You have been looking forward to getting your own dog. In the process, you then took a few days off. Then you went to a dog shelter and found a cute white Labrador. And as you take him home that’s when your friendship began.
He knows your scent, you know his attitudes. You started training some common commands. And a Labrador being one of the intelligent breeds, can learn quickly. You became so close and you are doing many things together. Until one day you receive an email, it’s time to go back to work.
But now there is a problem, you are not home alone anymore. And as you go back to work somebody else will be home alone. Your Labrador, although well-trained with common commands, doesn’t like the idea of being home alone. Even leaving him a few minutes is already a struggle for the both of you. You hear him cry and moan even for a few minutes of being alone. So leaving him for a day may seem to be a daily challenge.
This means that your Labrador requires another training. And that is how to be home alone. Generally training your dog basic obedience is a very rewarding activity. It requires time, patience, and real love for your pet. But when it comes to this type of training, expect some separation anxiety. But the goal is for him to learn to be alone in your house.
1. Gather the Right Tools
Dogs are generally visual. The things that you show them are not only “things” for them, but it also serves as communication. When you show them toys, for them it communicates time to play. When you show them treats it means it’s an acknowledgment of good things they have done.
Here is a list of tools you need to start your home alone training
- Food Puzzle
- A nice and comfortable dog bed
When you have all these, then what’s left to prepare is patience and determination. This type of training may not happen overnight. Though there are some dogs who will get it. But as you start this journey, always remember that you are doing this for your pet’s safety. As well as your peace of mind while you are gone and away.
2. If you sleep on the same bed together, that has to change
Train him to lie and sleep on his own dog bed. This will lessen the separation anxiety when your training starts. This will also make him feel more relaxed lying down on his own bed while waiting for you.
Train him to play with toys and food puzzles. This way he will learn to look for things to keep him busy while you’re gone. Toys also serve as positive reinforcement. It makes your dog feel happy and content during your absence. Also, practice playtime and long walks in the morning to get him tired during the day. This will help him take naps while you’re out.
Train him to eat and drink on his own. Put your dog bowls in one place where he can eat and drink during meal times. This will ensure he will never go hungry when he is alone. When you see that your dog is following all your training well, make sure to give praises and treats.
Gradually Get Your Dog Used to Being Alone
Another characteristic of dogs that are similar to humans is they are creatures of habit. A routine, when done repeatedly, is something they will get used to. And the key is consistency for them to remember it. Just the same as teaching them common commands.
Take note that this part of the training will never happen overnight. You need at least one full month to see better results. And this is better done if your dog is already toilet trained. If not yet, then there are resources online that will help you learn about it. But this training should be done gradually. You want to introduce your dog to the idea of being alone.
The first thing to do is to leave your dog indoors for 5 minutes. But you don’t have to go anywhere. Step outside and observe your dog’s behavior. This way you can address issues like barking, moaning, and separation anxiety as soon as you step back in.
As soon as you come back, make sure to greet your dog. Make him feel that you are happy to see him. That way you are sending a positive message. That coming home is something he will look forward to. And if you think your dog did well then generously give praises and treats. Continue doing this for the next few days, and try to go as far as you can for 5 minutes.
Next is to leave your dog home for about 15 to 20 minutes for a few days. Then 30 to 45 minutes for a few days. An hour to 2 hours the following week. Then continue to increase the number of hours. This is until you are well confident that your dog can be left alone for a full day. Take note to ignore the whining and moaning. This way you send the message that this is not the way to get your attention.
There are many other ways to train your dog to stay home alone. But the point is you want to be able to go to work worry-free. And you want your dog not to feel lonely when you’re out. At the end of the day what you want to achieve is to enjoy having a dog. And then to perform your responsibilities all at the same time.