This week is ‘back to work proper’ for many, but often it is also a busy time for my dog behaviour practice too. Owners that have just got themselves a new pup or rescue dog, who are concerned about leaving the dog alone whilst they are at work.
It is a sad fact that ‘home alone’ dogs, particularly young puppies, do not do well. Being left alone for more than three to four hours means they lack essential social contact, developing nervous problems. They get bored and damage the house. They can become stressed at noises outside the home, or learn to bark at passers-by which certainly does not help the neighbours stay calm, either.
Older dogs may cope better, but if any of us were left day after day for hours at a time, with perhaps a brief visit and then left again, we might find ourselves becoming increasingly stressed and unhappy.
Dog walkers and dog daycare are available, but there is a cost involved. It’s still far lower cost than the expense of putting right a destroyed house or severe behaviour problem!
My appeal is for our local community to come together on this issue. If you have a puppy but are planning to leave him or her whilst you are at work, find a neighbour who would be keen to puppy sit for a while. Often many of us would love a dog but cannot cope with the cost and commitment, but that does not rule us out as sharing time with a dog for parts of the day.
Put a note up in the local shop if you would be willing, or why not use word-of-mouth to let neighbours know you’d be happy to help a home alone dog. Over to you!
Karen Wild is an APBC registered behaviourist and qualified dog trainer with 20 years experience. Her practice ‘Pawprint’ offers behaviour referrals for vet practices and puppy classes in the local area. Karen is a training and behaviour contributor for Dogs Today magazine and author of ‘What your Dog Wants’. To find out more visit www.karenwild.co.uk or call 01778 560465.