Not every dog is used to being home alone and it can be a bit daunting for some dogs to be in charge of the whole house by themselves!

One way of starting off getting used to being left alone is to test the water first by doing a few mini training sessions before actually leaving for more than 10 - 20 minutes. Go through your routine of getting ready to leave the house and go out and return relatively quickly – you can also observe through a window if at all possible to make sure they are coping. To maximise your chances of your dog coping successfully there are a few things you can do:

  • Build up the time you leave your dog gradually will help them become more comfortable being left for longer periods.
  • You could leave a television or radio turned on for company. Classic FM is the radio station of choice of the dogs in the kennels!
  • Leave him with something to do while you are gone – you can watch the television, or play on your Xbox or read a book when you are bored – it’s exactly the same for dogs! Provide a couple of fantastically tasty chew toys stuffed with food (ask staff for chew toy stuffing tips). (We advise not leave your dog with chews such as Rawhide, as we recommend they should be supervised when chewing this).
  • You could also teach them to play ‘find the sweeties’ whilst you are gone, by hiding a few treats around the house for them to discover.
  • Close the curtains on windows that face out onto busy views to prevent alert barking.

If you come home and there has been an accident or your dog has chosen the wrong thing to play with, don’t tell them off as they will maybe associate your homecoming with being told off and in the long run it could make things worse. Think instead how you can set things up so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

The “he knows what he has done” or “guilty” look that owners often describe when coming home to their dog having done something; is regularly misunderstood by humans. Dogs do not have a moral compass to know what is right or wrong as we humans do. Their learning comes from behaviour, consequence and their experiences. What is often mistaken as a guilty face; is the dog showing they are expecting something negative to happen, such as being “told off”, and their “expression” is in anticipation of this and not about the tiny tinkle they may have done a few hours ago.