Dogs are very social animals and they would like nothing more than to be by your side 24/7. Dog owners who work full time often see no other alternative than leaving their dog at home alone for most of the day. We might imagine our dogs gleefully doing the Tom Cruise "Risky Business" slide when we shut the door behind us in the morning, but the more likely scenario is the dog experiencing some level of separation anxiety.
Fear and anxiety are closely related, so to reduce the risk of harm to your dog it’s worth considering these steps if your dog is going to be home alone:
- Walk your dog before leaving home
If you want a calm dog, before you leave the house make sure you schedule time for a brisk walk or a vigorous game of fetch in the back garden or nearby dog-friendly park. Having an anxious dog home alone is bad enough. Having a dog that is anxious and hyper is a recipe for disaster. Exercise helps calm your dog down in two ways. Physically, it tires your dog out, so he might be up for a nap while you’re away; and emotionally, exercise can level out your dog’s brain chemistry in the same way a good workout can leave humans exhilarated.
- Ask a friend to pop in
The best-case scenario would be you coming home for lunch and spending a little quality time to break up your dog’s day. But if your schedule or commute doesn’t allow that, then asking a friend or neighbour to pop in may be a solution. If you have someone close by with pets, this is a great time to encourage some neighbourly reciprocity, where you can arrange to let each other’s pets out when the other one isn’t home.
- More dog toys, less destruction
A bored dog left to his own devices may act out by chewing up furniture or clothing. Boredom can be as much of a cause for acting badly as separation anxiety. For this reason, it’s important to leave out your dog’s favourite toys and anything else you can think of that they can use to entertain themselves in your absence. Dog toys make great diversions. Aside from keeping him away from your possessions, you’ll provide a distraction for your dog during the day, so he won’t be as anxious about you being gone.
- Doggy daycare is a great option full-day or half-day
To keep your dog happy and healthy and to provide them with the socialisation skills they need, it is worth considering dropping them off at a fully licensed and professional doggy daycare centre a few days a week. The qualified team at Rags & Bert's will ensure your dog has plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and all the socialisation they need, helping you relax as you go about your busy day and giving you peace of mind your dog is being well looked after.