Does your heart sink every time you have to walk out the door and leave your dog alone at home? It can be heartbreaking but life must go on. We have to go to work, run errands, take the children to school, grocery shop – that translates into quite a bit of time away from home. Even going out for dinner and a movie can make us feel guilty for leaving our dog at home. It would be wonderful if we could take our dog with us everywhere we go but that is not always possible.
Some dogs are fine when left alone and sleep away the day while we are gone. Other dogs have a more difficult time being left alone. Is your dog unhappy about you leaving home each day? How can you tell? Some dogs leave plenty of signs that include destruction of furniture, garbage ransacked, shoes chewed up or defecation on the floor. Others suffer with separation anxiety, boredom and stress and show you with sadness in their eyes. Some dogs lick their fur or paws to calm themselves while others howl or bark while you are gone for the day. No doubt your neighbors can share their insight with you.
If you are experiencing any of these problems with your dog while you are away from home, then your dog could be anxious, stressed or flat-out bored. If you give your dog something fun to do and see during the day, then each day can be fun and satisfying. Here are some suggestions that will make a difference in both your lives:
1. Look for doggy day care places in your area – make sure the place is kept clean and ask about the day’s schedule for the dogs.
2. Hiring a dog walker may make sense for you especially if your dog is very active and likes to walk.
3. Look for “puzzle” toys that you are able to fill with treats before leaving home that your dog must find.
4. If possible, go for a walk in the morning before you leave home. This will tire your dog out making it easier for you to head out the door knowing your dog has been exercised.
5. There are some amazing “Dog Sitter” DVD’s that can be played on your television that are really entertaining for dogs. You can actually program the DVD to play specific footage that your dog enjoys watching. The video shows ducks swimming in water, raccoons and squirrels scurrying about and fascinating footage of birds and other animals in trees. Check out www.petadvisor.com
Dogs do not like being alone – they want to be with you. Since this is not always possible to spend each and every day at home with our dogs, we need to keep life at home interesting for them to avoid being depressed, lonely or destructive. The suggestions listed above are a start and can make all the difference in you not feeling bad leaving your dog home alone.
Photo: Courtesy of krossbow via Flickr (CC by 2.0)