What Do Dogs Do When They are Alone at Home?

While we might not be leaving the house much this year (let alone going on summer vacation trips! there is still the chance that a small weekend getaway with friends might cross your path. Or maybe all this time at home has you wondering if your dog is truly enjoying your constant company (do they need alone time?) What do dogs do when they are alone at home? Let’s talk about it!

What Do Dogs Do When They’re Alone at Home

You come home from a long day in the office, or after a grueling stretch of classes to find your dog bounding up to see, almost knocking you over in the process. It’s one of life’s great feelings, coming up to your furry best friend. Then you start to think, if they’re this excited to see me, what must their day be like? Are they bored? Do they miss me? Here are some of the likely daily routine your pooch might be getting up to!

Snoozin’ the Day Away or Rambunctious Dog at Play?

For many dogs, their days without their best friends mean a pretty dull affair. Depending on your dog’s home environment he may very well be bored. If there are no other pets or moving things inside, no outside noise coming in from the street, or people walking by outside, it means there are no external environmental stimuli that might get their interest. Some dogs will react to that by finding a cozy spot and going back to bed, doing their best to pass the time by sleeping.

But this is entirely dependent on the individual dog! We all know our dogs have personalities of their own and how each responds to environmental stimuli is different! Some dogs don’t need anything to find themselves running around the house and playing with their toys, others will snooze through a jackhammer no sweat.  If you’re working from home right now you might see your pet sleeps all day even with you right next to them! Dogs, like people, are unique. While younger dogs are more prone to activity (and sometimes hyperactivity) there’s no guarantee that they won’t also spend their alone time sleeping. At least they’re not digging through the trash!

dog watching out the window when  home alone

Trouble at Home?

When your dog is bored (or dealing with some other troubles which we’ll talk about shortly here) they can become destructive, tearing apart your home, barking uncontrollably, etc. Part of that may be because they are actually experiencing separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

Millions of dogs across the country suffer from some form of separation anxiety. It might look like barking, tearing up furniture or shoes, urinating or defecating in the home, or even harming themselves! Not all dogs will show the same (or even any) symptoms of separation anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to address. While owners will try training, increased exercise, or even some medications for it, the big thing those pets are missing in their day to day is interaction and stimulation during the day.

Can You Leave Your Dog Alone While You Work? 

So with all that said, should you really leave your dog alone while you’re gone for work?  It’s tough! Usually we have to leave to work to afford the home we all stay in, and not all jobs are accepting of taking your dog pal to work. Dogs need to go outside to relieve themselves on average 3 to 5 times a day, more for puppies. Some dogs can go longer without needing to use the restroom than others so once you figure out that there’s then the boredom levels. For many dogs, being alone for more than four hours is tough. 

What if I Adopted a Second Dog?

You picked up on that whole ‘being alone’ thing huh? Well this is a solid idea but needs to be carefully thought out. Dogs are social creatures and thrive with those they consider their ‘pack mates,’ if you will. That includes you, their owner, other family members they see frequently, and other pets in the home. Even cats, if they get along well enough, provide companionship to dogs. But will adopting a new pet solve all of that? Not necessarily. If your current dog already has separation anxiety, the new puppy might simply start to mimic their behavior, giving you two dysfunctional dogs. If your dog is already well adjusted, bringing in a new pet could be a great idea to increase their daily stimulation and quality of life. But of course, make sure they get along, introducing them properly.

What Should I Do if I’m Gone for Long Periods?

No matter whether you have one pet or three, you want to take the same steps to keep your dogs stimulated and happy while you’re away. Keep toys out and available, make sure they have plenty of room to move around (even if it’s just to lay down and sleep all day). If you have a doggy door, even better. Use food puzzle toys to keep your dog’s mind working and active. Some people leave the TV on, there are even dedicated dog channels for environmental stimulation that they might not otherwise get. For a more fulfilling day, dog daycares exist!

Whichever way you go about it, when your dog is home alone they’re personality and adjustment to being home alone determines everything. Your pet very well may sleep the whole day away. Another might just stare out the front window watching the world go by. Whatever your pet gets up to, make sure you shower them with love and attention when you get home. After all, they’re good dogs and they deserve it!

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