November 26


Keeping Your Dog Happy When He Is Left Alone

dogs prefer not to be left alone

Dogs are pack animals and they don’t like being left alone. Unfortunately, people are spending less and less time at home. It is part of our responsibility as dog owners to make our dog as comfortable and relaxed as possible when we are not there. Dogs left by themselves may experience loneliness, boredom and even separation anxiety.

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when to bring your new dog home

If you are getting a new dog, it is not really fair to pick him up from the shelter or breeder on Sunday and then go off to work on Monday. Try to time your new acquisition with the start of a holiday period. Or, at worst, a long weekend. You need some time to start the training process.

Conditioning Your Dog To Be Left Alone

Teach your new dog or puppy that he is not going to be left alone for ever. Start by leaving him for a short time - maybe half an hour. When you come back take him outside for a while and give him chance to use the potty area. Gradually increase the time he is left alone. Each time you leave and come back, follow the same routine. Remember, puppies and younger dogs have smaller bladders and can’t be safely left for long periods. A rule of thumb is that for every month of age they can hold their pee for one hour.

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avoid punishment

If you come home and find your dog has urinated or maybe destroyed something, avoid punishment. He will not associate the punishment with something he did during the day. All it does is vent your anger, with no positive benefit.

Leave Some Toys

Leave your dog some toys to play with while you are away. To avoid boredom, it is a good idea to have a selection of toys which you can rotate. A puzzle toy with hidden food such as a Kong is ideal. Some owners leave their dog with a bone to chew. Leaving something with the owner’s scent is also good. You need to choose something that you wouldn’t mind losing if he does go a bit too far. Your dog could find the sound of a radio soothing and it will help mask outside sounds

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Exercise Before You leave

Before you leave each day, take your dog for a long walk or engage in some other form of exercise. When you leave he should be tired.

Create a Safe Space.

Your dog will need somewhere within your home where he feels completely safe. Your dog’s ancestors often lived in dens and he will still have the instinct to curl up in a small space. You could use a crate or reserve a cupboard for this purpose. Make it comfortable with a mattress or blanket.

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Create A Routine

Dogs love routine. They will come to accept that spending time by themselves is normal and not a big deal. When you leave or return don’t make too much fuss. Maybe just a pat and a soft “goodbye” and “hello”. They know that when you come home they will be taken outside for potty. They will be fed and maybe taken for a walk. All is well with the world.

About the author 

Stan Jones

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