Leaving my dog is really hard on him, is there anything I can try to help him when I go back to work in January?

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Leaving your dog at home again after Christmas is hard to do. Even if you come back at lunchtime or have a dog walker organised, it can be challenging for your dog to adapt to a quiet home again after a busy and noisy Christmas. If you work at home, your dog can still object to you settling down to work in another room so here are a few things you could try to help him adjust:

  • Taking your dog for a walk in the morning rather than just letting him go in the garden.
  • Longer lasting chew treats or food dispensing toys can be very handy as a distraction for when you leave. Making as little fuss as possible when you go also helps.
  • Making sure he’s got a warm, comfortable bed to relax in, either away from any windows that overlook a road or lane if he is easily distracted or with a good view if he prefers to keep watch.
  • Try leaving the radio on, the noise may help distract him from other outside disturbances.
  • Disable your doorbell and mute your home phone if these are normally triggers for your dog.
  • Sticking to an easy routine that suits you and your dog will help him to handle the day.
  • Destructive or stress related behaviours (marking or chewing for instance) will signal if he’s not coping for the length of time you’re leaving him for.
  • Leaving the house a bit earlier and waiting outside the front door for a few minutes so you can hear if your dog is settling down. Some dogs will need you to help them settle a few times before you can leave properly but this should lessen over time.
  • Testing out a doggie cam, or monitor app for your phone will let you see what your dog is up to when you’re not there and some will even let you speak to him too.

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