Dogs are pack animals – they’re naturally social. And of course, we humans are pretty attached to our pups. Leaving them at home alone can be hard for the both of you, but with patience and a few clever tactics, it’s definitely doable. Here are our top five tips to make the transition smooth sailing.
1. Start slow.
Taking time to get used to it is a far better experience (for both of you!) than going cold turkey. Start by leaving them for 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour, and keep building up. When you leave, give your dog a treat – but not when you come home. And avoid making a big deal of leaving. Just a small pat goodbye is enough.
2. Create a safe space.
The bigger the space your dog has to play with, the more they feel like they need to protect. A smaller patch with a den for them to sleep in and room to run around is often less stressful than a whole backyard – so we recommend fencing off a section if you can. It can also be calming to leave an old shirt of yours in your dog’s bed so you never seem too far away.
3. Keep an eye out.
Set up a camera so you can check on your pet while you’re away and make sure they’re staying out of trouble. This is great for giving you peace of mind, too!
Decent daily exercise before leaving your dog encourages them to sleep while you’re away. And even better, they might drop off before you’ve left – making for an easy exit. Without exercise, your dog will have loads of energy to burn and start finding creative ways to stay busy… which could mean coming home to holes where there shouldn’t be.
5. Mental stimulation.
Leaving a stuffable toy or hiding treats around their space to sniff out keeps them busy. Before they know it, you’re home again and ready to give them a whole lot of love.