We’ve all done it: Swallowed our guilt and bid a sad farewell to our pooch… for a few hours so we could run errands or go to work. Yes, Fluffy and Fido would prefer we never leave their sides, but this is real life and we can’t bring our dogs everywhere we go. So, what can we do to make our exits easier on our furry friends — and on us? How can we minimize their anxiety until we come back? We ask the experts.
DON’T stay away too long.
If your dog isn’t used to you being gone, ease him into it. Start with quick trips to the grocery store, then gradually add an hour to your errands, then another, then another. “Like humans, dogs are able to adapt,” said Cesar Millan, aka the Dog Whisperer, a New York Times bestselling author of six dog books and the host of Cesar 911.
Most experts agree you shouldn’t leave your adult dog alone for more than eight to 10 hours, but some dogs (especially ones with small bladders) can’t last that long.
DO prepare your dog before you go.
We can sometimes be so busy that we forget, or don’t take the time, to give our dogs adequate exercise and a potty break before we head out the door. Sandi Laird, animal care director at Operation Kindness in north Texas, reminds that not every dog relieves herself the minute she walks outside.
If your dog has gone to the bathroom and had a walk, she’ll most likely want to rest in a comfortable spot where she recognizes your scent.
DON’T leave temptations within reach.
If getting into the garbage is your pups No. 1 hobby, make sure the trash can is hidden away.
If your dog has an affinity for chewing electrical wires, cover them up. If getting into the garbage is his favorite activity, keep the trash can hidden away or securely covered. Put all medications and cleaning products out of reach. “It’s helpful to have a selection of proper toys to keep your dog from getting too bored,” adds product developer Gary Castelle.
DO confine your dog if necessary.
Some dogs, especially high-anxiety ones, actually feel more relaxed if they’re inside a crate or in a room enclosed by baby gates. “Dogs like ends,” said Joel Silverman, host of the syndicated television series What Color Is Your Dog? If your dog is crated, make sure it’s for no longer than four to five hours at a time.
“People have all these negative feelings about crates, but many dogs prefer them,” insists Art Ortiz, the owner of DogFit Dallas and a mentee of Millan. “I call it ‘casa.’ It’s their house; it’s their zen pen.”
DO turn on the TV.
If you’re one of those people who thinks your dog prefers Animal Planet to opera while you’re away, go for it. “I have this one guy who always has (ESPN’s) SportsCenter on for his dog,” says Catherine Adamo, owner of Royal Oak Dog Walkers in Royal Oak, Mich.
DON’T set a bad example.
If you want your pup to be calm, don’t act nervous yourself. “If every time a human detaches from a dog he feels bad about it, how can the dog ever associate detaching with happiness?” Millan asks. “Your dog is sensitive to your energy and emotions.”
Information found on USAToday.com