the house can make you feel guilty when it means you have to leave your dog
alone. If leaving them alone makes you feel bad, you're not the only one. Many
people do. Although many dogs do just fine on their own, it's only
natural to feel guilty when they whimper and look at you with those big puppy
dog eyes. But life goes on and sometimes we don't have choice.
It's a busy world. And like most of us, you've got places to go, things
to do and people to see. Whether you're off to work, school or shopping,
or even out for a nice dinner and a movie, chances are you spend time
away from home. And sadly, much of the time out means that your dog
cannot come along.
Dogs have very little to occupy their time while you're gone, especially if
they're the only pet in the household. (We're their entertainment.)
Some dogs seem content to nap away their day while you're away. Other
dogs have a much harder time coping with the situation when they're home all
alone. These dogs can suffer from boredom, stress or separation anxiety.
So how do you know if your dog is unhappy about being left alone?
Some dogs make it quite obvious by leaving a trail of destruction behind.
You could return home to find your furniture or personal belongings chewed up,
the garbage ransacked, paper or pillows chewed to shreds, or you may find that
your dog has vomited, urinated or defecated in the house. Some dogs eat
everything in sight when you're away, and others flat-out refuse to eat.
Some dogs groom themselves incessantly to calm their nerves. Others
vocalize their dissatisfaction by howling, whining and barking while you're
away. (And if you have neighbors nearby, you're sure to hear about it!)
If your dog is bored, anxious, depressed or destructive while you're away, take
a cue from science and give them some “environmental enrichment.” No, it's
nothing to do with recycling (although that's good too), but rather filling
your dog's environment with interesting things that keep him occupied. When you
give your dog plenty of fun things to do and see, his unhappy time alone can be
transformed into a very satisfying day. Here are some suggestions:
Hire a dog walker
Invest in doggy day care
Leave plenty of safe, fun toys for your dog (like puzzle toys that
you fill with treats)
Tire him out with some active play before you go