Anybody knows the fact that dogs are man’s best friend and are very loyal companions. In fact, dogs are known to be so loyal that they are often totally submissive to their masters. However, the fact that dogs are submissive does not mean that we humans can already take for granted the basic things our beloved pet expects from us. Every dog deserves to be fed well, sheltered properly, protected from any form of harm, given the right medical attention when needed, AND accompanied by its masters during its leisure time. If you can’t provide all five of these, you don’t really deserve to own a pet dog.
However, there are circumstances when people don’t have enough time to provide the fifth component: spending lots of leisure time with their canine. The reasons are usually valid—work during the day, a business trip, family event—this means that leaving your dog isn’t actually an intended abuse. However, leaving a dog all alone has more physiological effects than being deprived of the other 4 components of canine care.
In this article, we will try to determine for how much time dogs can stay alone at home and how you can train him to be that disciplined. It’s important for pet owners to know that being left behind by its master has a great negative effect on a pup if it does not understand the situation completely. Dogs aren’t dumb and they are pretty sensitive to human words and actions. After reading this article, you will know how to handle your dog better when it comes to training it to stay alone at home without it feeling any physiological burden or stress.
The Nature of Dogs
By nature, dogs love companionship and this is the very reason why they are considered “man’s best friend”. A dog is very loyal to its owner and a sign of its loyalty is to accompany you wherever you go, regardless of whether it is to an enjoyable or dangerous situation. Dogs feel happy when its canine friends see them walking beside their master, as it is a sign that it is trusted and loved. When left behind, a dog usually suffers two dilemmas: it doesn’t know what to do while it is alone since there is no one to command him and it is dreading the possibility that its owner may not return to it any longer. It is possible to leave your dog for long periods IF you can do this—prevent your dog from experiencing these dilemmas by explaining the situation to your canine friend AND training it into feeling comfortable even if it is left alone. If you can do that, you can leave the dog for as much time as you like without causing him any emotional or physiological damage!
The Training Months
The best time to train your dog is right after the period when the dog has established its loyalty and trust in you. After 12 weeks, your pup will start to view you as its ultimate human companion and will develop the tendency to protect you from other humans who may cause you harm (even if that isn’t the case). The best way to train your dog is by letting it get used to being alone gradually. Pick a comfortable place that isn’t too large, well-lighted, and has an easy to clean floor (i.e. tile floors in the kitchen). Cover the floor with newspaper as dogs have a tendency to urinate or produce dog poo every 3 hours. Tell your dog to stay there and wait for you to get back. Promise him a treat if he behaves well. After a few minutes, return to your pup and see how he is going. If he looks frightened the first time, hold him and tell him how a good pup he has been and give him that promised treat. You can extend the time you are gone from the room until such time that your dog no longer feels anxious even if you are gone for a while.
Note: Dogs, especially puppies, will whine or bark when they are scared. Don’t come into the room and appease them. Let them wait until it’s time for you to get back. They have to learn that they should wait for you and making any noise will not make you go back sooner. Your neighbors will surely appreciate this.
A Substitute for Your Absence
In your absence, your canine would surely feel desolate for having been “abandoned”. If you trained your puppy by explaining that every time you leave, you will always return, the depression will not be that bad since the dog already has some idea that things will turn out well (by you showing up later!). To help your dog out of his melancholy, try to provide him with some small extra things that he can use to wile the time without making your house a disaster. Provide him with bright-colored toys such as a ball or a chew bone. You also have to make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh water and food in an accessible place. It would be easier if your dog has companions, since dogs also have their own way of making entertainment. However, if your canine is alone, you have no choice but to train him to entertain himself without destroying anything while waiting for you.
Preparing the Space
Don’t be surprised if the first few days of your pup in solitude causes you some ripped newspapers and magazines. This is how dogs usually show their agitation: they gnaw at almost anything! Scold them every time they do this and give them a toy instead. On your part, you have to prep up the place where you want your dog to stay while you are away. Move all things that you don’t want to get torn-up or mauled. Cover the floor of the space so you don’t have to deal with dog by-products messily. Make sure that the place is well ventilated and well lighted to keep your dog feeling safe while waiting for you.
Making Up for Lost Bonding Time
If you have succeeded in training your dog to stay at home for long hours without being suicidal, congratulations! You no longer have to worry about your dog while you are away. However, this does not mean that you are free to do things as you please and let him wait for as long as you like. Although dogs know that you will return, they become wary and depressed if they realize that you don’t have a schedule for them. Try to go home on a certain time regularly so your dog will know when to expect you. This will comfort him better. Also, make sure to spend quality time with your dog at home to make up for your lost bonding time. A simple pat on the head when you get home and sitting with him while watching TV on the couch will leave your dog in total comfort. He will realize that wherever you go, no matter how long you stay away from home, you still love him and you’ll spend lots of good times together when you get back. That’s the best way to keep your canine healthy, happy, and patiently waiting at home.
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