Are you among the people tempted to think that only the unemployed and wealthy should own a dog? You are not alone. Many people fret over the idea of owning a Lab because they don’t know if it can be left alone. With your busy lifestyle of work and social life, having a dog as a family addition needs some key tips. Learn on the best way to navigate this maze, so as to enjoy life with a canine companion.
Labradors are a happy and playful dog breed. They get attached to their family members so much. Can they thus be left alone? Yes, ONLY IF you put in place some tips over time. They are very susceptible to separation anxiety, especially during their puppy stages. Because of this, leaving them alone needs more than just shutting the door and heading out.
Tips for leaving your Lab alone
Tire them out
You know that labs love and need lots of physical activity, right? They can’t stay without exercising as they will get bored and accumulate excess weight. To avoid this, having a good work-out routine is recommended.
Get up 30-45 minutes earlier than usual to take a morning run. With your happy Lab accompanying you, it will get enough exercise for those minutes. Remember, when you have a puppy you should aim to avoid straining it. The Lab’s bones are still growing, and you do not want to expose it to abnormalities. The Labrador retriever is prone to getting many joint diseases.
Once the Lab has been out running, you can come home and expect it to sleep most of the day.
Leave it in a crate
If you train your Lab how to use a crate, you won’t regret it. This is an essential step in teaching your dog to settle. Dogs have a natural inclination to live in a den. A crate is like this function, offering your Lab a safe space. Your pooch will love the extra comfort that comes with their space. You can put its favorite toy nearby and a warm mat inside.
If you are personally against crating your canine, leave it in an open room. Be sure to leave nothing harmful around as the dog can get hurt. Collect all your dog’s toys and put them in the room then leave it inside. After the morning run, your canine will probably sleep all day or wake up to play.
Leave enough food for your dog
Who doesn’t know how much a Labrador retriever hogs on food? They eat anything and everything. No wonder you should always be checking for signs of being overweight. If you will be leaving, ensure your doggy has enough food and water in their bowl. Otherwise, you will hear your dog howling from miles away on your way back
You can opt to have automatic food dispensers than dispense food at set intervals. This way, you are sure that your pooch is well-fed with the portions you are comfortable with. A kong is a great idea of a food-dispensing tool to use. Freeze some treats or food overnight in the kong and give the dog as you leave. It is engaging and fun to use for your Lab. Your pooch will still get the food needed, as they have fun moving around and figuring out how to get the food out.
As you leave the canine food, be sure to keep foods like garlic and onions away. They pose real harm to your dog when ingested. You can get a full list of foods to avoid giving your Labrador retriever here.
Give it access to the bathroom
From 3 months old, Labrador retrievers can stay 3 hours without going to the bathroom. You, however, do not want to get your fancy carpet soiled when gone. If you have caged your pooch, leave the cage door open to give it bathroom access.
Don’t be quick to think your dog will respond positively to being left alone. A sign of separation anxiety is wetting in the wrong places.
Keep it mentally stimulated
A rule of the thumb, a bored dog is a destructive dog. Aside from the kong toys mentioned earlier, you need to get more stimulating items. You can choose some puzzles for your dog or a maze dog bowl. The latter is a two in one. It is mentally stimulating and regulates food by releasing it in bits. These toys will fascinate your pooch so much and tire him out more. The toys give your Lab a feeling of excitement and involvement, and it will hardly feel alone.
Don’t wave goodbye or get too excited when back
So you want to leave. Your dog has already started sensing it by observing your cues. The next step is you will see your pooch hiding your car keys.
If you want an easy time when you leave, avoid having an obvious routine. You can begin by taking your car keys and coat minutes before your actual departure. Sit on the couch without going for a while. This way, your Lab will not add the dots. After some time, walk straight ahead and leave. No goodbye kisses.
Hard as it may sound, kissing your pooch goodbye heightens its separation anxiety to the peak. Once you come home, don’t go all out celebrating your return. The Lab will associate the time you leave as sad and the time you come as a happy time. This imbalance should not be there at all.
Have a dog walker
Take advantage of the many apps today that are offering dog walking services at a fee. In the evenings, when you aren’t back yet, your dog can spend time with someone else and exercise. Dog walkers save the day as they boost your dog’s social skills. Labradors are friendly anyway, and may not reject a new dog walker. It will take a few instances, and they will be well acquitted.
Consider using a pet monitor
This is what we love technology for. For you who can’t stand the thought of imagining what your dog is doing all day, invest in this. The pet monitors are a great buy as they offer all the video at the tap of your device. You can watch your dog move from place to place and watch its activity. Pet monitors have a wide range of services. Aside from video footage, some allow you to speak to your dog through their audio function. Others have motion sensors that allow you to know where your dog is.
Give your neighbors a heads-up that you leave your dog
It is precautionary to mention that you leave your dog in the house to someone else. This could be your savior in the case of an emergency. At the back of your neighbors’ minds, they will keep an eye and ear at all times. They can even report to you if your pooch has been howling all day or extremely quiet. In the worst-case scenario of things like fire, your dog can be rescued by the neighbors.
Lock your gate
When bringing a new lab home, your seller may have mentioned how friendly this breed can get. This is to the extent of welcoming strangers. Whereas we don’t wish for anything bad to happen, anyone willing to harm or steal your dog can have it easy. Have your gate locked for safety purposes.
Leave only your bathroom and other inaccessible room windows open. The labs are intelligent and can figure out a way to escape if you stay too long. Windows and open gates are the first routes that make this possible.
Start slow as you increase the hours
You need to start leaving a lab for a few minutes, an hour, and more hours. Using this progressive style allows your dog to adjust with ease. Leaving your dog for eight hours should be the most amount of time you should try. Any longer and it can have detrimental effects on your pooch. You do not want a dog feeling neglected and depressed.
Activities to do when you get back
- Give it treats to reward it for being home alone.
- Groom your dog as you check for any possible injuries on its body.
- Play with your dog. A simple game like fetch can be rejuvenating. You should not run out of ideas for fun indoor games when you have these suggestions. Have dinner together.
The truth is, when you own a dog, you can’t promise to be by their side all the time. Some things, you can only make up for. You can be sure to keep bonding with your pooch in the best ways possible. Even as you both wait for the weekends and vacation days, find a balance by employing the tips. With time and the Labrador’s easy adaptability to change, you will get a system that works for you. Learn more about Labrador retrievers on our blog.