Home Alone Dogs.
In times gone by, dogs spent most of their lives outdoors and thought of as tools of the trade for herding and hunting. Only now, in modern times, do dogs live indoors and regarded as family members. However, dogs are frequently expected to fit in with a busy human way of life and many become home alone dogs. Read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more.
For some dogs, being left alone for long periods can be very stressful. Indeed, the aim of any responsible owner should be to avoid leaving their dog home alone for extended periods of time.
All our approved Holidays4Dogs carers never leave their guest dogs home alone for more than 2 – 3 hours at a time. We do not accept carers who have commitments which might compromise our premium dog care service.
Some dogs cope better than others with being left alone. Others can suffer from acute separation anxiety if they are left alone for only a few minutes. Of course, dog owners need to be able to leave their pets at home sometimes. It is not always practical to be with your dog 24/7.
However, increasingly, people are embarking on dog owning when they already have full time jobs. This frequently ends in disaster, particularly if the dog purchased, is a young puppy. Many dogs are given up for adoption, or re-homed, for this reason.
Because people often regard their pets as having human-like qualities, they imagine their dog will be capable of amusing and entertaining themselves. Perhaps peacefully reclining in an armchair, for example, awaiting the return of the family.
However, a study by Bristol University tells a very different story. The evidence gathered, suggested the stress dogs suffer when left alone, is more acute than most owners realise.
What constitutes too long?
Many people do leave their dogs in all day, five days per week. Owners may believe their dogs are happy with this arrangement.
However, puppies in particular, need a great deal of time. Socialisation, feeding and house-training routines all take up a lot of time during the day.
It is a fallacy to imagine that because you may be able to provide a fun-filled weekend of walking, your dog will be happy home alone for the working week. This really is unfair on the dog. Even walking the dog after work is not an ideal solution. After a long day at work, walking the dog after dark and in the rain won’t appeal to many.
Re-homing centres and breeders.
These are all reasons why most rescue centres, or responsible puppy breeders, will not re-home to full-time workers. If you do have a lot of work commitments, but still want a dog, you could consider an older rescue dog.
However, do bear in mind older dogs still need to relieve themselves and stretch their legs in the garden. Also, rescue dogs may already have behaviour issues, so you will need to be honest about your working patterns.
Of course, nobody lives in an ideal world and circumstances change. The current economic climate means that many people – all members of the family – have to work full time. As a result, the family dog will have to stay at home for far longer than he is used to.
There are some approaches that can help dogs with separation anxiety. However, this is most definitely not a quick fix and you are likely to need the help of a trainer, or behaviourist.
In these circumstances, finding someone reliable who can come in and spend some time with the dog once, or twice a day, is sometimes a satisfactory solution for some dogs.
Possibly, a member of the family may consider having the dog while you are out? Occasionally, it might be possible to ‘dog share’ – some owners have successfully managed to split the care of their dog with another family, which means that both families get the benefit of having a dog, without the full time commitment. However, this very much depends on the temperament of the dog. Alternatively, is it possible to take your dog to work? More and more small companies are becoming accepting of dogs in the workplace.
Sometimes, the fairest solution for the home alone dog is to place him in an environment much more suited to his needs – which may mean making the difficult decision of re-homing him, or her.
If you work full time and are considering getting a dog – please consider some of the issues raised here. The consequences of leaving a dog home alone while you work all week, can be expensive and challenging, as well as stressful for the dog.