Many of our canine companions struggle with being left home alone. Often, they display this in a very obvious way: barking, howling, chewing the furniture, toileting, to name just a few.
These dogs are probably loving life at the moment, constant companionship is just what they crave. It is also the perfect time to start to help these dogs as many of us are in a position to be around all the time, as well as working on the length of time our dogs are able to be on their own.
However, it is a different group of dogs that I want to talk about today. Those dogs who are normally fine with a daily routine where they are left on their own but who are now faced with owners who are home all the time. Many of these dogs may struggle when we are released from lockdown and return to work. Once our dogs are used to having us around all of the time this might come as a shock to them.
There are several ways in which we can help this transition and ensure that our dogs are used to being alone even when we are home all of the time. The simplest way is to ensure that our dogs are not following us around constantly, room to room as we go about our day. Closing doors so our dogs are confined to rooms they are normally left in when we are out at work is a simple way to remind them they can cope on their own.
Set your dog up with fun activities such as a stuffed Kong in a different room while you watch some TV is a great way to enrich their day and to give them that valuable time away from you. It’s very difficult to find time away from our dogs sometimes; I am working and homeschooling my daughter downstairs while my husband is working upstairs so I completely understand that sometimes it isn’t that simple, but we can find a way.
When you go outside to garden, take the bins out, sit in the sunshine for five minutes leave your dog inside and let them settle. Some dogs may need an interactive toy for this so make sure you set them up to succeed. If you are able to leave them at home while you pop to the shops.
By adding in times when your dog is alone it will make the transition back to normality so much simpler.
About Kimberley ...
Kimberley Grundy is a canine behaviourist and trainer, based in Yorkshire. She has practised for more than ten years and has two masters degrees – one in animal behaviour and welfare,
the other in psychology.