Leaving Your Dog Home Alone - How Long is Too Long? - By: Jared Wright
You leave for work, come back after a long day only to find that the house has been torn to shreds ' again. If your dog is going to be left home alone you will need to lay down a few rules, but you will also need to understand that your dog will be bored. How can you balance the need to leave the house with your dog's needs to have stimulation and exercise?
It is not difficult to understand that dogs are active animals. Unless your dog is very old or otherwise debilitated, he will have enough energy to move for most of the day. When a dog is stuck at home with few opportunities for mental or physical stimulation, all of this pent up energy can lead to destructive behaviors. Dogs who are bored will look for ways to entertain themselves at home, and this entertainment can take the form of chewing on shoes and clothes, pulling things around the house, shredding your possessions, or really any behavior at all.
A dog needs to do activities to direct and use his energy on. If you are going to go off to work and leave the dog at home, make a strong effort to take the dog on a long walk in the morning before you leave. This will mean that your dog can take the day easy and rest up for the long walk you should take him on in the afternoon or whenever you come back from work.
If your dog is tired and has used up a lot of his energy before he is ever left alone, you will be able to leave him alone in the house for a longer period. No matter how much energy your dog has, it is important for you to note the duration whereby he can control his bladder and bowel. Unless your dog is house trained, you should not leave him alone in an enclosed space for more than 10 hours. Many dogs will be able to control themselves for longer than that, but your dog will become very uncomfortable. If your dog is left in a closed off area when alone, he will not want to soil this area that he will consider his den, but if he does he will feel terrible.
Your dog will not want to sleep for the entire time that you are away. You will need to provide enriching and stimulating toys while you are out of the house. Your dog needs to have something to occupy himself and if he is having any separation anxiety, a food dispensing toy, a toy which your dog will need to work on in order to get food treats out of it, will be a great addition.
Separation anxiety is a difficult condition for any dog. One of the easiest ways to keep your dog from being anxious while you are away is simply to keep your arrivals and departures very low key. Don't make a big deal of leaving the house and equally, when you return, don't greet the dog as if you haven't seen him in weeks.
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