Animals

This Is How Long Dogs Should Be Left Alone For Before They Lose It

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Have you heard of the movie The Secret Life of Pets?

If you haven't, it's about a terrier named Max and his other animal friends who live in the same Manhattan apartment building. When their owners head out for the day, Max and his buddies are nothing but bored. They throw parties, steal food from the fridge, climb through windows to hang with each other, rock out to heavy metal music, and set out on wild adventures through the city.

The animated film is surely entertaining, but it fails to address what actually happens in reality when you leave your pet home alone for long periods time.

The Secret Life Of Pets

While most canine owners train their dogs from a young age to be independent, they still experience some degree of separation anxiety every time they're left alone.

According to Alice Potter, pet scientist at the RSPCA, "the separation reaction is displayed soon after the departure of the owner, normally commencing within 30 minutes, and often within the first few minutes."

"The most common behavioural signs of separation-related behaviour are destructive behaviour often targeted at the door the owner leaves through, various types of vocalisations (howling, barking and whining), defecating and urinating," she added in an interview with DailyMail.

Potter reassures dog owners that the first 10 minutes of loneliness tend to be the worst, but behaviour for the remaining hours is dependant on the personality and breed of the pooch.

Besides recording your dog, there is no way of telling whether or not it suffers from severe separation anxiety issues, so it is recommended that you don't leave them without company for more than a few hours at a time.

Tamsin Durston, head coach at Dogs Trust Dog School told Metro that dogs shouldn't be left alone for more than 3 to 4 hours.

These numbers may not sound practical for owners who have to work full-time hours, but Durston suggests walking your dog before you leave so they feel tired and able to rest while you're gone. Creating a comfortable environment with your dog's favorite toy or blanket can also help with anxiety.

If you're able to break up your day and walk them after the recommended 4 hours, that should also help with your dog's stress. If you can't do it yourself, hiring a sitter or walker will make a difference.

For owners so have a tough time training their dog to stay alone, Durston recommends a crate filled its favorite toys and chews to "keep it occupied."

Correcting a dog's anxiety-related mistakes the traditional way like withholding treats doesn't seem to have worked for some owners instead they've resorted to public embarrassment as a form of punishment. Dog shaming may not be everyone's choice of behaviour correction, and it doesn't necessarily solve the problem but it makes for great online entertainment.  

Click on the next page for some hilarious dog shaming photos that prove that leaving a dog alone isn't always the best idea.

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