Everyone knows that as a loving dog owner you’d much rather be at home with your pet than sitting in an office chair. While spending all day long with your canine family member sounds much better than punching away at a keyboard, the reality is dog cookies cost real money. Until Fido learns how to make a living, that leaves it up to the human owners to bring home the bacon. Busy work and social schedules mean that your dog will inevitably need to be left on their own from time to time. Many dogs can find this scenario stressful. Concerned owners should take heart, however. There are a number of methods available for training your dog to be alone in their home with zero stress.
My partner and I adopted Babs during quarantine so we haven't had much of a chance to leave her by herself. We've ordered a crate but it's taking awhile to arrive. Should we wait to start training her to be on her own until we receive the crate or begin training? She hasn't shown signs of destruction while we're around but she does tend to whine when one of us leaves the house.
Hello Kailey, The easiest route to go would be to wait until the crate gets here, then practice alone time by crating her and going on walks or drives without her, in addition to practicing crate training while you are home. Doing it that way will allow her to get used to being alone for shorter periods of time and working up to longer periods of time - rather than jumping into being left alone for the full day. You certainly could try teaching her to be alone before the crate arrives - and part of whether you should depends on how long it should take the crate to arrive (3-5 days is worth waiting for, 2 weeks or longer I wouldn't wait). If you start teaching her to be alone, just be sure that she is left in a safe area since you don't want her to start destructiveness (that may not be an issue at this time, so why add it as an issue). Confining her to a dog-proofed room and keeping unsupervised time in there shorter at first to evaluate how she does, is the recommended way to practice alone time - such as confining her to a dog proofed bathroom, and leaving the house for just 10 minutes, returning and checking to see if she did well or was destructive. I also recommend giving her a dog-food stuffed chew toy, like a kong, while you are away to facilitate a good experience. One thing I do suggest practicing with her now, whether you begin crate training yet or not, is to teach her to stay on Place, and gradually work up to her being able to stay on Place for up to 1 hour at a time. When she can do Place for a long period of time, also work on her staying there as you enter and leave the room, and stay gone for longer periods. The practice of staying on Place obediently will ultimately help with things like impulse control, respect, and calmness - which also are good skills for being alone. Practicing staying on Place while you leave the room can help with a healthy amount of independence from you and confidence - which can also be good for preventing separation anxiety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Structured commands like Heel, waiting for permission before going through certain doors - like getting out of a car, going outside, ect... Down-Stay, and Wait are also great commands to begin to help pup develop the skills and routines to make alone time easier, and pup less anxious overall. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog keeps chewing up anything, from chairs to shoes, and of course the garbage. How do I train him out of it? Will it take time?
There are plenty of interesting toys for him to use on the floor.
Hello Kien, Yes, it will take time. He is in a very heavy chewing phase at seven months of age. You cannot stop a puppy from chewing, instead the goal is to teach them to chew their own toys instead and to prevent the unwanted chewing from developing into a lifelong habit. If you do that, then most dogs will grow out of it. First, help him learn to chew his own toys by making sure that they are available and by handing him one when he gets in an excited or bored state. It sounds like you already have plenty of toys. Second, if he is not already crate trained, crate train him, and whenever you cannot supervise him, put him into a crate or exercise pen, and give him a hollow chew toy stuffed with his dog food and a little peanut butter, liver paste, or soft cheese. The food will make his own toy more interesting so that he is more likely to chew that. It will also help him learn to prefer his own toys for chewing. For things around your home that he tends to chew over and over again, purchase "Bitter Apple" or "Bitter Mellon" spray and spray those items with it to make them taste bad, to discourage chewing. Work on teaching him the "Leave It' command and practice that command with household items as well, so that you can tell him to "Leave It" when you catch him trying to chew on something inappropriate. When he leaves that item alone, reward him with a treat and one of his own toys to chew instead. He will likely want to chew household items for the first year or two, getting gradually better with training and time. Keeping him supervised or confined is essential until he is old enough to stop chewing so much. This is also important for preventing potty accidents. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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