Pet Safety for Leaving Dogs Alone
The leaves are dropping and pumpkin patches are popping up signaling that Fall is in the air. With Fall, comes back to school for the kids, Holidays, which means more traveling, and a little more time for the dog to be by himself.
Some dogs are loafers. They are fine with being home with the couch all to themselves for the day. But other dogs are more prone to owner separation anxiety. Puppies, adopted, or rescued dogs are especially delicate when it comes to being alone. Dogs that have recently undergone a traumatic experience are also more prone to separation anxiety.
This not an pet safety issue of lack of house training or weak discipline.
Dogs are ancestrally pack animals, and you are their ‘pack leader.’ When you leave the house, there is a loss of structure that dogs live by. This can lead to destructive behavior.
Chewing furniture, using the bathroom inside, making escape attempts, and pacing are all symptoms of separation anxiety. If you come home to a destroyed house, your dog could be experiencing separation anxiety.
This article will outline good pet safety habits to establish with your dog or puppy to curb the destruction, and make them feel more safe when you leave.
Use Therapy Music
We found a great YouTube channel called Relax My Dog.
The channel is dedicated to composing music that is structured to naturally calm a dog down during owner absence. The music is also useful during fireworks or any other times of increased stress.
The playlists work for different kind of events to help a dog sleep, or 9 hour playlists you can play at a low volume when you are away from home.
The music works with sweep technology that is designed for calming and soothing your restless puppy. High-pitched noise is woven into the melodies which acts like a dog whistle holding your dog’s attention. The music is safe and comforting for dogs.
Experiment with playing the music first in a neutral setting when you are at home with your dog, then leave it playing while you’re gone. Behaviorally, dogs will show you if the music is calming for them.
Using therapy music is a good alternative to prescription medication and can be used as a useful remedy for calm pet safety.
What’s that Smell? Can’t You Smell that Smell? No, I’m Relaxing
Many pet owners and canine experts are recommending aromatherapy for dog parents. Aromatherapy has been used for human relaxation for thousands of years, but only recently have pet safe essential oil infusions been used to calm our pets down.
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic inhalation or topical application of pure essential oils. Essential oils are made from a concentration of raw plant matter like lavender.
The idea is to use aromatherapy to calm dogs with a naturally calming botanical scent that is a reinforcement of behavior modification. Dogs interpret the world with their noses.
If you introduce the scent during a relaxing time, the dog will associate the scent with the relaxation, and will have a positive Pavlovian response.
Spray their coat or bandanna with a aromatherapy treatment product. First in a neutral calm setting, then later–30 minutes before you leave the house.
When using essential oils with pets it is important to dilute the oils with water. Dogs have a much stronger nose than humans. What smells good to us, might be agitating to them. Practice good pet safety by using healthy ratios and diluting essential oils with water.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offers great smelling and relaxing products we use on our own pets.
I am Leaving on a Jet Plane, but I Will Be Back Again
Owner separation anxiety could be stemming from the way you are handling your departure. If you make a big spectacle before leaving, and over-shower your dog in affection, this will make your absence more dramatic. It also makes your dog think your leaving is the end of the world. and teaches them to make a big deal of you leaving by mirroring your behavior.
Make a swift exit.
A simple scratch on the head and repeating a simple calming phrase is the best way to leave the house for pet safety. Just give them a quick pet or scratch on the head and say the same calming phrase. “I’ll be back soon,” or “See you later,” works because of course your dog can’t understand the English.
The tone of your voice and the repetition of the phrase is what your dog infer, and get them to relax when you leave. I tell my dog “Hold down the fort,” every time I leave in the same relaxing tone.
The same issue creating separation anxiety of making a huge deal when you leave is also making a big deal when you come back home. When your first steps into the door are greatly emphatic you are reinforcing bad behavior. Dogs act like you leaving is the end of the world.
When you get home the apocalypse is over.
To reduce the pressure of your absence, get your puppy to relax before giving them attention. Ignore them when they jump up, or bark. If you have to, turn your back when they jump up so they know this is not good behavior.
Get your dog to sit, or lie down on their bed before you praise or pet them. Once they are calm they will get the attention they deserve. This calming reinforcement will make your arrival less significant and your absence less tense.
Walk Your Dog Before Leaving
Dogs need lots of exercise. Depending on the breed of your dog, they may need a little, or a lot. Smaller breeds like Pomeranian or Maltese may only require a down the block. Larger breeds like Dalmatians of Bloodhound will need at least 30 minutes.
Your dog not only needs the exercise, but a walk will also cure their insatiable need to smell every scent in the world.
Taking a trip to the dog park is also a great idea. This gives your dog free reign to enjoy the smells, play with other dogs, or try and get other dog owners to pet them. You can also play tug-of-war with a safe rope for good pet safety exercise, and alleviate puppies who are teething.
If you walk your dog 30 minutes before you leave, then feed and hydrate them when you get back–they’ll probably be too sleepy to miss you too much.
Remember. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Whether your dog is suffering from owner separation anxiety, is bored, or has simply picked up some bad habits along the way, use these tips as a guideline for pet safety and a happier doggie.
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