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Is your dog used to having you around all the time?

Just like with any routine, your dog may be used to spending a lot of time with you and expect nothing less. Changes in routine can be a major stressor for dogs. So when you leave the house for a while, they may be left feeling alone and thinking “please don’t go!” But this doesn’t have to be the case! Here are 5 tips that you can use to help your dog adjust to being left home alone.

1. Practice your departure cues

What do you do when you’re ready to leave the house? Pick up your keys? Put on shoes? Grab your purse? These are triggers for your dog. You can randomly practice these cues throughout the day without leaving to help your dog dissociate them with leaving. For example, pick up your keys, put on your shoes, grab your purse, and walk around the house for a minute. Then put down your keys, take off your shoes, and set down your purse.

2. Make arrivals casual

When you do come home, don’t throw a welcome home party. Be calm, casually greet your dog, and wait until they are less frantic to show them affection.

3. Implement an exercise plan

An important note is to make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise for their breed and age. If you have a teenage Terrier that never goes for walks, they have plenty of energy to pace around the house and get anxious. If you’re a little short on time, hire a professional dog walker a few times a week.

“If our human year equals 7 dog years, does that mean that stepping out for 15 minutes equals almost 2 hours? No wonder they’re excited to see us!”

4. Teach your dog an out-of-sight stay

It’s also good to teach your dog to be calm when you get home. You can do this by cueing them to “Sit”, “Stay”, or “Down”. To do this, you can give them the cue. Then, take one step back and return to them if they stay without moving. Then take two steps back and so on until you can turn a corner and go out of sight without your dog getting up or moving. It’s important to not call your dog to come to you during this. You want your dog to learn that you return, and they get rewarded for staying.

5. Get your dog obsessed with food-stuffed toys

You can also begin feeding your dog their meals out of a puzzle toy instead of a bowl. Much like this one from Chewy.com. Puzzle toys help keep dogs occupied while you aren’t around. Start doing this while you are home so your dog learns to enjoy eating out of them. And then try leaving them a toy to keep them busy when you leave. Be sure find one that is the appropriate size for your dog.

Separation anxiety for dogs are stressful for the owners too. That’s another reason why you might want to spend more time with your dog, rather than cleaning up after them all the time. That’s what Scoop Masters is for! We take care of the dirty work for you so you don’t have to. You take the time to play with your dog, we’ll help keep you dog’s play area clean. Find out how affordable this service really is – visit scoopmasters.com and type in your zip code, number of dogs and how often you would like service and see for yourself.

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