Are you starting back to work or school? Are you worried about your dog having separation anxiety? After spending much time together this past year, the transition to going back to school and work results in your dog being left alone a lot more. Some dogs handle these changes fine, but for others, it can be scary. Here are some tips to help with the transition for your pet and you!
Use a Safe Confinement Area
Start the process by teaching your dog to be alone while you are home. Use a safe confinement area such as a crate or exercise pen as a place for them to relax. You can also limit your dog to a small area using baby gates. One way to help your dog associate their particular space with good things, feed them inside of it. Get special toys they only get to play with when they are in their confined space. Once our dog is happy entering their area independently, they are ready to start learning to be alone.
Teaching Alone Time
Start by putting your dog in a confined area with a chew toy and then quietly walk out of the room. Return immediately and reward your dog with a treat and praise. Repeat the process, increasing the amount of time you leave your dog alone each time. As the time increases, reward your dog with praise and treats for being quiet and calm. Try not to let your dog out while they are whining, or they will learn that whining decreases the time they are left alone, and it earns your attention. Once your dog is housebroken and no longer chews on things that aren’t theirs, you can give them access to the whole house while you are away.
Create Happy Associations
When you leave your dog alone in the house, give them something constructive to do. It teaches them to be happy when they are on their own. A great activity is chewing on a chew toy that is stuffed with food. The food coming out will reinforce the chewing behavior, and they will love to chew on their toys rather than your baseboards. Other items that you could use are edible chews like yak milk chew or bully stick, leaving food around the house, or a treat-releasing puzzle toy. Another great option is leaving the TV or radio on to provide noise for them. The noise can cover up sounds that might distress your dog.
Look for Help
If you must be away from your dog for an extended amount of time, consider finding a dog walker or pet sitter to check on your dog during the day. Having someone come and check on your dog is an excellent way for them to get some exercise and playtime during the day. Another option is to drop your dog off at doggie daycare, where they can enjoy interaction with both dogs and people. Your dog will enjoy supervised playtime and come home tired and happy.
Cascade Kennels is an excellent choice for doggie daycare. We have over 3,000 square feet of indoor space for dogs to run and play and over 1,700 square feet of secure, outdoor play space for them to sunbathe or take a dip in our kiddie pool. All playgroups are continuously supervised, and good behavior and manners are strongly encouraged. Contact us to learn more!