We all love spending time with our dogs – but with busy lives, including the demands of work, time is a precious commodity. If you have a dog and go out to work during the day, it is, of course, preferable that your pet can stay somewhere where it has the opportunity to socialise; whether it be with other dogs or people. Despite our best endeavours, there may be times when you have to leave your dog home alone. Therefore some important considerations should be taken regarding how to make this experience positive and reduce any separation anxiety.
Providing for their essential needs
Ensure they have an environment to feel happy in which provides access to all of their fundamental needs. Here are some things to think about…
Tips to reduce separation anxiety
Establish a structure of socialisation – if you are going to be leaving your pet alone for any period within the day, it is essential that you first practice small periods of controlled separation at home by role-play. Start with room to room separation or in the garden. These small periods of separation should then be gradually increased in increments, until your dog is conditioned to accept that it is normal to be left for periods of time, making sure they have opportunities to interact with you in a calm and balanced manner outside of that. When leaving do not say goodbye or make a fuss of the fact that you are leaving, just leave discreetly. Provide your dog with something to engage with mentally such as a favourite chew toy. A raw bone or stuffed kong will help to keep your dog entertained while you are gone. This will help to build up a routine pattern which will keep your dog feeling appreciated, not alone.
Consider a crate/cage. – You do not typically need to lock your dog in a crate if you do trust them in your home during the day. A crate can provide a sense of having a safe haven. By providing access to an open crate with their bedding inside, your dog will begin to associate this new den-like environment with safety and security. They can choose this as an ideal place to sit and relax. Thereby removing the assumed responsibility and stress of the whole house to deal with.
Keep calm on departure and arrival – when you leave your dog alone. Try not to have frantic exits and returns. Keep the situation as calm as possible. This helps to stop your dog becoming over-excited or distressed