When you get a new puppy, you never want to leave their side. The feeling is mutual, as puppies quickly bond with their new owners. You’ll want to have fun with one another all day long, but eventually, you’ll have to return to work and your regular life – albeit with a new friend.
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How do you go about preparing a young puppy for their newfound alone time? Most puppies don’t take kindly to being alone, even for a little bit. They’ll whine, yelp, and sometimes take out their stress on your home furniture. Here are some helpful tips on preparing your puppy for your inevitable return to work.
Practice Leaving Them Alone
The first step in preparing your puppy for being away from them is to start by – well, being away from them. You’ll want to start in short intervals early in their time with you. In the first week, you can train them to stay for a minute or two at a time. Simply walk into another room, tell them to stay, and you can give them a treat to reinforce the behavior when they listen. Over time, you’ll want to increase the duration of your absence.
This process is integral to building a healthy, trusting relationship with your newfound friend. Not only are you preparing them for your absence while away at work or out on the town. You’re also ingraining the fact that you’ll always come back into their canine brains as well. Dogs are pack animals, and you’re probably the most important person in their lives – especially if you’re the only person in their lives. Make sure they know they can count on you.
Invest In Items to Keep Them Busy
Dogs need a lot of stimulation to stay healthy. Not only does this mean regular exercise, a good diet, and plenty of play time – they should also be able to entertain themselves while you’re not with them. Plus, they should also feel safe when alone – if your dog struggles with separation anxiety, the right device might make them feel a little better about when you’re away. Luckily, there are a myriad of interactive toys and devices available that you can utilize to help your dog feel safe when you’re not around.
One such toy is the Snuggle Puppy. This cute little stuffed animal comes with a heat pack and a heartbeat simulator that makes it look and feel like a companion for your dog. A device like this can soothe your puppy’s anxiety. If you introduce it early on in your dog training process, it can be an effective tool for when you need to leave home. Just be sure to have a replacement handy – your puppy might miss theirs if it goes missing.
Puzzle toys are another worthwhile investment in keeping your dog occupied and happy while you’re gone. Whether it’s a slider puzzle with treats hidden inside of it, a scavenger hunt you’ve set up with treats hidden around the house, or just a tough chew toy with a treat hidden at the center of it, the right puzzle will keep your puppy’s mind engaged and off of your absence.
Utilize a Source of Noise
It’s a well-established fact that dogs like a bit of noise to reassure them that someone is around (even when they’re not). This can assuage their fears of being abandoned and left alone and mask unpleasant noises from the outside world. It’s been found that human voices being played over the television or radio can help reassure an anxious dog and help pass the time for a puppy that’s been left alone at home.
However, new evidence has also found that too much noise can also be detrimental to dogs. For one thing, they don’t like hard rock or electronic music. Their preferred genre seems to be soft rock and reggae, of all things. Research has also shown that you shouldn’t leave the television or radio on for your dog all day, as this can cause sensory overload in some pets. If you can, it might be recommended to put your TV or speaker on a timer at home and set it to play at specific intervals. This can interrupt the humdrum of nothingness that is a dog’s life when you’re away.
Introduce Them to Crate Training
Another method you can utilize when preparing your puppy for your absence is crate training. When used correctly, crate training can be an excellent tool in preparing your pet for those long days alone. A comfy crate with a blanket or toy is an excellent hidey-hole that your pup can retreat to when feeling overwhelmed. It also might be a welcome alternative to their napping on your new sofa cushions all day long!
Crate training can be tricky, but when you nail it right, it gives your dog a safe place to go when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Instead of barking all day or chewing on stuff you’d rather they keep out of their mouths, crate training (when introduced early enough) will be a welcome addition to any dog owner’s routine.
Alternatives to Leaving Your Puppy Alone
It’s important to note that leaving your puppy alone for an extended period is never a good idea. Not only do young puppies need plenty of attention, but they need to be let out for a potty break a minimum of every three hours – don’t expect a young puppy to have bladder control! Hiring a dog walker, a pet sitter, or enrolling your furry friend in doggy daycare is necessary as a dog owner if you’re going to be away for several hours during the day, with no one home to watch your pup.
A Good Training Process Does Wonders
Since we’re far from a world where pet owners are guaranteed paid leave when they’re breaking in a new pet, you might want to consider taking some time off to help adapt your critter to your home. Using a few weeks of vacation time or sick leave might sound unpleasant, but it’ll do wonders for helping your new puppy adjust to a new space, family, and schedule that includes them being by themselves.
Moving to a new place is a tough time for anybody, let alone a newborn puppy that’s only just gotten to know you. However, with the right training routine and process, any puppy can become well-adjusted.
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