No one actually likes leaving their puppy alone. But, alas, life makes us do that sometimes. We created 11 tips for leaving your dog at home that will help lessen their anxiety and make them relax. Dog separation anxiety is a real thing that happens when a dog gets stressed out when their dog mom or dog dad leaves them alone. Dogs can become disruptive, destructive, and can act out their symptoms of distress. Without further ado, here are the 11 tips for leaving your dog at home that will hopefully help alleviate some of that anxiety.
11 Tips For Leaving Your Dog At Home Alone
1.) Make sure your dog is in their safe space
You want to make sure your dog is in a familiar and safe environment. Make sure that area is safe, and your dogs are able to go into that area while you are gone. My dogs love the bedroom, so I make sure the door stays open, and they have easy access. The last thing you want to do is put them in a location that they are not familiar or comfortable with.
2.) Get your dog’s energy out beforehand
I know that I crave my bed after a tough workout, and your pup will, too. Take them for a long walk before you leave, where they can sniff to their heart’s content. Get some exercise yourself and take your dog for a jog. Play with your dog and have them run around for a while. I love taking my pup’s to the dog park before I leave them to do errands for a few hours. By releasing your dog’s energy, they are less likely to be as agitated when you leave because they are looking forward to resting.
3.) Leave entertainment for your dog
I try to make sure my dog’s have some form of entertainment to give them busy while I leave. Examples of this include:
- Their favorite (and safe) toys
- Relaxing music (like the iCalm Portable Speaker that was specially created to listen through your dog’s ears)
- A window where they can watch ‘doggy tv’ through because my dogs love watching what is going on outside.
- If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, consider hiring a dog walker. That way they will get some fresh air, have a chance to go to the bathroom, and get some exercise.
- Interact with them via video apps like the Pet Cube Camera where you can check in on them and play a laser game with them.
4.) Bribe your dog
A little bribing can’t hurt in the form of one of their favorite snacks when you leave. They may start to look forward to that part of your departure if you reserve the ‘extra good’ dog treats for this time.
5.) Keep low-key behavior both when you leave and come home
This is definitely a hard one for me. When I get home, the pups get excited, and it makes me excited. However, you need to be calm when you tell your dogs bye before you leave them alone. By being calm, you are signaling to your dogs that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I like telling them which dog is in charge when I leave. Having this serene and peaceful departure will help mitigate your dog’s separation anxiety because it will help them to not get too worked up when you return. It can also help dogs that have a tendency to jump on their owners to alleviate that behavior.
6.) When you arrive home, immediately take away their special toy you gave them before you left
This will also help reinforce to your dog that their special playtime is over when you return. This will give them something to look forward to when you do leave. I love leaving my dog’s special puzzles that they have to interact and engage with because it helps give them mental stimulation. Check out this blog post that has a few awesome ideas for these types of special toys.
7.) Make sure your dog has access to water while you are away
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, your dog needs to stay hydrated! They may get a little thirsty when they have anxiety, and not having access to water could magnify this. You shouldn’t be leaving your dog for enough time when they will need to go outside to potty anyway. Second, they are probably used to having water out, so this consistency will help them feel comfortable. And if the water isn’t out, your dog may have increased separation anxiety when you leave because they also know they will not have access.
8.) Train your dog to be left alone
Some dogs may even need re-trained due to the pandemic. They are probably used to you being home, like, 24/7. So if you start with small amounts of alone time, gradually building up to higher amounts, they won’t be shell-shocked when you leave for a few hours. Get them comfortable with you leaving in small increments and gradually increasing this will teach them slowly but surely to feel more comfortable when you leave.
9.) Leave out some recently worn clothes that smell like you
Dogs have an extremely sharp sense of smell. Your scent as their dog mom or dog dad will naturally help relax them. Leaving out clothes that still have your scent on them could help their separation anxiety because it’s like a part of you is still there.
10.) Consider giving them a natural type of calming supplement
Giving your dog a natural supplement may help reduce their hyperactivity and anxiety when you leave. For example, these Wild One CALM Normal Stress & Relaxation Supplements are a tasty organic chew that promotes calmness in your pup.
11.) Don’t give up!
Reducing your dog’s separation anxiety or teaching your dog to be home alone is not an overnight task. Being patient with them is what is best for them, so don’t give up. By really focusing on your dog and their needs, you can craft that perfect formula where your dog will be just fine without you. It is always a good idea to check in with your veterinarian as well to make sure it is not indicative of something else, or they can have additional ideas since they have experience with your actual pup.
Is there anything else that you do that you feel helps your dog’s separation anxiety? Share your tips in the comments!