This week's blog is written by our guest blogger Gavin Mulligan from BusterBox.
The arrival of a puppy in the home is a joyous experience. Your new pack member will bring happiness, laughter and magic into your home.
They’ll also bring a lot of work: toilet training, house rules–you know the drill.
When we combine the work and the play that comes from forging a beautiful bond, you’re looking at spending lots of time together.
However, there is an important situation that we can often neglect to prepare for: leaving your dog alone for the first time. This situation can seem daunting and it’s only natural for us dog parents to feel a pang of guilt at the thought of leaving our furry friend alone.
But this is a crucial aspect of being a dog parent. By teaching your pup how to enjoy being alone, you’ll remove the burden of separation anxiety that can build up; this is beneficial to both of you and empowers you to go about your business when called upon with peace of mind.
So, in this post, we’re going to look at the top tips for leaving your dog home alone for the first time.
Factors To Consider When Leaving Your Dog Home Alone
Before we go into those tips, let’s see what we need to consider when leaving our furry friend home alone.
It’s important to try and keep the time to a minimum when possible. The reason for this is that even well-adjusted dogs can become bored, anxious and even distressed if left home alone for too long.
An adult dog can be left home alone longer than a puppy; this is because a puppy is not used to alone time and due to the fact they need to pee more regularly!
So, every time you must leave your pup alone, let them relieve their small bladder right before you leave and straight away once you’re back.
Now let’s take a look at how we can train our pups to handle being alone.
How To Train Your Dog To Be Alone
1/ Create An Alone Zone For Your Dog
The first thing you want to do is to create a space where your dog feels safe and comfortable. This could be a playpen, a kennel, their crate or any other area where you want your pup to stay while you’re gone.
Once you’ve picked your spot, start creating positive associations with this space for your dog by leaving treats or putting special toys in there.
2/ Training To Get Them Comfortable Alone
With your safe space established, it’s time to prepare your pup for some alone time.
Follow these steps:
1. Leave the puppy alone in space with a toy.
2. Return immediately and give them a reward.
3. Repeat the process, gradually increasing the time you wait until returning back.
Over time your dog will become more relaxed when you leave suddenly, as well as more comfortable in their safe zone.
3/ Tire Them Out
Dogs have lots of energy. If that energy isn’t utilised then destructive behaviours can emerge from boredom or loneliness.
So, try and expend this energy before you leave them alone.
A long walk or some games around the house will ensure your dog is content and tired–meaning your dog may sleep peacefully through your absence!
4/ Give Them Background Noise
An easy way to reduce your dogs loneliness is to leave on some background noise while you’re away.
Whether it’s the TV, radio or music, background noise can put your dog at ease by easing their loneliness and masking any distressing noises that may occur such as loud traffic, fireworks etc.
Be careful to remember to make whatever noise you pick soothing, the last thing your nervous pup needs is distressing music blaring while their protector is gone!
5/ Install A Home Camera
Even when following these tips, it’s entirely understandable to be apprehensive and guilty about leaving your dog home alone.
This is why you should install a home camera to put your mind at ease.
At BusterBox we offer a free TAPO camera to all of our new sign-ups.
The camera features include:
1080p HD image quality
Two-way audio to hear and speak with your dog
The ability to see our dogs allows us to go about our business confidently, knowing we can react accordingly if we see they’re uncomfortable.
The two-way audio also means not only can we hear how our pup is getting on, we can also soothe them with our voice if needed.
After following all of the above tips, you’re giving both you and your dog adequate preparation for any periods of separation ahead.
Once you return, make sure to give your furry friend the praise and love they deserve. Go for a walk, play with a toy, or give them a belly rub. All of the above will help create more positive associations for them as they realise that being alone isn’t so bad after all and that they know they always have
their loving dog pawrents return to look forward to.