During the pandemic, we had plenty of time to spend with our lovely dogs at home. They had your company throughout the day. But now that the city is resuming to ‘normal’ lifestyle, how can you train your dogs to be alone at home?
Canines are usually social beings in nature. Being alone without their master can be stressful or frustrating to them. Experts call it separation anxiety in dogs. It could be triggered only when they do not have any human company. It could grow into a complex condition in them if we ignore to help your dogs. You do not have a cure as this is not a mental disorder but you can help your furry friend manage it.
Just like how you prepare them for potty training and feeding, it is advised to train your dog to stay at home alone when you are not around. Oscar Daisy suggests you few simple steps to teach your dogs to cope while you are not available.
Stick to a routine:
Training your dog with a routine will help you in long run. Stick to certain habits like mealtime and exercise time for your dogs. Also, make sure to merge your working hours as their timings to sleep, to play with the toys, and to patiently guard the house. When the schedules are easier to predict for your puppy, they’re more likely to be calm.
Give your dog his own safe space:
A method to make your dog feel comfortable is by providing her/ him with a place to sleep and to rest at home. It could be a crate or a small bed where they could retreat. Try to leave your dog alone at that place for at least 30 minutes every day and gradually increase the time. They will start adjusting to being alone, as you will eventually come back. Please note that they cannot be encouraged to sleep on the bed with you. Experts say that making them non-detachable from us while we are at home will lead to separation anxiety as you leave. They might whine and bark but be determined in making your dog stay at his place.
Keep your arrivals and departure casual:
Unlike humans, dogs do not need a welcome address. Be calm and do not pamper them with too much attention. Normalize the habit of entering your house and ignoring him before spending time with your dogs. They will slowly adapt to the concept of personal space and it will help them relax. Also, please refrain from showing all of your anger or frustration at your dog. That could frighten and give them a shock.
Teach them to act at commands:
Train them with commands like ‘sit down’ or ‘stay’ as you move away. Return and reward them with treats. Start doing this right away from day one. Eventually, you will be able to see your dog stay put while you move further away. If your dog reacts negatively, do not punish them. It will not help in building their behavior. Also, you need to be patient throughout the process. They cannot learn in a day, so give them the time.
Make your dog perform exercises and leave:
Some dog parents tend to take their dogs for a walk or a long run before they leave for work. This will completely keep their fitness on track but also tired enough to spend their alone time, resting. We cannot expect them to be quiet and calm while we are gone but, if they are tired, they will surely take off time and rest till you are back home.
Finally, please seek professional help if you find your dog in discomfort and worry. It could be mild or severe separation anxiety. As much as you love your dear puppy, it is necessary to make sure they are at peace. Also, the key to keeping your dog happy while you are gone is to not punish them for their behavior. They are acting out of distress so be more considerate. Consult your veterinarian or your dog trainer for more suggestions.