Home Alone

Many dog owners look forward to National Take Your Dog to Work Day, which was Friday, June 21 this year. It’s great fun to have your buddy sleeping cozily at your feet or to watch him greet new friends with sniffs and tail wags, or play keep-away with a favorite toy.

But where is your four-legged friend the rest of the year? Though some workplaces welcome pets, most do not. It would, of course, be wonderful to be able to stay home with Fido, but someone has to earn the green stuff that we trade for kibble and dog toys, so most of us head off to work each day sadly leaving our dogs home alone.

Not only do we miss them, but bored or lonely dogs have been known to chew furniture, destroy blinds, disturb the neighbors with barking, or even hurt themselves trying to escape. You can help your dog adjust to your absence using the following tips.

Tire him out A well-exercised dog is a calm dog. If you tire your dog out by giving him some outside time each morning before you go to work, a good portion of his time alone will be spent sleeping. A brisk walk or a game of frisbee will use up some of his excess energy while giving you some quality time with your pet. Morning exercise and time outdoors is likely to enhance your day as well.

Keep him occupied Puzzle toys that dispense dry dog food piece by piece can keep your friend occupied for long periods of time. A Kong filled with pet food and peanut butter or cream cheese is also a time-consuming diversion—make it the night before and freeze it to keep him busy for an even longer time. Be certain that any toy that you leave with your dog is one that can withstand his chewing. Never give your dog a bone or brittle toy that could break into pieces if you are not there to supervise.

Provide safe and comforting toys Chewing is a normal canine activity, but undirected it can lead to damage in your home. Protect your furniture by providing your dog plenty of safe chew toys. If he has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal that is comforting to him be sure that it is where he will have access to it while you are away.

Practice low key exits and returns Establish a morning routine to encourage your dog to hidden fence, dog fence, DogWatch Hidden Fencesaccept your comings and goings as a predictable recurring part of his life. Changing clothes or shoes, picking up a purse, briefcase, and grabbing keys all act as a signals that you are leaving. Remember, he takes his emotional cues from you, so avoid demonstrative partings and boisterous return greetings. By being matter-of-fact you signal that leaving and returning are no big deal.

Restrict his access If your dog is prone to mischief-making in your absence, in spite of your best efforts to tire him out, keep him occupied and adjust to your coming and going, you may need to limit his access to temptations. Confining him to a crate with water and his toys may an option, provided your absence is not too long. Some dogs seem comfortable and secure in a crate, some do not. If you crate your dog, it is recommended that time in the crate be limited to about 4 hours.

Instead of putting your pooch in a crate, you can give him freedom in while setting boundaries that either restrict him to specific rooms or that set “off-limits” areas such as the kitchen counters, houseplants, or a favorite chair. Consider using a safe and effective DogWatch indoor pet containment system. Indoor pet fences work wherever you need them, quietly, effectively, and hidden from view. A harmless, noiseless radio signal lets you control where your pets roam in the house. If you already have the DogWatch outdoor hidden fence, you can use the same receiver collar inside and outside. It is a great way to expand the value of your DogWatch pet containment system.

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