For the most part, your dog may have the run of the house when you’re around. Lounging up on the furniture or being able to follow you around from room to room can be great if you’re accustomed to being tailed wherever you go, but what happens when you have to step out? For an older dog in particular, who is used to being able to go where he pleases, it may be difficult to figure out how to keep him out of trouble when you’re away at work or school. This issue can arise if you’ve recently moved to a new home or have gotten a new piece of furniture that you’d rather keep out of reach of Fido for cleanliness purposes.
No matter what the reason is for wanting a confined area for your older dog to stay in for a certain length of time, it’s not too difficult to get both him and you accustomed to using tools to keep him safe and sound while you’re gone.
Depending on where you’d like your dog to stay while you’re out, a key thing to remember is that confining him to any area should be temporary only. This can mean while you’re at work or school or away running errands, but don’t expect to keep him shut away for the entirety of the day. Even older dogs need exercise and stimulation and it’s unfair to keep him in an enclosed area for longer than necessary.
Remember that some dogs may struggle with being away from you, which can cause separation anxiety or other behavioral issues. Consulting a behaviorist for more extreme cases may be recommended, but trying each of the methods to see what works best is usually the first step. The sooner you can begin to maintain a routine with your older dog, the better, though age doesn’t really matter. It should only take two to three days for him to realize where you expect him to remain for the time when you’re gone, as long as you’re being consistent and continue to offer opportunities to go out and take breaks.
Depending on the method you use, you may choose to purchase a crate or other items like baby gates or fences. Having a food and water bowl which you can have in your dog’s space is also recommended, while toys and treats can be an added plus. There is no set equipment for each method, but the key is comfort and accessibility. If your dog is hungry, thirsty, or bored, confinement can lead to larger issues. As long as his basic needs are being met, you can continue to use the method of your preference.