Whether your dog becomes anxious and turns to destruction when you leave, or you just can’t stand the sad look in their eyes when you walk out the door, there are ways you can help your fur babies feel confident and secure. Over time, your dog(s) will understand that sometimes you have to leave, but you will certainly come back.
Practice Alone Time
Giving your dog plenty of opportunities to feel comfortable with being alone is a good place to start. By letting them practice short but frequent sessions while you are both home will show them this alone time is part of their routine. Start by bringing them to their crate and settle them in for a short time away. Praise them for going into her crate and walk out without any attention. Do this but stay home, and out of sight/ear shot and give it a few minutes. Then, go back to let them out and make a huge deal of your return! Give them tons of love and praise and tell them what a good dog they were while you were away. By doing this regularly and for relatively short periods of time, you are setting them up for a positive association with crate time. You are also instilling confidence that you will return and that when you do, it’s going to be awesome.
Note: If your dog cries or howls, it may be that you left them too long to start. Try even shorter alone time sessions of less than a minute. Over the course of a few days or weeks, you can increase the time of the session, building their assurance with each positive reunion.
Leave a Little Comfort
Have you noticed that your dog is attracted to and finds comfort in your smell, good or bad (LOL)? In fact, it is one of the main ways they recognizes you and it brings them a sense of love and security when around it. Placing an item with your smell in their crate is an excellent way to bring comfort to your dog when you have to be away. Your dog will have your scent and a cozy pillow to snuggle down with helping them feel safe and content. If your dog has a favorite toy or blanket, that is also a great choice to place in the crate when you will be away. The goal is to increase familiarity with the process, the environment, and the experience and comfort items can be very useful.
Hire a Dog Walker
Socializing is an important activity to promote well-being in your pup. The wonderful thing about providing a dog walker is that your dog has an opportunity to have some fun time without you. They get to have a break in their day, take a walk, exercise, sniff around, stimulate their minds and socialize while still being in the comfort of their home and neighborhood. Walking will also cure any tension or anxiety they may have starting out with getting used to their “home alone” routine. Having a dog walker will also allow them to trust another person and depend on them if they are having a hard time. Extra love and attention from another person whom they know and trust will boost their confidence and assurance that they get to have some fun while you’re away.
Another additional option to help your dog calm down naturally is considering a holistic supplement. One of my favorite suggestions I offer to all of my clients with anxious dogs is Pet Hemp oil. Dog owners who inquire about this oil have all different types of reasons for doing so, but most importantly and most commonly people are looking for help with their dogs anxiety. Hemp oil helps TREMENDOUSLY with anxiety and so many other things. Most of these paw parents are searching for a holistic approach to help and heal their pet. Hemp oil is known to be the main ingredient in many treatment options that provide internal as well as external care for humans and pets. It is also available in many different forms such as edibles, tincture, oils or even creams. Also, fun fact, both humans and animals share the same Endocannabiniod system, a set of receptors in the brain that controls basic emotions & Hemp oil helps control those emotions to bring them to a healthy state and free uncomfortable symptoms.
Reward Reward Reward
Instead of the crate and your act of leaving being cause for an anxiety attack or depressed mood, turn it into something rewarding, fun and new. Choose whatever kind of toy (one that will be most appealing to your pooch) and be sure to choose something that will last a good amount of time. Just be careful leaving anything that will pose a choking hazard-NO raw hides, bones, or chew sticks of any kind. Make sure to give your dog a toy that is completely safe without your supervision.
Keep it Comfortable
Traveling with your dog nowadays is becoming SO much more doable, however, there will be times when you must travel without them. If you are going to leave your dog with a pet sitter, family member, friend, etc. it is important to have them become familiar and comfortable wherever they may stay. If you decide to keep them at home, this option may be easier into transitioning them while you’re away.
If you are considering a pet boarding facility, make sure to have your dog spend a day there for daycare or even a night or two to start off with. Also, make sure this dog care facility has cameras and is transparent with your pooch. From experience in working in a dog care facility, sometimes it can be chaotic and might not be the best option for a dog that is compromised. For example, a dog that has severe anxiety, an older dog, a dog with an illness, etc.
Again, by breeding familiarity and reinforcing that you will come back for her, you are setting her up for success in your absence during the real deal.
“I’ll Be Back Soon.”
A self-assured, confident dog that is able to be comfortable with or without you is a positive for everyone involved. Taking steps from the very beginning to implement independence will benefit the long term health of you and your dogs relationship. Parting may be such sweet sorrow, but absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder!
About Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Care Company | Maitland, FL
Rachel has been working in the Pet Care Industry for the last few years and started her career in a local Canine Health & Fitness Center that also incorporated canine hydrotherapy, dog daycare & boarding. While working at Rocky’s Retreat, under the previous ownership of Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, Rachel became certified in canine hydrotherapy and they taught her everything she knows about canine care, hydrotherapy, health and fitness.
Rachel is currently the owner/founder of Dip’n Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy and Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Service in the Orlando, FL area. Dip’n Dogs provides water therapy for dogs with any orthopedic condition, degenerative disease, injury or obesity. Walk’n Dogs provides in-home visits for dog walking, pet sitting, pet taxi and pet errands. Each service is customized to fit each dog and their needs. Rachel caters to the Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Maitland, College Park, and Altamonte Springs, FL areas.
Rachel is also the owner and dog mom to her two beagles, Leo and Lola.