You can’t spend every minute with your dog – life gets in the way! Here are a few tips for leaving your dog alone.
Leaving our dogs home alone makes most dog lovers feel guilty. Whether you’re going out to pick up groceries, or meeting a friend for a drink, we can’t help our concern and guilty about our dogs being left home alone!
We wish we could stay with our dogs all the time, but that’s not the way life goes.
While you are hurting, your dog is hurting too. Many, many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when there owners leave them – even just for a short while!
Here are a few tips that can help lessen the anxiety your dog feels when left home alone.
Turn the TV on
Some dogs like hearing the sounds they usually hear when their humans are around. So if you’re one of those owners who think your dog prefers Disney Channelover Animal Planet while you’re away, go for it.
“I have this one guy who always has (ESPN’s) SportsCenter on for his dog,” says Catherine Adamo, owner of Royal Oak Dog Walkers.
Don’t leave your dog home alone for too long
If your dog is not used to being home alone, it’s best to ease into it slowly. You can gradually increase your time away. Start with quick trips to the grocery store, then slowly add an hour to your trip, then another, then another.
“Like humans, dogs are able to adapt,” said Cesar Millan.
Most dog experts agree that you should not leave your adult dog alone for more than 8 to 10 hours, but some dogs (especially ones with small bladders) can’t last that long.
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Prepare your dog before you go
We can sometimes be so preoccupied that we forget to give our dogs enough exercise and a potty break before we leave.
Sandi Laird, animal care director at Operation Kindness, reminds owners that not every dog relieves themselves the minute they walk outside.If your dog has gone potty and had a walk, they’ll most likely lie on a spot that contains your scent and rest.
Keep temptations out of your dog’s reach
If your dog likes to chew on electrical wires, cover them up. If your pup likes getting into the garbage, keep the trash can hidden away or securely covered.
Make sure to put all medications and cleaning products out of reach.
“It’s helpful to have a selection of proper toys to keep your dog from getting too bored,” says product developer Gary Castelle.
Make sure you don’t transfer your anxiety to your dog
Dogs can feel if you’re unsure and nervous. If they sense that you are anxious, chances are they will feel anxious as well. If you want your dog to be calm, don’t act nervous yourself.
“If every time a human detaches from a dog he feels bad about it, how can the dog ever associate detaching with happiness?” Millan asks. “Your dog is sensitive to your energy and emotions.”
If necessary, confine your dog
There are high-anxiety dogs. These dogs usually feel more relaxed if they’re inside acrate or in a room enclosed by baby gates.
“Dogs like ends,” said Joel Silverman, host of TV series What Color Is Your Dog?
If your dog is inside his crate, make sure it’s for no longer than four to five hours at a time.
“People have all these negative feelings about crates, but many dogs prefer them,” insists Art Ortiz, DogFit Dallas owner and a mentee of Millan. “I call it ‘casa.’ It’s their house; it’s their zen pen.”