Helping Your Dog Learn to Be Alone

As much as you would love to spend all day every day playing with your dog and giving it your full attention, that’s not a realistic scenario. Chances are, you’ve got work, family, friends, and other obligations that take you away for at least part of the day. That means that your dog will have to get used to spending some time alone – but that can be a good thing! They need to know how to entertain themselves when they don’t have your full attention.

However, many people worry about the trouble their furry friend may get into while they’re not home. No one wants to hear from a neighbor that their dog was barking incessantly, or come home to find their favorite shoes (or couch or room) were destroyed. Here are a few ways that you can make the adjustment a little easier:

Create a safe environment. Whether you crate-train your dog or start out by confining them to a single room or small area, make sure there isn’t anything dangerous they can get into. Provide them with the comforts they need such as their blanket or bed, some toys, and food and water. Avoid having them sleep in your room at night so they get used to sleeping by themselves and more comfortable being alone, even though you’re nearby in another room.

Start slowly. Begin by leaving them for 5 or 10 minutes by themselves, then come back and offer praise and positive attention. Gradually increase the time you spend apart until they’re able to spend a few hours by themselves without getting into major trouble. Don’t give in to their whining or they’ll associate that with getting you to return.

Provide stimulation. Part of the reason many dogs get into trouble is because they’re bored. Make sure your dog has some chew toys or food-releasing puzzle toys to play with. They can keep themselves entertained gnawing away on approved objects or trying to figure out how to get to the treat inside. It can also be helpful to play music or have the television on low while you’re gone so there is some background noise to drown out outside sounds.

Wear them out. Before you go, take your dog out for a walk, run, or quick game of catch or tug-of-war. Let them burn off some of their energy so they’re ready to lay down and relax when you go. Also make sure they’ve gone to the bathroom so there’s less chance for accidents.

Stay calm. When you do come home, don’t immediately play with your pup and get them riled up. Remain calm, put down your things, then greet them with some love and attention. No matter how much you missed them (or they missed you), avoid treating your reunion like a big production or this could contribute to separation anxiety in the future.

If you know that you’ll be gone all day or for a couple days with just someone coming to check in on your dog every few hours, rather than leaving them home alone, consider boarding them instead. Lake Wylie Pet Resort offers a comfortable home-away-from-home for your dog where they’ll get plenty of exercise, activity, and attention, but also have time to relax on their own. You can rest easier knowing they’re in good hands and not causing trouble while you’re gone. Contact us today to schedule your dog’s stay or for more information.