Do You Need to Leave Your Dog Home Alone?
If you're like most dog owners, you need to leave your dog at home for a period of time now and then. Many of you have to leave them alone for several hours while you're at work.(I'm sure that "working" dog owners feel guilty about leaving their dogs for long periods of time.)
So have you ever wondered what your dog does while you're gone? Do you think they just sleep? Probably not! Tell tale evidence of their "not just sleeping" is often discovered when you come home.
What goes on?
- Neighbors complain about uncontrollable howling.
- A well trained dog relieves himself inappropriately throughout the house.
- The dog chews on and destroys things.
- The house is torn apart, items are strewn everywhere.
Many dogs have separation anxiety, which not only means they are lonely, but they are bored as well. Not only can they be destructive when you're gone, but when you're home:
- They often can't be away from you for any length of time - not even just on the other side of the door.
- When you return your dog still feels stressed and over excited and will often be "clingy".
- The dog will only sleep with you. (This is not always a bad thing)
- The dog's anxiety about you leaving increases over a period of time.
What can you do for your dog?
- Go through your "leaving ritual" even when you're not leaving - such things as getting a jacket and car keys. As you do these things repeatedly and then don't really leave, you will help eliminate your dog's fear of your departure.
- Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. If possible, exercise before you leave, they will be tired and will sleep for a good period of time. You may need to increase exercise routines.
- You may need to crate your dog while you're gone. An alternative to crating would be to use gates to confine him in a room such as a kitchen or laundry room.
- Choose a room that has an open feeling and possibly a window.
- If you confine them in a room, make it pleasant and comfortable for your dog. He shouldn't feel like he's in solitary confinement.
- Make sure he has a comfortable place to sleep.
- Leave his favorite chew toys.
- Leave a bowl of water.
- You could leave the radio or TV playing - some owners even tape their own voices to soothe their dog.
- There are even doggie DVD's you can buy to entertain them.
- One of my dogs loves watching the hunting channel, that keeps him occupied for long periods of time.
- You may consider hiring a dog walker or even enrolling your dog in a doggie daycare.
Dog ownership is a big responsibility, but we all love our "best friends" and want them to be happy and comfortable. If we don't take care of their needs, they remain frustrated and we can become resentful.
Check out this video of a dog home alone - it could be worse!
**originally published 9/12/11
My dogs are my best friends and I really enjoy taking care of their daily needs. They are the reason I developed my line of Showoff Dog Clothing. Not only do they look great, but they are protected from the weather.
Check out my store and find the perfect jacket for your best friend.