Dogs are extremely sociable animals. There is nothing they would like better than to be by your side 24/7, and as a dog owner, you probably feel much the same way about him.
However, much as we would like to have our dogs with us all the time, the facts are that dog food does not come for free.
This means that in many family groups both adults have to work. In addition, if you have children, they have to get an education, which means they need to go to school.
It is a harsh reality of life, but the family dog often has to spend a lot of time home alone. Naturally, many dog owners feel guilty about leaving their dog home alone. They wonder if being alone will do him harm.
Being Home Alone can be Fun
Strange as it may seem, teaching a dog to be home alone can be a good thing, even if you can be with him all day.
There will always be those times when you have to go somewhere that your dog cannot, like to a hospital or restaurant.
If your dog is regularly left at home alone, leaving him for some hours because of an emergency, or a social event, will be much less of a problem.
Naturally, there are risks in leaving a dog alone, but even these can be minimized if you go about it in the right way.
One of the most common risks for any dog left alone is separation anxiety. A dog can show anxiety in different ways.
It could be a constant barking or whining whilst you are away. In more serious cases, he might chew furniture, or leave smelly surprises for you when you return.
What many owners do not realize is that often separation anxiety can be relieved remarkably easily by exercise.
Taking your dog for a brisk walk before you leave him will make him feel tired. He will then be more likely to spend his time napping than causing a disruption.
If your dog has to be left for more than 5 hours, make sure he also gets a short walk during the day.
Should you not be able to get home and walk him yourself, ask another family member, neighbor, friend, or relative to spend an hour with him instead.
Should nobody be available, then hire a dog walker to take your pooch to the park for half an hour.
Whoever takes on this role, you need to make sure your dog gets an opportunity to stretch his legs and relieve himself.
Boredom is Your Dogs’ Biggest Enemy
No matter how much and often your dog gets exercise, he will not nap all day.
When your canine friend is awake and looking for something to do, make sure he can find lots of toys that will keep him occupied.
Toys that include treats hidden inside them can be an excellent choice, but do not rely on them alone.
Once your dog has managed to get the treat out of the toy and eat it, the toy can easily lose its appeal.
Is Leaving Your Dog Home Alone OK Then?
Dogs are smart. The reality is that most can live quite happily without you around, provided they have plenty of food and water.
Maybe one day, all workplaces will be dog-friendly places, and you will then not need to feel guilty about leaving your dog alone, but until then…
Pros and Cons of Putting Your Dog in Daycare
Every dog owner feels sad leaving their dog while they go to work or social events.
They feel guilty knowing that they are leaving their best friend home alone with nobody to play with, and nothing to do.
Many choose to leave their dog in doggy daycare. This way, the dog can play and interact with other dogs instead of being alone.
While doggy daycare may seem like the right idea, there are still risks involved. The following is some pros and cons of putting your dog into daycare.
Pro: Your dog is not alone.
The biggest pro of doggy daycare is that your dog is not on his own.
Not only does this make your dog happy, but it also keeps him from chewing belongings, having accidents in the house, and removes the need for you to rush home in a timely fashion.
Con: It is expensive.
You will have to spend a large chunk of your budget on doggie daycare as it is not cheap.
Plus, some daycare centers only provide basic care at the lowest price. If more care is needed, such as walks, it will cost extra.
It is also essential to keep in mind that most will charge extra if you leave your dog longer than a certain time.
Pro: Your dog will get exercise.
Most doggy daycares will allow dogs to run around and play with each other, and this will give your dog valuable exercise.
You will therefore not need to take him for a walk when you get home because he will probably already be tired.
Con: Your dog can become injured.
When your dog is in daycare, you are putting him in the care of people, and around dogs, you do not know.
While you hope for the best, it is possible that your dog will get into an altercation with another dog and end up injured, or that someone at the daycare will be abusive.
Pro: Your dog gets to socialize.
The more interaction your dog has with other dogs and other people vastly benefits him.
Your dog will get better socialization skills, which can help to make him more agreeable and may even increase their understanding and temperament when at home.
It can also help to soften any aggression and teach him to share with other dogs.
Con: Your dog can get ill.
Most daycares require that dogs have had certain vaccinations in order to ensure diseases do not spread between dogs.
That does not mean that other dogs will not get ill. If your dog spends time around other dogs that are sick, it is likely he will also get ill with diseases such as a kennel cough or even fleas and ticks.
Depending on the illness, you could experience expensive vet bills in order to treat it.
As you can see there are many options to avoid leaving your dog at home alone. There are other options like Crate Training, or training your pet to be comfortable being left at home for a few hours.