German Shepherd Home Alone
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Leaving Your German Shepherd Home Alone

The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent, active and social breed of dog. They just love spending time with their family whether it be curling up beside you, going for a walk or licking your face. When it comes time for you to leave the house your German Shepherd may become anxious. This anxiety can lead to destructive behavior such as barking, digging and chewing (many dogs find chewing comforting). These types of behavior are signs of separation anxiety.

Jake is our male German Shepherd and is almost a year old. I work days and my husband works the evening/night shift (10 hours a day, 4 days a week) and we have three children that are home in the afternoon. For the most part Jake is not left home alone for more then a couple of hours and he generally doesn't display negative behavior. However, this past weekend my family went camping. Normally Jake would go with us, but this time we were having a small family reunion and attending the Worlds Fair so we decided it would be better off if Jake stayed at home. My sister and her family have a German Shepherd of their own and live across the field from our house so they fed and made sure Jake had water. They also played with him for a little while each afternoon while we were gone.

We have wireless electric fencing that provides a safe zone for Jake while we are gone. It gives him a pretty large area to run and play in outside. He knows exactly where his boundaries and never goes outside of them. I don't ever worry about him going where he shouldn't. He also has an outside pen he can stay in so we rarely ever have to chain him. He is generally a well behaved Shepherd. Always wanting to please.

However......we found that when we are gone for an extended period of time he does suffer from separation anxiety. When we got home from camping, Jake had dug a whole that almost reached from one side of our sidewalk to the other, chewed through a power cord that was thankfully not plugged in, and had dragged our garden hose out on the front lawn and chewed the nozzle! We were very surprised at his behavior while we were gone!

German shepherds are not dogs that can amuse themselves for hours on end. They were bred to work with their owners. While we were gone we were unable to provide Jake with the time and attention he needed so he found a way to entertain himself. It is highly unusual that we leave Jake home alone for a long period of time, but next time we will be better prepared for our time away. Jake will have plenty of chew toys, balls etc. that he can play with. Right now Jake is still a puppy and I think this behavior is not out of the ordinary.

I know it may take some work, but we will take it one step at a time. We will make sure Jake is rewarded for good behavior and gets plenty of exercise and toys to play with. He has access to an igloo dog house that he can get into with a comfy blanket anytime he wants. Perhaps some day we will get another dog for Jake to have a companion.


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