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Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. February 8, 2017
Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely

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Have you ever stopped to think about how your dog feels when you leave? Some dogs take it easy, but others bark non-stop or cry for hours. This kind of attitude when left alone is known as separation anxiety.

All kinds of dogs can suffer separation anxiety regardless of age or breed, although a difficult past or an early age can make this problem worse: it is more common among puppies and adopted dogs. However, adult happy dogs can also suffer from separation anxiety if they aren't taught how to manage being alone.

In this AnimalWised article we will share some tips to leave your dog home alone safely and without suffering. Read on and take note!

You may also be interested in: Tips to Train a Mixed-Breed Dog

Leaving a puppy home alone: step by step guide

Teaching a dog to be alone at home is very important. If your puppy learns to be without you from the beginning, it will not suffer so much every time you go out and you will reduce the chances of it suffering from separation anxiety.

We will start this process at home. The puppy dog needs to learn that there is a time for everything: times for playing, times for cuddling, and times when you can't pay attention to it. As always, we will teach a puppy to be alone gradually:

  • To start with, you must be clear that dogs appreciate routine and constancy. If you have a definite time for walking, playing and eating, the puppy will understand more easily that sometimes it must be alone.
  • The first step will be to transit through the home, where the puppy can see you but without paying attention to it. Do this for short periods, to do whatever task you need to get done. It is quite possible that the puppy dog will try to claim your attention: do not scold it, just ignore it. There will come a time when it will get tired and assume that now is not the time. Later, you can look for your pet and give affection.
  • Try to be in different rooms. Stay a while in a room and then return. Make the lapses of time slowly increase. Your dog will understand that you are there but that you have more things to do.
  • Then, do the same for a few days coming in and out of the house for short periods until your dog understands that sometimes you leave but that you always come back.

Remember that these points are very important, because without realizing we generate in our puppy dog a dependence on us. As a puppy, every thing is affection, petting, games and 24/7 attention. You have to understand that your dog does not understand that there is such as thing as work and free time.

Establish rules from the start so your puppy dog knows what to expect. Part of the dog's anxiety is because it does not understand why you go and leave it alone. If we could read a dog's mind in that situation for sure we would see questions like "have you forgotten me?" or "will my human return?"

Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely - Leaving a puppy home alone: step by step guide

Leaving an adult dog home alone: step by step guide

Shelter dogs or those who have been adopted in adulthood often suffer greatly when left home alone. The bottom line will be to gain the dog's trust through positive reinforcement and daily care, which we must embed in a routine. Here are some tips to make an adult dog understand they need to stay home alone:

  • As we would with a puppy dog, we must begin to leave it alone for short periods of time while we are also in the house. Changing rooms or taking time to read or watch TV without paying too much attention to the dog are some of the first steps.
  • Progressively, you must start leaving your dog alone for more time, either while you are in another room or shopping at the supermarket. Try to make it just a short time at first and then gradually increase the period.
  • Plan your dog's daily routine including walks, meals and play time. If you are always there, showing confidence in its usual routine, your dog will better accept that sometimes you leave it alone.
Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely - Leaving an adult dog home alone: step by step guide

Tips to leave a dog home alone

  • No greetings or farewells. If your dog relates certain words or gestures to you leaving, it will get tense beforehand.
  • Organize your dog's schedule before you leave. It will be essential that you leave home after the dog has walked, exercised and fed: then, it will be satisfied and tired and it will probably just go to sleep. Any unmet needs can make it feel uncomfortable, sad and abandoned.
  • Create a shelter or a special bed where it can feel protected and comfortable. Although it sounds simple, an intimate and protected place will make your dog feel better.
  • You can heat its blanket with the dryer before or use a hot water bottle. That extra heat will be very pleasant and comforting.
  • Consider adopting a second dog. The truth is that a pair of dogs can love each other a lot and keep each other company, relieving stress. Go to the shelter with your dog to see if it befriends another.
Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely - Tips to leave a dog home alone

Toys to leave your dog home alone

In the same way that you look for stimuli to not get bored, like your smartphone, a book, a sport or browsing AnimalWised, your dog also needs to be distracted. Luckily, there are many different toys for dogs in the market.

See what your pet enjoys, what entertains it for more time. Knowing your dog's preferences will give you a great reference point to choose the best toy for your pet - with sound, made of cloth, balls... You can consider one of the many toys for puppies or even make a homemade bone.

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, a Kong will be the best choice to teach them to be home alone safely and without worrying. This toy stimulates the dog's curiosity and intelligence, so it can entertain itself for a long time trying to get the food from inside the Kong. You can fill it with pâté, with dry feed or treats. Moreover, the toy is completely safe, so you will not have to worry leaving it with the dog: there is no risk of any kind.

Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely - Toys to leave your dog home alone

Do you have any tips to leave a dog home alone safely? Tell us in the comments section!

If you want to read similar articles to Tips to Leave my Dog Home Alone Safely, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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Sandra
My dog sleeps in a cage at night and is perfectly happy.
Would this be a good idea to put him in cage for short periods of time whilst I go out. He is 2 years old and I have another one of 5 who is used to being by herself sometimes. Would I need to put her in her cage as well

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