As the summer comes to an end, so do our work-free days. Kids head back to school, and teachers go back to work. For some, these regimented days are ones to look forward to. For our pets – not so much. Leaving your dog home alone is most likely number one on the “list of things that cause dog-parent guilt,” but also something that is inevitably unavoidable. Although it can be challenging, teaching your dog early that being left home alone is not a big deal can prevent them from developing separation anxiety.
To figure out the best solutions for leaving your fur-baby home for the day, we must first consider A) How long is too long? B) What can happen if your dog is left home alone for the first time? And C) How does their behavior change? Your dog’s age plays the most significant factor in determining how long they should be left alone. According to Tractive, puppies should have a 2-hour a day limit for being alone, adult dogs over 18 months can be left alone for 4-6 hours a day, and elderly dogs can be left alone for 2-6 hours a day. Factors that contribute to these findings are comfortability of being alone, training, and health issues.
Before that first day back to school or work, dog parents should have a plan that will make them feel less alone throughout the day. Pets a Go Go’s suggested solutions for dogs that will be left home alone include:
Properly train your dog to be alone. Gradually increasing your dog’s alone time while you’re still around is a great way to ease them into staying home alone. Provide your pup positive reinforcement if they do not whine while alone.
Tire out your dog before leaving them home alone. Early morning walks or letting them out in the yard for a few minutes will do the trick. By tiring your dog out, they will hopefully fall asleep right afterward and allow for some time to pass where they’re home alone and don’t even realize it!
Avoid giving your dog free rein when home alone. Leaving your puppy in a place where they feel comfortable, rather than allowing them to roam the house freely, eases both their anxiety and yours. Your pet will be calm knowing they are in a familiar environment, and you don’t have to worry about coming home to an anxious pet!
Keep your dog busy with mentally stimulating toys and fun tasks. To avoid boredom and unwanted behaviors such as biting and peeing, leaving your dog with items such as treat-dispensing toys, self-fetch devices, or textured rubber mats should keep them occupied.
Leave them with a pet care professional. Finding a doggy daycare center you trust is a great way to ensure that your pup is in good hands while your family is out of the house. Allowing your dog to play in these environments at least once or twice a week is a great way to keep them active, get them out of the house for a little while, and work on their social skills with other dogs and people.
It is always important to note that only you know what is best for your dog. Not every solution works across the board. Please work with your dog in the best way you can begin easing them into this new phase. Please visit our website to learn more about Pet’s a Go Go’s doggy daycare services.