It can be hard to leave your dog at home alone. Here are five practical solutions that will help you and your best friend feel better while you’re away.
Many of us have been working from home over the last several months, so what happens when you do have to go out and leave your dog alone? Do you feel guilty or wonder what he’s getting up to? If so, try these five tips.
1. Keep him busy
Dogs are intelligent animals that require stimulation to keep their minds occupied. To prevent your dog from getting bored and going through the trash, try one or more of the following suggestions:
- Play soft and relaxing classical music
- Leave the TV on
- Open your curtains and blinds so he can see outside
- Place interactive toys around the house for him to play with
If you have the space, you may also consider getting another pet to keep him company. Having a second dog or a cat around can make a world of difference for a pup who spends a lot of time home alone.
2. Tire him out
Make time in your schedule to exercise Fido before you leave him alone. Tiring him out will prevent him from feeling “cooped up” after your departure. Simple outdoor games like fetch are a great way to help him release energy and prevent him from getting into trouble while he’s unsupervised.
3. Create a safe space
To prevent separation anxiety, consider confining your dog in a crate or room while you’re out. Ensure he has a comfy bed in the space and a safe toy. Over time and with positive reinforcement, he’ll come to see this as a safe space. It will make him feel more comfortable, and will reduce any anxious behaviours. To ensure he sees this as a positive space, give him a treat when he settles down. Whether you let your dog wander the house, or confine him, remember to leave him a bowl of fresh water before you go.
4. Use a key phrase
Dogs are creatures of habit and love routine. Just before you leave, tell your dog
“I’ll be back soon”, “Take care of the house” or some other short, easy phrase. Your dog will come to understand that this part of his “home alone” routine means you will be returning so he doesn’t have to worry. To condition him, start with very short periods away, and increase over time.
5. Use a dog monitor
Want to see what you dog is doing when he’s home alone? Thanks to technology, you can! Install a dog monitor that connects to your phone so you can check in periodically. This will give you peace of mind, and alert you if there’s any reason why you should go home.