When Joan came home that night she was tired, hungry and ready to relax. The day was long. She has been going from meetings to meetings and then it was month end and she had to finish some paperwork. She felt bad because she was always looking forward to come home to Zig, her lab-terrier cross. Going for walks together in the evening was a source of joy and a great work out for both. But her workload had increased over the last month and her energy level dropped. The walks have been shorter and the play time with Zig had become almost a chore.
When she came home that day, all the pillows where on the floor, the trash was upside down with the content all over the kitchen floor. Zig was laying on his mat, tail wagging ready for a walk. She felt guilty, angry and frustrated…. and tired.
This might be a scene familiar to some of you. When you work long hours, the quality time spend with your dog drop and your dog start acting out. Ideally taking your dog to work with you would be great but not all work places allow it.
A dog that spend to much time alone will get bored, can get depressed and will let you know: This is when some unwanted behaviors can start showing up such as separation anxiety, fearful guarding behaviors (increasing barking) or your high energy dog is keeping herself busy in the house. Coming home to a disaster every evening is not fun for you and a sign your dog needs attention.
Hiring a dog walker is a step in the right direction. However if you have to be away for a long hours, using the service of a dog day care might be more helpful.
Day Care is a Great Alternative to Dog Home Alone
Dog day cares offer a safe setting for play interaction, human interaction, break time and walks. The idea is similar in many ways to children day care for working parents and was adapted to our 4 legged friends. The result is often a calmer dog and a more relaxed human.
Day care centers varie in the way they will cater to your dog. They range in prices and activities available. Some will have special rooms with couches, TVs, outdoor /indoor playgrounds. Others are more luxurious and offer swimming pool , grooming, therapy and other services catered to dogs. Some have video cameras connected to a computer and you can check on your dog from work.
Is Doggie Daycare Right for Your Dog
If your dog is shy, fearful or anxious, it might feel overwhelming and doggy day care may not be for him. This is a bit like a dog park. There is a lot going on. It is tempting to say that a dog not comfortable in a dog park setting might not enjoy a day care facility. But my dog does not enjoy going to the park so much but always loved going to day care.( I use to call it kindergarden ).
And some centers are especially set up for this kind of dogs. They offer smaller rooms with only a few dogs and more human interaction. I have seen places where the staff are so devoted to the dogs that they allow the ones that needs it it to stay in the office with them.
You may have to visit a few before you find one suitable to your needs. Always start with and interview where you can ask a lot of questions and have a tour of the facility.
You should also be able to drop off your dog for a few hours only to start with. She can get to know this new environment and people and feel more comfortable when left there for a full day.
What to look for when choosing a day time facility for your dog
For Joan, taking Zig to doggie day care was a great move. Two times a week on Tuesdays and Thursday, they both live together for work. She drop him off at 7.30am and he barely look back, happy to meet his new friends. When she picks him up at 5.30pm he is ready to go home, happy to see her, and curl up in the back seat of the car quickly asleep.
Worried about your dog home alone? Find out how you can help your dog feel safe and out of trouble when you are away
Free video series - The Happy Dog Home Alone Plan Get it here
Tags: anxious dog, Solve dog behavior problems