When you introduce a dog to your home, you can quickly build a strong, loving relationship with your dog, and they will find real comfort in your company. However, it’s important for dogs to learn that it is ok for them to be on their own sometimes. We can’t all be with our pets 24/7 and making this a part of your routine can prevent your dog from becoming anxious when they are left alone.
When you’re introducing this training to your dog, it’s important to remember that every dog will move at a different pace, so make sure you progress at the speed that is right for your dog and never extend the training to the point where they become distressed. It might take small steps, but patience and time will pay off in the long run.
A safe space
Before you start, make sure your protection dog has a safe space of their own that they will feel content in by themselves. It might be their crate if you are crate training or a quiet area of your house with a bed, freshwater, a treat and some of their favourite toys.
Calmly does it
Protection dogs can pick up and feed off our emotions, so if they sense you are anxious about leaving them or you are making a big fuss about it, they will respond in this way too! When you have them settled in their safe space, quietly and calmly walk out of the room. If they stay calm and don’t leave their bed, return immediately and reward them with praise and a treat to build their positive association with this behaviour.
Slow and steady
Begin to gradually increase how long you leave them for, at a pace that is right for your dog. If all they can manage at first is a couple of minutes maximum each time, that’s ok! This is where patience will pay off in the long run. If your dog does begin to react or moves from their bed when you leave, make sure you don’t fuss or reward them, but do not punish them either, as you could confuse them and teach them to feel negative every time you leave them. Instead, go back a stage to the time length where they coped with you being away and praise them again.
Over time, your protection dogs will become accustomed to being left alone, and once your dog is content at being left alone for an hour, they should be able to manage longer periods. This style of training often means your dog will choose to go to their safe space of their own accord too, as they will associate it as somewhere they feel content and comfortable.
If you’re looking for residential dog training you can rely on, get in touch with us today.