Developing a confident stay at home dog
Developing a puppy and dog who feels confident when alone is a very important part of pooch parenting. Dogs who do not fee safe and confident while alone, are dogs who will bark and howl relentlessly, destroy a home and even worse mutilate their own body with obsessive licking and chewing. These are dogs who literally feel a sense of panic when not in the company of their human.
Even if your intention is to work from home and take your pocket sized pooch with you on every allowable occasion - your dog WILL need to be alone at times and making sure he is happy to have some quiet time is crucial!
Here are five things to do to prevent your dog from panicking when left alone:
1. Always give your dog something to work on when you are gone. This includes puzzle toys stuffed with food - such as a Kong, Tricky Treat Ball, Atomic Ball or Busy Buddy.
2. Start early! Do not get a puppy and spend the first few weeks home from work with it 24/7. If you are home with your dog, set up your regular work day routine right away! If you stay at home during the day - still carve out 3-4 hours where you separate your dog from you.
3. Teach your dog that his crate is a great place. Dogs who feel confident crated are dog who will travel well, board well, and will feel less stress when they have to stay at the vet or groomer.
4. Keep your comings and goings calm. Do not lavish your dog with attention just before leaving him - causing him to get excited - then closing the door in his face! Also, when you get home, set down your bags, check your voicemail - all while dog gets his excitmenet out. Then, when he is a bit more calm, ask that he sit and give him some calm attemtion.
5. If you see signs of stress or anxiety (a dog who barks, howls, urinates, refuses to eat, stcratches at doors) when your dog is left alone - address it right away with a trainer. This is not something that will just sort itself out. Your dog needs some help!