Home Alone - Dog Edition
Have you introduced a new puppy into the family? Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?
Don’t let a social outing become a stressful situation. Here’s how to make your dog comfortable in your absence.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a puppy, an older dog, or a rescue dog from a pound, you may find that separation anxiety can rear its ugly head at any time. Fortunately, you can begin training immediately, helping them to be less anxious when you leave the house.
STEP 1: LEAVE THE ROOM
Make sure your dog has everything they need to be comfortable. Include a crate or bed, a safe toy, and water. Leave the room while they are distracted with their toy, staying away for at least a few minutes and increasing it over time. Return only when there is no crying or whining, offering praise before leaving again.
STEP 2: KEEP A ROUTINE
If you routinely leave the house at a particular time, then make sure everything else in your dog’s life is also to a schedule. Feed them at the same time, and include walks and fun around the same time as well. Your dog may feel more secure when they know what usually happens in their day.
STEP 3: ACT NORMAL
Your dog will most likely know you’re about to leave, but don’t make it a big deal. Don’t give them huge amounts of attention or create too much chaos in your haste to go. Instead, make it seem like any other time you are at home.
STEP 4: USE TREATS
When you are leaving home, you may find that giving them a treat can have them looking forward to the time you go while distracting them momentarily as well.
STEP 5: EXERCISE
If you want your home to be as you left it upon returning, then exercise and play with your dog to tire them out before you leave them on their own. Because they will have used up a lot of energy, they may be more likely to rest, as opposed to getting into mischief!
While it’s crucial not to leave your dog home alone for too long, you may like to consider training them to be okay without you by their side at every waking moment. Consult your local vet if you have any questions or concerns regarding separation anxiety in dogs.