I saw my neighbour walking his daughter to school yesterday, and it gave my heart a lift. Even though we don’t have exact dates, it feels like we’re starting to see a return to normality.
Soon all our kids will be back at school, and we’ll be able to get back to work, rather than being stuck in the house.
Whilst good news for us, it’s going to be a difficult time for our puppies. They’re going to be home alone!
All their life has been spent in your loving company. You’ve been there all day every day for them. Now, though, they’re going to be left alone for long periods.
And they won’t be happy. There’s going to be fretting, chewing, barking, wailing, and gnashing of teeth (literally!).
Here’s a simple five step plan to help you get them ready for being home alone.
Improve their confidence – teach them that it’s ok to be at home by themselves. Leave them in their usual space, go somewhere they can’t hear you (outside is best) and then return once they’re quiet. Start small. A few minutes at a time. Build it slowly until you can be away for 20 minutes. Once they’re confident you will come back, extend the time further, maybe even go and do your shopping.
Socialise them – your puppy’s first year’s experiences have a huge impact on their temperament and character. What seems normal to us, can look terrifying to your puppy. Get them used to people and other dogs as well as experience things like traffic and loud, sudden noises. A walk with a dog walker will get the pup used to new people and other dogs whilst having a good run about.
Develop a routine – like babies, puppies need routine. Develop a routine for meals, walks, play, and sleep. Make sure it’s flexible, especially for busy households, otherwise your puppy may become anxious any time it’s changed. And your puppy needs to rest as well as play. So, after playing or walking, let your dog lie and rest without interruption. This teaches them how to ‘chill’ by themselves.
Take them out in the car – when we’re able to travel again, you’ll want to take them further afield. Take them for short journeys first so they get used to the motion. Again, build up the distance slowly. And remember to reward good behaviour. It may also be good to book them in with your intended dog walker to experience a journey in their van.
Organise doggie day care – Get your puppy used to the people who will be helping you with them. Book your puppy in to doggy daycare or for an adventure with your dog walker every now and then. The earlier you do this, the more comfortable your puppy will become, and it’ll be a much easier transition for them when you’re not around 24/7.
If you need any advice on your puppy, feel free to get in touch and I will give you tips or put you in touch with someone you can speak to.