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5 behaviours that indicate your dog is lonely

Country Living (UK) logo Country Living (UK) 12/01/2020 Lisa Walden

a dog sitting in front of a window: Loneliness in dogs: we explore the tell-tale signs if your dog is feeling lonely, how you can help and help your pup. © Tetiana Garkusha - Getty Images Loneliness in dogs: we explore the tell-tale signs if your dog is feeling lonely, how you can help and help your pup. We all want our dogs to live full, happy lives, but sometimes our jam-packed schedules and busy routines can sadly result in our pups feeling lonely and isolated. 

Dogs' personalities are as individual as humans', so their reasons for feeling lonely may vary depending on their different circumstances. While it's not always easy to identify just how our pups are feeling, some of the tell-tale signs your dog may be lonely include... 

© Getty 1. Your dog following you around the house

If your pup is feeling lonely you may notice they follow you around in order to get the companionship they crave.

Lovely dog  in home. © Getty Lovely dog in home. 2. They aren't as playful as they once were

Something else you might notice is that your pet isn't wanting to play as much as usual. Sometimes, due to inconsistent companionship, they may lack the social skills they once had – and withdraw themselves from wanting to play. Dogs are incredibly social animals, so if they pull back from group activities it could be a sign of loneliness.

Sad look of the old dog. Sick (or tired) labrador retriever lying on wooden floor at home. © Getty Sad look of the old dog. Sick (or tired) labrador retriever lying on wooden floor at home. 3. They may lick their own fur more regularl

According to research conducted by INSIDER, lonely dogs may bite at their own fur more often, resulting in patches of lost fur. One expert said: "L**k granulomas are a common manifestation of boredom or anxiety in dogs, and present as small circular sores that are often on the dog's carpus or wrist."

Gallery: How to protect your pets during winter (StarsInsider)

4. Sleeping more often

Similar to the behaviour of humans, many dogs that are lonely or sad may turn to sleep as a form of distraction. If your dog begins sleeping more than normal, it could be a tell-tale sign they are feeling lonely. 

Naughty dog home alone - yellow labrador retriever destroyed the plush toy and made a mess in the apartment © Getty Naughty dog home alone - yellow labrador retriever destroyed the plush toy and made a mess in the apartment 5. Destructive behaviour 

Another sign your dog could be feeling lonely is if they are becoming destructive at home, destroying things or chewing furniture. If dogs are regularly left on their own, this could be a sign of boredom, as well as a way to get their owner's attention.

a dog that is lying down and looking at the camera: Relaxed Dog © Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images Relaxed Dog What should you do if your dog is lonely?

The surest cure for loneliness is, of course, togetherness. But if you can't be with them physically, some of the ways you can help a lonely dog include...

  • Putting on the radio or background music
  • If you can, get another dog so they have a companion
  • Take your dog with you if you go on runs or head out to see friends
  • Try to head home on lunch breaks if possible

© Getty We spoke to the experts at The Kennel Club to find out how to help a lonely pup. Bill Lambert from the animal charity tells Country Living: "It's important to get your puppy used to being left alone when you are not there to prevent it from suffering from separation anxiety as it gets older. An ideal time to start the process is when your puppy is sleeping so that it doesn’t become dependent on having constant company.

Boots the dog, patiently waiting for her family to come home from work © Getty Boots the dog, patiently waiting for her family to come home from work "As with all training, it’s a good idea to divert away from 'undesirable' behaviour and positively reward good behaviour. For example, try not to return to your puppy when it is whining and/or barking, and instead wait until this behaviour has stopped before entering the room.

Frame with a beautiful girl with a beautiful dog in a park on green grass © Getty Frame with a beautiful girl with a beautiful dog in a park on green grass "Of course, it's also important to make sure your dog is exposed to new environments and is well-socialised with other people and dogs. A crucial part of this is to take them to training classes, such as the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, the largest dog training programme in the country. Information on where to find classes can be found on the Kennel Club website."

❗️If you think your dog may be feeling lonely or, in severe cases, suffering from depression, we always advise you visit your local vet to seek out expert advice ❗️

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