What Should We Do With The Dog When We Are Going Away? – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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What should you do with your dog when you are away? It depends…

If you are going to be gone for a short time, a dog can be left unsupervised in the home, dog crate, or home dog kennel. If a dog is untrained, meaning the dog is likely to urinate or defecate in the home, destroy the home, or has unresolved behavioral problems, then the dog should be in a dog crate or kennel. If the dog is trustworthy in the home and is house trained, well mannered, and without behavioral problems, then the dog can be left in the home. Young dogs, under 2 years of age, are rarely capable of being left alone unsupervised in the home. I am NOT a supporter of leaving dogs unattended in the yard. Too many dogs are harmed this way. Some hurt themselves. Some escape. Some are attacked by other animals or animal abusers. It is also not acceptable to leave a dog in a place that isn’t safe for a dog, such as a garage. Garages are for cars, not dogs. I really shouldn’t have to explain that to you.

If you are going to be gone for a longer period, such as all day for work, then a dog can be kept in the home, in a dog crate, home dog kennel, or doggie daycare. It isn’t healthy for a dog to be left for long hours alone. It harms them emotionally and physically to be overly restricted. Dogs can get stir crazy just like people, and develop a wide variety of behavioral problems that can be very difficult to turn around. And dogs need to be housed in environments that meet their needs to sleep comfortably, eat, drink, play and explore. There are creative ways to set up your home to meet these needs.

I am a big believer in doggie daycare. Dogs that are sociable, or that can be made sociable, do better if they are housed with a lot of other friendly, supervised, vaccinated dogs. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and suffer when left alone for long periods, day after day, month after month. I have numerous students that pay for daily daycare (typically full days, Monday through Friday) for their dogs, and these dogs generally are the best behaved, calmest, easiest dogs I know of. Yes, it is a big investment, but you almost always see the benefits within a month. On the other hand, some dogs are not sociable with other dogs, have health issues that make it impossible to use daycare, or are too young for daycare (under 4 months of age). For those dogs, it is worth hiring a dog walker to come by, to visit and play with your dog, and to allow your dog the opportunity to urinate and defecate.  I am NOT a believer in using professional kennels for dogs, where the dogs are caged almost the entire time. That is very stressful, causing both lasting emotional and physical problems with a dog. Professional kennels, including veterinarian run kennels, that don’t also have daycare play groups (where the dogs are allowed to play together, supervised, for most of the day), should always be used as a last resort. Another last resort is leaving your dog at the home of a friend or relative. Many tragic accidents happen in these circumstances. Especially incidents of escape, attack, abuse, and neglect.

Even with all this, you still might not know how to do this with your dog. If not, then it is time to hire a professional dog behaviorist to provide you with specific advice.