The reason we’re so glad you are reading this is because the following information can be applied with puppies and adult dogs. Behaviour modification only gets more difficult with time so shaping your pup early is best.
It is the case for most that we can’t be home the entire time with our puppy. Work, holidays and emergencies happen. It is essential to ‘prepare’ your puppy to be left home alone in your absence. Having unrestricted access you to is lovely for your pup but if he has been used to this, separation can be horrible for him.
As Dr. Ian Dunbar explains, the only way you can train a pup or dog to cope with your absence is when you are home. This can be achieved by setting aside time where your pup is confined in his crate or play area in the same room as you to begin with and later to a different room than you. Dr. Dunbar impresses the importance of making that time for your pup enjoyable. Placing one or several puppy chew toys stuffed with food the moment he is placed in his pen or crate helps to compound the pay-off for being there. Something he only gets in these places is an ideal way to build that reward. The toys provide a task, entertainment and a way to settle down while he spends time in there. It won’t be long before he catches on to this routine and will even look forward to it (provided it is enjoyable).
The benefit is two-fold. Your pup learns how ‘not to fall apart’ in your absence, and you can leave the house without being racked by guilt. The following video is presented by Dr. Dunbar’s son Jamie who gives a beautiful explanation of the concept behind feeding a dog via chew toys. It is important that chew toys are either digestible or indestructible. He demonstrates with a hollow Kong (which we find lasts around a year for a regular chewer before it needs to be replaced). These can be purchased according to your puppy/dogs size, age and chewing capacity.
Do yourself a favour and enjoy this terrific presentation…
Leah & Angela O’Meara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Cares Brisbane)