We've all seen the devastating video of the guy who strapped a GoPro to his dog while he left the house: for a lot of dogs, being left home alone can be incredibly distressing. While it's not something any pet owner should do too often, it is important to train your dog to manage when you're out of the house - and on the occasions when you're out a little longer than expected, why not try to make it up to the little guy? Here's how:
1. Take them for a walk
If your dog is particularly restless, make up for the lack of activity while you were out of the house with an extra-long walk, or (if your dog is particularly social) take them to a park or beach where there'll be plenty of other dogs to play with.
2. Spend some one-on-one time with them
Most dogs love a bit of extra attention, especially when they've been starved of it for a little longer than usual. (Sound familiar?) When being reunited with your dog, spend a good amount of time playing with them, cuddling them, scratching their belly and really just have a good bonding sesh. Your dog will thank you for it.
3. Teach your dog a new trick
Speaking of bonding - teaching your dog a new trick is a great way to do this. Not only can it strengthen your relationship, but it'll give your dog a new way to interact with you and to seek positive reinforcement.
4. Practise leaving
It might sound silly, but sometimes the reason dogs get so upset when their owners leave the house is because they truly don't know that you're coming back. Using simple commands like "sit" and "stay", practise leaving the house for a few minutes at a time while slowly increasing the amount of time you're away for. Soon your dog will learn to trust that each time you leave, you will return.
5. Consider doggy daycare
If you're finding work or other commitments are making it difficult to spend enough time at home with your dog, consider paying a professional to keep your dog company during the day. The opportunity to be social with other dogs and people is sure to have a positive impact on your furry friend.