My dog likes the finer things in life, so as much as we both want to stay home and play fetch all day, I have to sometimes leave my dog home alone to go to work, run errands and go places where dogs are not allowed. My guilt as a caring dog-parent is real. Every time I walk out the door, my heart turns heavy with sadness and guilt.
My dog, Luca, is a rescue dog. Luca had never lived in a house until he came home with me as my very first dog in our brand new home. I thought leaving him with his favorite food and a few toys will keep him happy until I get home. A little naïve of me, I hear you ask?
Well, I came home to a complete nightmare. My best guess was that he had spent the morning watching “The Block” and then put all he had learned into action in the afternoon. While I was away for the day at work, Luca decided to be helpful and redecorate my entire house.
While I appreciated his loving gesture, I knew I had to get some help. With the help of Ian The Dog Trainer and online searches, I managed to get him more settled while I’m away. Now there’s no more loco behavior when he is left alone. Luca has now lost interest in interior design and now prefers to catch some Z’s when I’m away.
If you have similar issues with your pup going nuts when they are alone then read on for some wise tips.
Train your dog early on.
Do not leave your dog alone for 8+ hours at once, start with just 5 minutes. You need to ease them into being alone. Gradually increase their alone time. This teaches your dog that you will leave but you always come back.
Preventing Separation Anxiety
Each time you leave your dog behind, don’t make it a big deal of it. Don’t look back, hug them goodbye or look upset. And when you return, don’t run and hug your dog and act too excited (I know this is hard). Make leaving and coming back uneventful. Wait until your dog is calm and quiet before showering them with kisses.
Keep them occupied.
Make sure you leave your fur child plenty of toys to play with. Buy some hardy Treat puzzle toys and Kong toys (The KONG is a nontoxic, rubber toy with a hollow center) – you can fill these up with your dog’s favorite treats/fruits/kibble and freeze it. Dog’s love to work for their meals, these tricks will keep them occupied for hours. Brain teasing toys are a great way to create mental stimulation during their time alone. You can also leave on the TV or radio, so they don’t get lonely.
Before you leave your dog for longer periods, try to make time to take your dog for a walk or a game of tug. A tired dog is a happy dog and if your dog is tired and happy, he will not have the time or energy to wreck your house.
You can think of bringing in a dog walker a couple of times per week if it’s in the budget for some true fun and adventure while you are gone.
Many groomers are also used to visiting their precious pooch clients while the owners at work. This is a win-win for everyone; your dog gets to be pampered and you come home to a fabulously clean dog that smells delicious.