June 4th, 2021 | Updated on June 28th, 2022
Dogs are pack animals which means they do not excel well when they are left alone at home. But we humans have to get going with our daily routine and cannot be around all the time with our dogs.
Most dogs are not comfortable staying away from their owner, but a few of them really can get destructive when anxious and hurt themselves.
1. Before You Leave, Exercise Your Dog
An active dog will be the most destructive, which is why you need to tire your dog before you leave. Activity calms dogs and helps them stay more relaxed while you are gone. You do not want a dog with all the energy pent up inside to stay back home alone. It is only going to be a recipe for disaster.
2. Do Not Let Them Take a Nap While You are at Home
If your dog takes a nap before you leave, most probably, they will remain awake for a long time while you are gone. Ideally, you would want your dog to take naps while you are not at home. This means keep your dog awake before you leave your house.
3. Set Up a Two-Way Audio Enabled Camera
Let us understand why the dog really gets anxious. They are animals hence cannot express what they feel and do not understand what you are saying. So, when you leave, they are scared that you will not return or abandon them.
Especially dogs that have been in foster care for long durations due to abandonment by previous owners will face such issues more than other dogs.
By setting up a two-way audio camera, you can keep an eye on your dog and talk to them now and then, which is reassuring to them.
This way, you will not be in for a surprise when you get back home. Also, dogs who stay alone for a few hours may injure themselves in multiple ways. A camera setup will help you avoid any such incidents.
4. Leave Your Worn T-shirt on the Dog’s Bed
Dogs love the smell of their owners. It calms their nerves, so wear a t-shirt and leave it for your dog when you are not home. It will keep them calm till you return.
5. Place Your Dog Inside the Playpen
Should you leave your dog home alone and give them reins of the entire house? Well, until you know they cannot cause themselves harm, it is not a good idea.
To keep them in a controlled environment is quite safer for them; hence, you can set up a playpen with a bowl of water, some toys, and a training pad while you are away. Later on, as they learn to be less anxious, you can let them out of the pen and roam free in the house.
6. Leave Them Mentally Stimulating Toys
If you keep the dog busy as you leave home, they may not miss you that much. Freeze a large Kong and leave it for the dog to eat before you leave.
This will keep them engaged for good 45 minutes. You can hide treats all over the house or use a snuffle mat to do the same. Any mentally stimulating activity will keep their nerves calm.
7. Use Medication
The last resort for extreme scenarios where your dog is extremely anxious and destructive, but you have to leave the house, is to use certain medications to put your dog to sleep.
Putting a dog to sleep with Benedryl is a widespread practice in several states. You can talk to your vet to make sure it is safe for your dogs, though.
Everything needs practice and work. Do not just leave your dog home alone for hours but train your dog to stay alone, starting for a few minutes first.
Gradually increase the time and reward them as you leave to associate you going out with something positive. It will take some time, but if you practice consistency, your dog will be comfortable staying along for a few hours very soon.