Tuesday, August 7, 2012

City Dog: Balance of Bringing Your Dog vs. Leaving them Home

When I first adopted Miss M, we were lucky enough to have an entire summer together before I started my new teaching job. This was a summer spent of numerous daily walks, farmers markets, and lots and lots of quality time. Little did I realize how this would be a problem when I started teaching and I would be gone all day.
Since then we've been very aware of balancing spending a lot of time with our pooches and making sure they independent on their own. So even though we do love showing all the things we can do with our big dogs, here is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the not-so-exciting things we do to make sure they are still comfortable on their own.

Establish Routine
This is something we make sure to do with all of the foster dogs we've brought in. Even if we're home, we keep the routine of eating breakfast, going on the morning walk, then each pooch goes to their separate crates for bed. We hide in another room so they get accustomed to being on their own and not having us there.

Loving when You Leave
 Miss M actually loves when we leave and is always trying to make us go away if we're taking too long. We have conditioned her giving her an ultimate kong  when we leave for the day. We go through the routine of having them go to their beds, we give them the frozen kongs which take longer to eat, then we slip out the door unnoticed. The frozen kong is like a mental puzzle which does leave them tired by the time they're finished and ready to sleep.

An Unexciting Return 
 Whenever we come home we completely ignore the dogs for at least 10 minutes and go around doing our typical things. We don't want to get our dogs overexcited for our arrivals and departures and just make it a normal thing that we'll be coming and going.

These are just some things that have worked for our dogs, but we know some dogs do have extreme anxiety when left alone. What are some other things you do to make your pooch comfortable on their own?

PS. Making former foster  Little Red Wilma comfortable in her crate


Anonymous said...

Mom and dad have a "safety phrase" for us. When they walk out the door, they say, "Guard the house!" This lets us know that they're gonna be gone for a little while but not to worry cuz they'll be back!

Wiggles & Wags,

PeeS. Miss M is so expressive! LUVS that 2nd picture.

Taylor G said...

We trained Mugsy from day one that his kennel is his "home". He gets a treat everytime he goes in and quickly gets comfortable. If he isn't coming along we try to put him in there 5 to 10 minutes before we leave so there is a gradual change. If we will be out for awhile we try to get him extra tired so we don't come home to a surprise ( however that doesn't always work)

My Two Pitties said...

I always ignore my dogs when I come home too and now they don't even get off the couch when I come in which I love! I walk into the room and their tails are wagging like crazy but they never get off the couch. I wait a while and then go over for kisses. It's an awesome way to come home...I don't like over-excitment either!

Anonymous said...

We do a similar routine with our dogs (including fosters), although Polly Pocket has nixed the crating part because she goes nuts in there. So instead, we leave her with a frozen kong free in the house (our dogs are crated) and slip out the door while she's distracted. It seems to work pretty well. Frozen Kongs are a lifesaver!

Two French Bulldogs said...

your expressions kill us
Benny & Lily

Blueberry's human said...

I do something like that - I hide treats for Blueberry and let her "find them" as I am going out the door. That way she looks forward to my leaving because that means she gets to hunt treats. She doesn't react much when I get home, at least in the first few minutes - then she is happy but not completely out of control. That's mostly all her though - I cannot take credit for that as she was like that when I first got her from the rescue, I've just reinforced whatever someone else taught her.

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