Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty for leaving your dog at home? (raises hand). I have and I STILL feel owner’s guilt every time I leave for work or a social event (why should I have fun when my dog surely is miserable and anxiously waiting for my return?)
Although we would all prefer being stay-at-home fur mums & dads, let’s look at some options that may ease our feeling of guilt and won’t involve having to smuggle your dog to a party!
The weak link
So turns out we’re pretty weak, especially when faced with sad puppy eyes, begging for us to stay in for cuddles. We go to extra length to not make our pooches feel alone. We leave the TV or radio on, we buy them new toys and treats, we check on them with webcams, we ask a friend or neighbour to drop by to keep them company…
But it doesn’t stop there! The guilt follows us when we come back home and we now give in by letting them sleep on the bed (guilty!), not reprimanding them for something they usually would get in trouble for or giving them more food than recommended (guilty again!)
The good news is: if it all comes down to us (the weak link), WE can change it!
Did you say walkies?
Most dogs will be OK when left for a long period of time. That’s because they don’t have the same concept of time as us, they very much live in the present moment! Many will just sleep through, but you can do a few things to encourage them to relax.
If you have time for a walk before you leave the house, that’s great. Try and change it up to keep it interesting for your dog (new smells and sights), walk around a different block or go to a different park.
If you don’t have time for a walk and most likely will be coming home late that day, you can solicitate the services of a dog walker. Many offer different time slots, they can spend time with your dog at home as well as take them on amazing adventures.Your dog will also learn to expect the visit of his/her dog walker!
Healthy treats and enrichment
Do you feed your dog breakfast before you head to work? Why not make him/her work for it by using a dispensing feeding toy! Enrichment games with high rewards are a great way to keep your dog busy while you’re away.
Nothing wrong with spoiling your dog with some healthy treats if that eases your guilt! Stick to natural dog treats and healthy grub.
Enrichment games don’t need to be expensive: In those hot summer days, you can make a frozen block full of their favourite treats “trapped” in (kibbles, carrots, green beans). Guaranteed to keep your dog busy while you go about your business.
"The happiest place in the world"
Whoever thought about dog daycare sure must have been feeling the owner’s guilt hard! And we’re so thankful! If your dog does well with other dogs, doggy daycare is a great way to socialise! Your dog will not see the time go with this one and will have so much fun!
Make sure to do your research and select a daycare that offers more than just a play pen. Some, like Adelaide based Dogcity Daycare, really go the extra mile to keep your dog company and offer enrichment programs which are particularly helpful for puppies. They also serve Doggy Grub casseroles for lunch so of course we highly recommend them ;)
Am I a monster?
Are we bad fur parents for leaving our pets alone?
Let’s be honest, most dogs will prefer being in your company and feel that the “pack” is together but that doesn’t mean you should feel like a bad owner for leaving your dog at home. Unless they are puppies, dog should be able to stay alone without falling apart or becoming destructive.
However, if your dog has severe separation anxiety, we’ve got some handy tips for you and would recommend to talk to your vet or a behavioural trainer.
Have you ever felt owner's guilt? Let us know in the comments below what your best tips and tricks are to help ease the feeling!
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub