Constant contact wanted!
What drives a dog to this when it’s left home alone for longer periods? Fishing socks out of the washing basket and chewing them up, biting through shoes and furniture, heart-rending howling or suffering in silence – the scope is enormous. But one thing’s for sure… dogs want company. Experts from Maxi Zoo give some tips on how owners can cope with this.
How long can my dog stay alone?
Dogs are social animals. They live in communities and even perceive the people they live with as members of their pack. Which is why they should be left alone for limited periods only. With pups less than six months old, the two-hours maximum rule applies and with adult animals, four to six hours. Of course, there are dogs that can be left alone for up to ten hours, but even if they display no unusual behaviour they are actually suffering quietly. Anything beyond this can become a problem for you and your four-legged friend. Some dogs already exhibit conspicuous behaviour as soon as their master or mistress leaves the house. That isn’t automatically linked to anxiety; for some dogs, it means a loss of control because they, as the leader of the pack, have to remain at home!
- Early practice makes perfect. The business of “being alone” can be trained within specified limits. And that takes time. The younger an animal is the better.
- Let your dog know that you don’t react to his undesirable behaviour, whining or pawing, for example. Don’t open the house or room door until your dog has quietened down. With pups, you can increase the training a minute at a time by continually going out of the room. Increase your lack of presence over time. When you return home or come back into the room, just behave normally and don’t make any fuss about being there again. Don’t allow your dog to link your return with whining or barking, this will only make it difficult to erase this awareness later on.
- Exercise before. Make sure your canine friend has had enough outdoor exercise and that he’s satisfied and content before you leave the house.
- Anxious animals, who just don’t cope well with their owners leaving the house should be placed in a quiet corner. They shouldn’t lie directly opposite the entrance or room door. This unsettles them even more and they’ll be stressed for the entire time.
- Don’t punish if they chew your things! If your dog is one of those who likes to bite on something, don’t punish it – offer it an alternative in the future, such as a chew toy.
- Training. With strongly conspicuous and disruptive behaviour, we recommend you and your dog find a trainer together. That way both man and dog can learn which role each plays within the pack and what that involves.
Dog alone at home for eight hours?
Responsible dog lovers, as a rule, only get themselves a pet dog if it’s not going to have to spend longer periods alone at home. But what happens when the job or the life situation changes? These days there are many service providers who offer “dog-sitting” on an hourly basis or who can shorten the waiting time with walking and playing. You can find out what’s on offer in the internet using search terms such as “dog sitting” or “house and pet sitting”. It’s also worth having a quick look on the notice board in your local pet shop. Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.