How do you keep your pup happy when you're not around?
Leaving your dog home alone can be challenging! Dogs see us as members of their pack but it’s not always possible to spend all of our time with our dogs. So, how do you keep your pup happy when you’re not around?
Leaving Your Dog Home Alone: How long is too long?
For the well-being of your dog, you should not leave him alone too long. Adult dogs (over 18 months) can be left alone four to six hours a day, whereas for puppies two hours a day is the limit!
Dogs that are left home alone may develop bad behaviors such as:
- Scratching, biting or chewing on furniture and clothes
- Binge eating
- Getting loose
Furniture and clothes are replaceable, but if your dog gets lost there is much more at stake! A good way to feel safer when your dog is alone is to get your dog a Tractive GPS and be alerted in real-time if he attempts to escape.”
From the moment you get a dog, you should practice “Leave & Return”. Teach your pup that being home alone is OK, and that you will eventually return. Start with just a few minutes and gradually extend the length of time as your dog becomes more comfortable and as you trust your dog’s behaviour during your absence.
Leaving your dog home alone: Things to do beforehand
When you leave the house for work or leisure without your dog, you should:
- Don’t give your dog free rein: Especially in the beginning, try to leave your dog in an area where he is comfortable. Only when your dog gets into the habit of being left alone at home is when he can be on his own without any restriction.
- Tire out your dog: The best thing you can do before you leave your dog home alone is to give him some morning exercise. Start learning how to walk your dog so that it’s beneficial for both you and your dog. When you take your dog for a morning walk or exercise, it’s likely that your dog will pass out asleep right afterwards! This gives you the chance to leave the house without troubles.
Home Alone? Don’t forget this!
Make sure your dog has fun ways to occupy his time! A good way to keep your dog busy when he’s alone is to use food-dispensing toys instead of the classic food bowl. Some of these toys offer variable difficulty levels so you can make it a long-lasting project and keep your dog active and engaged during the time you’re away. In general, by leaving your dog small tasks and fun toys to play with when you’re not around you can avoid unwanted boredom behavior (like biting and peeing in inappropriate places). However, never leave your dog alone with a toy that could be chewed apart and swallowed.
When you’re back…
Dedicate some time to your pup and don’t be stingy with love and attention. How? Here’re just a few suggestions…
- Take your dog out for a walk
- Play fetch in the garden
- Plan a visit to a dog spa
And remember: Letting your dog stretch his legs after a day spent indoors is a great way to help him burn off some energy. On the other hand, don’t get him accustomed to receiving treats as you walk in. Your dog should know that “Leave & Return” means that there are moments during the day when he could be left alone.