Critical Time for Alone Training
With most of us staying at home due to Covid-19, we are spending a lot of time with our dog(s). Although comforting for both human and pet, spending too much time together is prime breeding ground for separation anxiety and associated behavioral problems.
Everyone should practice daily alone training with their dog(s). The alone training can be as simple as taking a daily walk while leaving your dog(s) home alone.
An excellent resource to step you through alone training is Patricia McConnell’s booklet “I’ll Be Home Soon”.
Here are the basic guidelines to practice Alone Training.
Alone Training should be done at different times during the day so the dog does not associate a specific time of the day being left alone.
Place the dog in the crate.
Act like you are leaving the home – gather your keys, put on your coat, etc.
Do not say goodbye to the dog. Stay low key and calm.
Leave the home for 3-5 minutes being sure to return before the dog becomes stressed.
Upon returning, totally ignore the dog for 2-3 minutes.
Take off your coat, put away your keys, relax.
These behaviors show the dog your coming & going is nothing to get excited about.
When the dog is calm and not focused on you, give the dog some treats in the crate and provide a “good dog”.
Repeat this process daily, gradually increasing the time by a few minutes you are away from the home.
At any time the dog becomes stressed with your absence, step back by a few minutes on the next alone training session.
If the dog has an accident in the crate or destroys bedding, do not scold the dog. Stay low key, clean up the mess and return to alone training.
Generally, when the dog can be alone for 30-50 minutes with no stress, the dog should be fine being alone for longer times.
Remember our dog(s) rely on us to keep them safe and happy. Please prepare them for life after Covid-19.