Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

Leaving Your Dog Unsupervised? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts

Dog Unsupervised - Happy Breath

A pet is a big responsibility. Whether it’s a cat, dog, or even a goldfish, making sure they are taken care of, are well-fed, and most importantly loved, take the owner’s energy and time.

Against this backdrop, pet owners have their lives too. With it comes the responsibility of running errands where you cannot take your pets along with you.

Leaving them unsupervised for a bit would seem like an ideal option. But leaving our furry friends alone also comes with a lot of guilt.

Ideally, your decision of leaving them unsupervised depends on a few things such as:

1) Age – If your dog is a puppy, say about 11-14 weeks, it is recommended to leave it unsupervised for 1-3 hours.  If your puppy 17 weeks or older, it can be left alone for 4-5 hours.

2) Breed­ – Low maintenance and peaceful dogs such as a Chow-Chow, French bulldog, or a Basset Hound can be left alone unsupervised for some time. However, if you have a dog that demands attention and loves being around people, such as an American Pitbull Terrier, then it may be a bad idea to leave them alone for a long stretch.

3) Its bladder control – Puppies need to be tended to after every two hours for peeing because their bladder capacity is not a lot. If you leave it unsupervised for a long time, it may wet its crate or places in your house.

4) Whether or not your dog has separation anxiety – You can see if your dog becomes extra hyper after you return home after leaving it alone for some time. This is usually a sign of separation anxiety, and you may want to establish a routine to normalize being unsupervised.

However, even if you have considered the above before leaving your dog unsupervised, you must ensure that they are appropriately taken care of and are not distressed by your absence. So what can you do to make sure your pet dog is taken care of? Here are some things you should do:

1) Do confine them: Kenneled dogs or dogs in the crate are a good way to leave them unsupervised for some time. You should prepare a bed and fill their water bowl to spend all their time inside, sleeping or lying.

2) Do leave their toys around: Before leaving, make sure your dog’s chewable toys are in front of them. So they can keep busy while you’re away. However, make sure some toys are that are not easily chewed or ingested as they may cause choking.

3)Do spend some quality time before leaving: If you suspect you will be leaving your furry friend for a long time, then try to spend some time beforehand by either taking them for a walk or playing with them.

4) Do hire a dog walker: Split time between leaving them unsupervised and handing them over to a dog walker. If you leave your dog daily for 6-7 hours, you can hire a dog walker to do a quick check-in. This way, your dog will be supervised for some time while you have been away.

5) Do keep a Food dispensing toy: These toys keep dogs busy and fulfilled. It is interactive and keeps dogs entertained at lengths. There are many types of food-dispensing toys you can choose from. Pick out its favorite one or one that is more interactive.

6) Do dog-proof the room: This is for its own safety, including the safety of your house. Lock the bathroom or put down any lids which may arouse their curiosity.

If you already knew the above do’s of leaving your dogs unsupervised, then read below for what you shouldn’t do. Knowing what not to do may ensure your dog’s safety in the long run.

1) Don’t leave them unsupervised for long: This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s good to reinforce it if you plan to leave for a longer time. You can begin by leaving them unattended for an hour and then gradually increase it to two hours. A good rule is to don’t leave them unsupervised for long at once.

2) Don’t leave them in unfamiliar places: You should not leave your dog unsupervised in an area that is not known to them. Doing so may distress them, which can make them destructive. Dog breeds known to be destructive can cause quite a stir if left alone in a new place.

3) Don’t leave out toys that can cause them to choke: This is true if your dog has many toys. These could be a ball, or a stick, or anything that can easily pass through their windpipe.

4) Don’t forget to hide the stuff that makes it curious: If you know what makes your dog curious, then hide them before leaving it unsupervised. For example, it could be the garbage can, kitchen utensils, or just about anything.

5) Don’t leave the main gates open: Always remember to keep your main gates locked, so there is no chance of your dog running away. If you have low-lying windows, then make sure they are also taken care of as you don’t want your dog to be missing when you return.

6) Moreover, leaving the TV on is not a good idea since your dog’s barks may subdue against the TV noise. You may leave it on mute if you want, but you should select things you know won’t make your dog unruly.

Bottom line

If your dog is well adjusted to being left alone for long periods, then you are lucky. However, if you plan on leaving them unsupervised, establish a routine and gradually progress. Consider these do’s and don’ts and make them a part of your routine.