It would be amazing if we could take our dogs everywhere with us – to the movies, to job interviews, weddings and fancy restaurants. But alas, that’s not the world we live in and occasionally our fuzzy best friend has to stay home.
For your dog, spending time alone can be difficult. What if their human never comes back? Here are a few tips to help your dog cope with your temporary absence.
A bored dog will always find something to do and sometimes that something is destroying your couch cushions. Try giving your dog a toy that will keep him interested for long periods of time. We suggest a toy that combines treats and fun.
Keeping a consistent schedule will help your dog understand that if he waits till a certain time, his best friend will come home to him, take him outside and scratch his ears. Your absence becomes routine and since your behavior is predictable, there’s nothing to be nervous about, right? In addition to keeping a regular schedule, it’s also a good idea to make leaving feel normal. Don’t make a big deal out of goodbyes. Our dogs take many of their emotional cues from us. If you seem nervous about leaving him, he’ll be nervous about being left.
You can create a “comfort zone” for your dog by confining them to one room or an appropriately sized crate. Fill the space with toys, nice, cozy bedding and of course necessities like water. Let your dog know that good things happen when he’s in his sanctuary. Begin feeding your dog is this area, praise and snuggle him when he’s resting there and don’t forget the treats! This positive reinforcement will help your dog understand that this area is where he feels safe and happy. When you go out, put him in this nice safe place and he’ll assume good things are coming soon.
If you’ll be going out to work, or for some other extended period of time, consider taking your dog out for a vigorous play session. Run around the yard, play fetch or go for a nice walk. When you get back, let your pup take a nap and go about your business.
We hope that you an your pup get to spend every waking second together but if not, we hope these tips will help you both make the most of your time apart.
*As always, if you dog is injuring himself, others or exhibiting distressing symptoms of separation anxiety, you should see your veterinarian.