Have you been working from home for a while and are now getting ready to go back to the office? Have you been on a long holiday and with your dog all the time? It can be tough for you and your pooch to be apart again. Here are some simple tips on how to get your dog used to being on their own.
Getting your dog used to being along again
Where to leave your dog
Avoid to leave your pooch in areas of your home where they can see you leave, whether it's by the door or from the windows.
Leave them in a room where they are less lilkely to be distubed by noise, heat or cold.
Using a crate
If your dog has been trained to be in a crate, using it is a good idea as it can prevent them from running around, chewing household objects as well as encourage them to stay clean and quiet.
If you still have time to train your dog before going back to work, get a crate that is the right size and carefully introduce your dog with positive reinforcement. Their bed, water bowl and a couple toys/familiar objects need to fit inside and your dog should be able to stand up and take a few steps.
Instead of a crate, you can also use a small area of your home where it's safe to leave your pooch on their own and where you can clean easily in case of accident.
Easy place training
1: Choose a word
Pick a key word that will mean to your dog: ‘go to this place’, for instance ‘bed’, ‘crate’... At first, you can use a treat to get your dog to the dedicated place. You can for instance place it inside the crate, on their bed.
2: Preparing for the separation
This part of the training is easier when you dog is tired. Choose a treat that is long and hard to chew, give it to your dog and sit near them but ignore them until they've finished their treat. Once finished, and before they decide to move, allow them to get off by giving them a cue, such as "it's ok you can come now".
Even if your dog is trying to get your attention, it's important to not pay attention to them. They will eventually lie down.
Once you've released your dog from their resting area, carry on with your day and keep "ignoring them" to gradually lessen their dependency.
3: Not in the same room
Make your dog sit on their bedding area and leave the crate or the room they are in open. Move out of the room and come back a few seconds later. Reward them with a treat. Next, go out and close the door. Come back and reward them. This helps them get used to you not being in the same room as them.
Repeat several days in a row and start increasing the time your are on the other side of the door.
If your dog becomes agitated, it's a sign that the training is going too fast for them. Take a few steps back in the training.
4: Increase the time apart
Once your dog is settled in and able to stay in their crate/resting room for a while, get out of the house for a few minutes. When you return, stay calm to show your dog that coming back home is a normal thing to do.
That being said, even well trained dog shouldn't stay more than 4 hours alone at home, and puppies should only be left for 2 hours. If you'll be gone all day long every day, it might be a good idea to consider having a dog walker or some dog daycare services