If there is one silver lining to the recent COVID-19 quarantine it’s all that extra the time we get to spend with our dogs. However, as more of us return to normal work schedules, those good times may be coming to a close. Our dog buddies need to relearn to live without us for much of the day. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you will be leaving a dog home alone as you return to work.
Leaving Your Dog At Home Alone
Leaving a puppy at home while at work will be stressful for both of you. If you’re wondering, “how long can a dog be left alone?”, it depends on a few factors including the dog’s breed and age. Puppies just can’t go for very long without a potty break (about one hour for every month of age) and some dog breeds are more of the clingy dog type than others. Dogs that can be left alone and fare a little better than others include breeds bull terriers, basset hounds, Chihuahuas, and pugs.
Dogs and Separation Anxiety
Dogs experience separation anxiety and their reactions can be destructive. If not secure in a kennel they can chew up furniture, shoes, and whatever else they have access to. While in their crate they may try to gnaw at the metal of their cages and this can damage their mouths and teeth. It’s important to know how to prepare for a puppy to be left alone. If you are concerned about leaving your dog alone all day, boarding and doggy daycare is a good solution. At The Barking Lot, we provide both of these services. How to train your dog to spend time alone is also something we can help with.
Tips to Help Your Dog be Alone
Like most things, it will take time and patience, but there are some simple ways to begin gradually adjusting your routine. The following are top dog tips to get your dog accustomed to spending the day alone.
Teach Departure Cues
We give our dogs cues all the time and they are especially attuned to our patterns before we leave the house. This could be grabbing keys or a coat, putting on shoes, et cetera. To relieve some of this anxiety, practice this routine without leaving so your pup grows used to it. Then, when you do actually leave, it won’t feel like such a big deal.
Act Like It’s No Big Deal
When you return from work, act like it’s no big deal that you were gone so long. Don’t rush in with the hugs, kisses, and “I missed you soooo much”. Enter the home, take off your coat or shoes first, then let them out of their kennel.
Occupy Their Minds (and Stomachs)
Many bad dog behaviors are the result of a bored dog. When you leave your dog at home in a crate, leave them with a puzzle toy filled with their favorite treats. This will occupy their mind for a while and they will start to associate your leaving with them getting a nice reward.
A dog with too much energy is not going to have a good time in a crate. Take them on a brisk walk before you leave and they will be more likely to nap while you’re gone.
When stay-at-home orders lift and you are back to your normal routine, you may need to think more seriously about how to control your dog’s anxiety. Always start by checking with your pet’s veterinarian for any physical signs of stress. If it’s primarily a problem of stress and anxiousness, working with pet professionals is the best way to start.
At The Barking Lot, we have a dedicated staff of pet professions to help ensure you and your pet’s needs are met. From a doggie daycare to grooming to training to overnight boarding, we have a full suite of dog-related services in a safe, healthy, and loving environment. All breeds are welcome! For pets with anxiety, we also offer excellent obedience classes, enriching daycare programs, and an extended vacation in comfortable boarding kennels. We can’t wait to meet you and your furry friend!