Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Adjust Your Puppy to Alone Time

Is there anything more irresistible in life than a warm, fuzzy, sweet puppy? Squirmy, playful, and innocent as a newborn there’s no better way to pass the time than to watch a puppy play, jump, sleep, breathe…just about anything! We understand the difficulty of actually getting up off the floor and leaving your puppy’s side to brush your teeth let alone leave the house. That said, we also understand alone time is a pivotal step in a puppy’s maturation process and crucial to healthy development. In order to prevent separation anxiety down the line for both you and your pet, we have outlined some baby steps and tips to help you confront the issue with minimal effort.

But Wait! Before you begin, make sure that your baby dog has had a recent potty break and some food in the ole’ belly so that if puppy starts whining, you know it’s not for those reasons.

Puppy Play
Engaging your precious little pal in games and activities that work both their expanding minds and muscles is just as essential to their overall well-being as food and bathroom breaks. If you don’t want your pooch to be upset, you need to provide them with an outlet. Romp in the yard, play fetch, try training techniques like Morris K9 Campus’s puppy on-off leash class; all activities that get your puppy’s body moving and their brain thinking. If you provide this activity before leaving, they will be exhausted and less likely to be upset. If you engage your puppy after you’ve been away it proves you will return and a reward is on the way. It’s a win-win!

Photo courtesy of Barely Fitz
The Crate is Your Best Friend!
Andrea Arden, animal behavior counselor and pet expert suggests taking advantage of your growing pup’s need for ample rest time by adjusting your dog to sleeping in a crate. In the beginning, keep the crate close to you or other family members. Gradually move the crate further and further away over the course of a few weeks. Need to get some chores done around the house? Want to try that new workout DVD? Place puppy in the crate and tackle your to-do list with vigor! Your puppy will probably whine which is normal in the beginning. Simply listen to music or turn up the volume on your workout DVD. Don’t forget, you also deserve your own attention as well! After 30 minutes to an hour, let your pooch out. This demonstrates to your dog that after a certain extent of time, you will return, which will ease their little minds.
Note: Baby gates placed in designated areas can often be just as useful.

Photo courtesy of Bowi the Boxer
When life calls and you must leave, toys can take your place amazingly well! Just make sure they are safe toys that won’t cause a choking hazard (for more information read our blog article The Hunt for the Best Dog Toy). Kongs® filled with treats can be appetizing and engaging and chew toys can aid in the teething process.

We understand that raising a puppy is both a joyously wonderful experience as well as a little overwhelming. If you follow these tips both you and your puppy will be better for it. If you need more assistance raising your puppy, Morris K9 Campus is standing by and eagerly waiting to lend a paw.

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