Tips for Leaving Your Pet Home Alone
Hello, humans! Tiberius here. It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me, but I have been relaxing at home and enjoying my solitude, while my humans have been away at work and school. For those of you that need to lock your doors and leave your furry friends alone inside for a big part of the day, here are some tips you could use to make sure they aren’t unhappy while you’re gone.
Can they be left alone?
Although I was always the self-sufficient puppy, there are some that really cannot be left alone. If you have a puppy that is barely 5 months old, it is best not to leave them alone for long periods of the day. As young puppies, they need lots of attention before you can teach them to stay by themselves. Mature dogs can stay up to 4 hours by themselves.
Cats are generally a lot better when they are left to themselves. Although not much research has been conducting in figuring out long cats can stay by themselves, it is safe to say that cats can definitely develop separation anxiety if left alone for days at a time.
It’s best to start developing a certain routine during the summer so the transition into fall and winter routines is much easier. Your pets won’t be confused when instead of going out to play in the yard, and hours of playtime with their owners, their day is replaced with hours of solitude. Here are a few tricks to get you started in your “home-alone” training:
- You can start by teaching your pet to occupy themselves when you are in the house with them. One way to do this would be by play training. When you’re playing with your pet, have them settle down every two to three minutes, and then let them play again. These continuous interludes will allow the puppy to realize that a timeout does not necessarily mean a punishment. It just means a short break before they can play again. You can slowly work this up to longer periods of time as well.
- Another way to teach your pet to be left by itself could be by sending them to their bed often. Every now and then you can leave treats or a new toy on their bed, so that when they are sent to their bed later on, they will be cooperative, no matter what the outcome may be.
- Sometimes when you allow your pet to roam freely throughout your house with you, wherever you go, your pet make become overly dependent, thereby increasing their separation anxiety when you are not around. You could try confining them to a certain room in the house and letting them become comfortable with that room, and a few others if you choose. You could even throw in some of their favorite toys, so that once they realize they can’t leave the room, they will grow accustomed to their quiet surroundings.
- If you are a morning person and really like being active before starting your day, take your pet with you! The earlier you tire them out, the less bored and anxious they will be later while you’re away. Go for a quick walk or run before getting your family ready for the day.
- If you have a big backyard or do not mind having your pet run all around your house, you can set up a small obstacle course for them to busy themselves on. You can have random stuffed animals throughout your house for them to find and chew on or you can set up boxes and buckets outside for them to jump around in, or over, like an obstacle course. For cats, you can leave balls of yarn or scratch posts around the house.
If your pet really does not like being home alone, think about hiring a pet sitter or at least a pet walker that can spend some time with your pet so they don’t develop separation anxiety. You can even let them join a pet daycare – that way they won’t be lonely and can create new friendships with the other animals.
Any of these tips are great ways to teach your pet a few lessons on behavior. Of course, when you get home later in the day, they will be excited to see you, but as long as they are not upset at being left alone all day, their happiness is all that really matters. At the end of the day, only you can determine what is best for your pet and their well-being.
If you have any other ideas on the best way to deal with “home alone” situations, leave us a comment below and share your wisdom!
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