Leaving your dog unattended: for how long and what to keep in mind?
Of course you enjoy spending a lot of time with your dog, but you can’t stay at home all the time. It is OK to leave your dog on its own every now and then, but do make sure you build it up gradually. Below a couple of recommendations.
A safe home
Make sure your home is completely dog-friendly. This is important when you’re at home as well, but at least then you can keep an eye on it. When you’re not at home and can’t watch your dog, it is even more important that no dangerous objects are within its reach, no poisonous plants are around and that your dog is unable to get to places it isn’t supposed to get to.
When you want to leave your pup at home unattended for a while, it is important to build it up gradually. Your dog needs to learn that you will always return after some time. If you don’t allow it to adapt gradually, odds are your dog will start tearing up the place or yelping or barking the whole time you’re gone. You will have a very stressed-out and unhappy dog on your hands. However, building it up gradually will allow you to leave your dog at home unattended for a couple of hours a day, and go about your activities away from home without having to worry about it.
Roadmap for leaving your dog unattended
Step 1 – Make sure the first time is after a walk, when your dog is tired.
Step 2 – Put it in its trusted spot.
Step 3 – Give it a treat and leave without any elaborate goodbyes.
Step 4 – Come back after a couple of minutes.
Step 5 – Open the door when your dog is not yelping or barking and greet it enthusiastically. This rewards good behaviour. Ignore loud barking and yelping.
Repeat until your dog eases into dealing with your absence and stay away for a couple of minutes longer every time until your dog feels comfortable unattended for a couple of hours.
In terms of accommodation for your dog, keep in mind that it must have its own trusted spot where it can rest and feels safe, when you are away as well.
Before leaving your dog unattended, teach it the difference between good and bad behaviour, so it knows how to conduct itself when you are away. Barking requires special attention because it can seriously disrupt the lives of others. And of course you want your dog to be comfortable when you away for your own peace of mind as well.