Help For Home Alone Dogs

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Help For Home Alone Dogs

by Val Witt

Here is a familiar scenario often experienced by Home Alone Dogs:

You just spent the entire weekend with your dog. You had fun with him at the beach or park. You went on leisurely long walks. You played fetch in the yard. You took him out to the local coffee shop. In a word...he was your spoiled were best friends!

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

No it's not hide and seek - its Monday - as in back to work! Rover doesn't realize it yet. He's bouncing around and ready to have some more fun. Until he notices some familiar signs that you're getting ready to leave your doggie home alone!! If he were a hound dog, he'd probably start singing the blues.

It's such a guilt trip for most dog lovers who have to work outside the home. You feel like such a heel. Of course you'd much rather stay home, but not many of us have a choice - someone has to pay for the dog biscuits and vet bills.

So off you go, leaving Rover behind to while away the many hours until you return. Let's ask Rover how he feels about it on a scale of 1 to 3 woofs, (or Yeses)

  • Does he get doggone lonely? .... Woof
  • Does he get doggone stressed and anxious? ....Woof, Woof
  • Does he get doggone bored ...Woof, Woof, Woof
  • Does he get into mischief? .... no answer
  • Does he bark? ..... Ask the neighbors

Dogs love company. They are very social beings. Remember they had a lot of company in their original pack environment.

So what happens when Rover has no social outlet for long periods of time? He feels confused, isolated, and upset with you.

Studies reveal that dogs get depressed just as we do. Very often it's called separation anxiety. Under certain conditions dogs may become more aggressive, or just the opposite - become more quiet and withdrawn.

Tips To Help Home Alone Dogs

So what can we do to keep up Rover's spirits while we are away? Give him his own job for one thing, as in something to occupy his time alone, including mental stimulation. Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Interactive Toys:
    • Treat-filled ones are irresistible and keep Rover busy for quite a while
    • Ones that bounce unpredictably use up energy and some even have dental ridges as an added bonus
    • Talking ones engage the mind.
  • Install a doggie door to a small and secure outside area giving Rover the opportunity for breath of fresh air.
  • Call him on the phone and talk to him over the answer machine, or purchase a touch-activated recordable message toy
  • Exercise your dog thoroughly before going to work to help him feel more relaxed while you're gone. Then give him another workout when you get home
  • Engage the services of a doggie walker for a mid-day walk
  • Take him to doggy daycare occasionally
  • Consider dog pheromones
  • Make sure he has a den (crate) to curl up to give him a feeling of security

One more unique tip for home alone dogs

A favorite tip of mine that can really help an anxious dog stay calm, is to play music. You've probably experienced the calming effect music can have on your own emotions. And it works for dogs too.

Studies done in several animal centers in England have confirmed that soothing music, especially classical, has a positive effect in calming our canine friends in situations when they are feeling anxious or stressful. This can be from the stress and isolation home alone dogs feel, or other triggers such as strange or loud noises in the neighborhood, thunderstorms, other dogs barking, mailmen ringing the doorbell etc.

Many veterinarians, animal experts and doggie daycare centers are now endorsing this information and using music to help doggies be more relaxed and lose the blues. You can too - go to this article on my website to find the link to a couple of popular CDs just for dogs. They have been given two paws up by the doggies so I've heard! Give music a try with your home alone dogs.

CAUTION: It is always a good safety measure to test toys under your supervision before leaving your dog alone with them.

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