Part of being a good pet parent is training your dog to do certain things, like sitting and staying instead of jumping on you while you’re eating, going to the bathroom outside, and walking calmly beside you instead of running and pulling at her leash. Another training milestone is ensuring your dog is comfortable should she ever be left home alone.
Arguably, training a dog to stay home alone is one of the more challenging aspects for first-time dog owners, but it can be especially tough if up until this point there has always been someone home with her. But there are things you can do to help reduce the strain and anxiety on both you and your pet. Ultimately, the key to success is finding the right incentives that will help your dog enjoy being home alone.
There are three different “methods” that you can use that can help train your dog to stay home alone. Here are the steps for each:
- Leave your dog home alone for five minutes (do not react to her whining or barking)
- Return home and greet her with praise and attention.
- The next day, leave the home for 15 minutes and greet her with praise and attention when you return.
- Over the coming weeks, gradually increase the length of time your dog is left alone, remembering to greet her with praise and attention every time you return.
- Create a comfortable space for your dog, preferably a spot where she has walls around her. Give her a comfy bed in the space, so she can lay down and relax.
- Take your dog for a walk before you leave her home alone. She will be more relaxed and more likely to rest while you are away.
- Play tug of war with your dog or a game of fetch. This will also help tire her out, so she will hopefully take a nap while you’re gone.
- Before you leave home, take her to her spot and give her a food puzzle or a new toy. This will keep her occupied, so she doesn’t see you leave.
- Take your dog outside, so she can go to the bathroom before you leave. This will help make her more comfortable and relaxed.
- When you return home, immediately greet your dog with praise and give her a treat.
- Start by leaving your dog home alone for just a few minutes and gradually increase the time over the days and weeks.
- Sleep separately from your dog. If your dog sleeps with you, this will increase the likelihood that she will suffer from separation anxiety, so getting her used to sleeping in another room will make it easier for her to be home alone.
- Never scold or punish your dog if you return home to find she went to the bathroom or destroyed something. This will usually only result in built-up anxiety and continued bad behavior.
If Your Pet Has Separation Anxiety, a Professional Dog Sitter Can Help
To get your dog comfortable being alone requires consistency and commitment. But even with that, not all dogs will take easily to being left home alone. If your pet continues to suffer from separation anxiety, then one way you can help make things easier on her is to use a professional dog sitting service.
A good dog sitter will give your pet all the attention and care she needs to be more comfortable while you’re away from home. Your sitter will ensure your pet gets her daily exercise and any medications she might be prescribed, in addition to making sure she has enough food and clean water. The right dog sitter can make all the difference for your pet.
If you need a professional dog sitter, contact Suburban Pets of Long Island today. We’re the number one dog walking and pet sitting service in the Long Island area. Find out why so many local pet owners trust our compassionate and experienced dog sitters !