Having a dog as your companion can be one of the most rewarding experiences that you will have during your lifetime. You will have a best friend that is always there with completely unconditional love, lifting you up when you are down – and sharing in the joy of life when things are going great. However, as a dog owner, you will have certain responsibilities.
Your canine family member relies on you completely for attention, food and a healthy lifestyle – and dealing with any health issues that may arise. However, no matter how much we love our dogs there comes a time that we have to leave them alone at home. That is almost always when we have to leave for a day’s work – or see to life’s little necessities (such as the groceries or that much-loved dog treat from the neighborhood store).
However, there are ways that you can lessen the impact of canine alone time (and avoid that burden of guilt). Nothing is going to change the wagging tail and the cuddles when you do return home, those are a given – but, with a little effort, you will also have the reassurance that while you are away your dog is kept mentally and physically stimulated.
Here are just some of the ways that you can make sure that alone time is not spent simply pining for your company.
Firstly you can get your dog to become used to the fact that you will not always be there as a focus of attention. You can desensitize your canine companion by gradually increasing the time you spend away. Alternatively, if that is not feasible or you are not comfortable with that approach, then there is always the option of hiring a pet sitter. This will ensure that your dog is not starved for human companionship while you are away.
Try not to add to the stress of leaving. Simply don’t make a big fuss when you are about to leave. Try and limit the kisses and hugs – by limiting this sort of behavior you will be teaching your pet that your leaving is simply a part of the normal day – and no reason to become anxious. The same applies to when you arrive home – try and keep things calm.
There’s also the option of getting another pet. Dogs’ thrive in the company of other canines – the pack mentality is part of their genetic makeup. However, this approach is not foolproof. In certain circumstances, your current pet can transfer its anxiety to another new and impressionable canine – thus compounding the problem.
Boredom is another reason that your dog might be unsettled when they are at home. Try leaving the television on (in some regions there are even channels devoted to entertaining dogs while you are away). A puzzle toy is also a great purchase. Technology can also help – there are home cams these days that will not only allow you to watch your pet while you are away – but also interact with them (some even allow you to dispense pet treats remotely).
By taking some extra care and making an effort you will be able to reduce the anxiety that your pet feels when you are absent – which is good news for both you and the pet, after all that anxiety can go both ways.