Have you had issues leaving your prized pooch home alone? Unlike Mcauley Culkin, they may not have all the resources to deal with your absence. Excessive barking and other bad behaviour is a common sign your dog is missing you and the attention you bring them as a member of the family. In severe circumstances, your dog may even develop a form of separation anxiety
It’s essential you teach them from an early age how to thrive on their own, so you’re free to live your life. A dog should add to your lifestyle, not hold you back. So that raises the question - how do you keep your pet content when they’re left home alone? Here are our five best tips to ensure even the most stubborn dogs learn to survive without your constant presence.
Tip #1 - Don’t Leave Them For Too Long
The best way to get your dog comfortable alone is to slowly increase the time you leave them alone. When you’ve just welcomed a new puppy into the family, they will need more attention than their grown counterparts - much like a baby!
Puppies aren’t used to being on their own, without their mother or new owner. Fresh to the world, they need guidance. Try not to leave your puppy alone for more than two hours at a time. If you have no other option, consider getting a family member or neighbour to check-in throughout the day.
Adult dogs can be left alone for up to eight hours at a time. They’ll become accustomed to your routine and learn to sleep or entertain themselves. They still need to be fed and attention from their family, so try not to ever leave them alone for longer than this.
Tip #2 - Exercise Your Dog Before Leaving
Depending on your routine, get into the habit of exercising your pooch before leaving for the day.
It’s good for your health as well as theirs.
Make time to take them for a long walk, or an intense game of fetch out in the backyard. The goal is to satisfy your dog’s desire for activity, attention and also to tire them out. A tired dog is usually a happy dog! If your dog is fulfilled, tired and happy they’ll be more than comfortable resting by themselves without causing too much mischief.
Tip #3 - Train Your Dog From an Early Age
Never make a big fuss when you leave the house. Your dog should not learn to associate your departure as being a big deal. Start training your dog to be comfortable in your absence as soon as you get them. Here’s a well-documented training method used to prevent separation anxiety in pets of all breeds. Try implementing these steps today:
Tip #4 - Make Sure They’re Entertained
When you do have to leave, make sure your dog doesn’t get bored! Your playful pup will no doubt enjoy playing with a toy that challenges their senses and puzzle-solving abilities. Toys that let you put treats inside them are very stimulating for your dog and will keep them entertained for hours.
You can also try leaving your TV or radio on throughout the day to keep your dog company. Although you’re not there, the sound of voices and humans may be calming to them and provide some comfort or excitement throughout their day.
Tip #5 - Consider Using a Dog Walker or an Anti-Bark Collar
If your dog still plays up when left alone, even after implementing these tips, you may need to consider more direct steps. If your dog barks excessively, an anti-bark collar can be an effective tool to safely train your dog to remain calm in your absence.
Don’t have time to exercise or entertain your pup throughout the day? Consider bringing in a dog walker (paid or a helpful friend or family member) a few times a week to keep your dog active and entertained.
Looking to keep your dog’s barking under control? Dog Gear offers anti-bark training collars with free shipping and same-day dispatch. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips.