How to Leave Your Dog Home Alone and Happy
At some point every dog owner must leave his best friend home alone to run errands, go to work, or travel. Preparing and making arrangements to ensure your dog is well cared for and not overly bored or anxious can be daunting and, for many, guilt-inducing. But knowing your options, together with a little dog training, can help reassure you about leaving your dog alone and keeping him happy while you’re gone. Read on to learn the best plan for your best pal so your partings are relaxing and your reunions sweet.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG AND HIS ATTACHMENT TO YOU
Dogs are highly social creatures, and your dog’s desire to be near you, the de facto leader of his pack, is completely natural. He simply feels most safe, secure and happy when you are near. But for your sake and his it is crucial he feels content spending time on his own so you can both enjoy this beautiful friendship to its fullest. Ideally, you’ll train your dog to be alone when he is a puppy, before any anxiety and problem behaviors set in. But older dogs, such as rescues who never learned to be alone, can also be retrained to spend time alone. Expect them to be a little slower on the uptake than their puppy counterparts, but with consistency, patience and gradual changes, they too can be at ease alone.
TRAINING YOUR DOG TO BE ALONE
PRO TIP:Professional dog trainers know that canines take their cues from you. If you are anxious about how your dog will respond to being alone, he’ll likely pick up on this worry and respond with nervousness himself. If you remain calm and consistent throughout this training process, your dog will absorb the message that it is perfectly safe and normal to be alone.
Dog Walkers: Depending on your dog, a full workday may be too long for him to be home alone without the opportunity for exercise and a bathroom break. If you can’t get home on your lunch break, it’s important to schedule a daily walk and companionship for your dog. This can be a neighbor who is happy to go for a walk with your dog or a professional dog walker.
Doggie Day Care: If it’s within your budget, doggie day care is an excellent way to keep your dog from feeling isolated and lonely during the workweek. Here your dog will be supervised while having a chance to play with the pack. Many people find sending their dog even two or three days a week helps mitigate problem behaviors on their days at home.
BUSINESS TRIPS & VACATIONS: DOG SITTER OR KENNEL?
The ideal is having a family member or friend with whom your dog is comfortable stay over during your trip. If that option isn’t available, however, you can hire a reputable dog sitter to care for your dog in your home or in their home. Introduce your dog to the sitter before your trip to assess if they are a good match. If your dog is highly social, a kennel can be an engaging environment for him; many kennels now operate like 24/7 doggie daycares.
When researching dog sitters, kennels, and doggie daycare, be sure to ask about:
With planning, training, and patience, your dog can be content at home alone. It’s important to keep in mind that establishing calm alone-time for your dog is the best thing for your best friend and for you. Confident that he’ll be able to handle regular departures or unexpected separations with ease, you’ll be able to relax and fully enjoy time together with your best pal all the more.
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