We know how difficult it is to leave your dog alone at home while you go to work, yet it seems inevitable for those people who lead busy working lives. But how can you get him used to this and overcome his feeling of abandonment? How do you avoid any damage to your home and accidents? What is the most time that you can leave your dog on her own? By reading this article you will know a little more about how best you can get away with leaving your dog alone at home.
How do you get your dog used to being alone at home?
In order for this tricky first time you leave him to go as well as possible, you must train him to give him the tools to overcome his loneliness. We advise you to gradually get him used to it by starting with very short absences, such as walking out for a few minutes, preferably within his line of sight, then gradually lengthening the time you spend away from him. The idea is to get him used to it from an early age, and as quickly as possible so as to avoid any repercussions the day you have to leave your dog alone for a long period of time. This ‘preparation phase’ is very important because loneliness can be a source of stress and anxiety for any dog who hasn’t learned to be alone.
The layout of your home must also be adapted relieve any stress that might be caused by this first moment of separation. Indeed, your dog’s personal space, such as for example his basket, needs to be in a calm room, without too much empty space surrounding him which could cause him more stress. Also, do not leave fragile objects or objects of any value within your dog’s reach; you don’t want to come back to see a breakage all over the floor! A flat or a house with a space that’s adapted to your dog will help him in being alone stress-free.
A dog cannot stay home alone without something to play with! Plan activities to keep her occupied during your absence. You can buy or make toys yourself that will occupy his or her mind or you could hide food around the house, helping you dog to have fun in the process. For example, you can give him a hollow ball that releases kibble when the dog plays with it. When he has a toy at his disposal, he’ll find that time whizzes by during your absence. However, to keep up his interest, we strongly recommended varying them from one week to another. However, these toys shouldn’t be associated with their master’s or mistress’ absence, to avoid this a good idea would be to give him the toy whilst still at home and then a little later giving it to your dog as you’re about to go out.
Before leaving home and leaving your dog alone, it is important to establish a few ground rules. At least 30 minutes before you leave, plan for a stroll during which she’ll be able to ‘do her business’, which will reduce the potential for accidents! In order not to stress your dog when you leave, get your coat and your keys ready well in advance and at irregular intervals: the time you leave shouldn’t become too ritualised, and you mustn’t give your intentions away. In addition, you shouldn’t pamper him too much, you can “ignore” him without feeling that you’re giving the game away. And finally, make sure your pet sees you when you leave; you shouldn’t leave your home secretly, as it could scare him rather than reassure him.
How long does it take before you can leave your dog alone?
Although there is no ideal time to leave your dog alone at home, it is strongly advisable to leave him alone for as little time as possible; the general consensus is that this shouldn’t exceed 4 to 6 hours. The extent to which your dog feels lonely will vary according to many criteria such as his age and his emotional state. Should you be forced to leave your dog alone for a long time in a flat or house and it really isn’t possible for you to go home during your lunch break, you will have to give him a lot of TLC and a long walk in the evening. Play with him and share moments of tenderness together.
If you do not have time to return for lunch, you can always arrange for a member of your family or a friend who your dog knows well to drop by and keep him company.
All these things can help overcome your dog’s feelings of loneliness, and these steps are essential to ensure home harmony and his comfort. If you establish certain habits such as those mentioned above, your dog will feel less concerned or even frightened by all these changes and will be less stressed when you leave the family home.
What to do if there’s any damage when you return home?
Dogs, unlike humans, have a very vivid but a very short memory. They quickly forget what they do for a whole day. This is why it is a waste of your time to punish a dog for anything he might have done when alone. The punishment would be felt by the dog to be unjust and have repercussions on your return. You don’t want him behaving fearfully or showing signs of stress at the end of each day when you return home.
Punishment is only instructive if carried out at the same moment as the reason for the punishment has occurred. This helps to avoid the stress of punishment. If you realize your dog has caused an accident during your absence you can put him alone in a room while cleaning up.
Our treats and dental sticks to relax your dog and help reduce loneliness
True Leaf has developed a formula specifically designed for preoccupied and anxious dogs: True Hemp Calming. This formula has been developed to reduce the stress of dogs which are sensitive to the sounds and moods of their masters and dogs who are anxious about separation.
Our True Hemp Calming treats and sticks contain hemp leaves and seeds that are a major source of Omega 3 and 6. They also contain green tea which is known for its soothing natural benefits, not only for humans but also for dogs! Chamomile and melissa, both ingredients in this formulation, are plants with soothing properties that have sedative and anxiolytic properties and are therefore used in veterinary medicine. Chamomile also improves a dog’s mood and behaviour.
Behavioural problems in dogs are as important as tangible, physical problems: stress and anxiety can trigger physical reactions such as gastrointestinal, dermatological and urinary disorders.
At True Leaf we know how difficult it is to leave your pet home alone, especially when she’s displaying signs of stress and discomfort, which is why we have developed dental sticks and hemp treats that don’t include cereals to help bring about well-being and the good things your pet enjoys.
If you want more information about this please do not hesitate to contact us!