How to Prepare Your German Shepherd Dog for Going Back to Work?
In anticipation of your return to work, you may want to have a little planning to prepare your German Shepherd to be left alone in the home for longer stretches of time.
You are not alone in this predicament as quarantine measures ease and some of you begin to head back to the office. To ensure the transition is a smooth one for both you and your beloved German Shepherd, we have got you covered with this article.
Read on to find out the tips to keep your dog safe and busy when you have to leave her alone for an extended period of time.
How to keep your dog safe before you leave the house?
1. Puppy-proof your house
If your German Shepherd is still a puppy (less than 18 months old), they are little chew machines and love to investigate the environment with their nose and mouth.
Make sure you check and make any chemicals, detergents, sharp objects, exposed electric cords, phones, remote control or anything valuable out of reach.
It is not a good idea to let your GSD roam around the house when nobody’s home. You should block off any off-limit areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or upstairs.
2. Section off a part of your house
Your GSD should be taught that certain areas of your home are safe and free for her when she’s alone. This can be done with a baby gate, but not shutting the door.
It should be a designated area, not too hot or too cold, that allows her to play and stretch out.
3. Crate train your GSD
Crate training helps dogs learn that the crate is her little den, where they can feel safe.
Always make crate time fun with toys, treats, soft bedding, and praise. In fact, like other dogs, German Shepherds appreciate a private and safe space such as a crate to let relax.
The key is to make the crate a place where your GSD enjoys being in, with comfortable beddings and her favorite toys inside. Never use it as a punishment.
4. Leave your GSD alone in a safe zone
Once you have fenced off a designated area for your GSD, leave a new toy with her and some soft beddings, then walk away for 3-5 minutes.
After that, come back with a lot of praise and some treats. Do this for a few days in a roll. Gradually extend the time you leave your her alone, but always come back and give lots of love.
If you show your dog that it’s safe to stay busy without having you around, She will learn to behave when she is alone.
5. Mock your departures
Before you actually go back to the office, you could try to mock your departures in the weeks leading up to their return to work.
Start leaving the house for five minutes, leave for ten minutes, leave for half an hour, vary it up and down in times. Set up a webcam or video recorder where your GSD is most likely to be or near the exit.
If the dog whines, cries, howls, or barks for a short period after its owner leaves and then entertains itself or goes to sleep, then he will probably be able to adjust to the fact that you will be away for an extended period of time.
However, if these behaviors go on for hours or developed into licking or chewing at their own body that causes injuries or wounds, or destruction of property in the house, particularly around the exits, this could be a sign that your dog is not yet accustomed to you not being with her all day.
6. Exercise your dog before you go – this is a must!
A tired dog is a good dog. There’s no getting around.
German Shepherds were bred to be work dogs and they love to work. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise before you leave for work.
How much exercise does a German Shepherd actually need?
For a healthy adult dog, at least one hour of energy-burning activity per day is recommended. It can be a walk, a jog, or playing fetch.
If they cannot channel their energy, German Shepherds can become destructive and develop behavioral problems.
Six tips to keep your dog busy after you leave
1. Rotation of Toys
It’s important to keep your GSD busy with new and exciting things while you’re away. If you don’t, they will find their own toys to play with – things like your new iPhones, your leather shoes, or the new remote control of your HDTV.
To keep your GSD busy while you’re at work, keep her toys refreshed by rotating every day or week.
Frequent toy rotations are the easiest, cheapest, and simplest way to keep a GSD busy while you’re gone.
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, so giving them a durable chew toy can sometimes keep them away from your furniture and shoes. (e.g. Kong Wobbler, see video below)
2. Play Soft Music
Music therapy is used as a natural anti-anxiety remedy and to help with sleep disorders, and it’s easy to use the same technique for your puppy or adult dog.
You can use music to help your dog feel relaxed. Certain music genres have been proven to be more soothing for your dog than others. Reggae and soft rock are the most relaxing music for dogs, and classical music also helps calm down dogs in stressful environments.
3. Introduce white noise
White noise is a type of noise that is produced when sounds of all different frequencies are combined.
It is a calming white noise for dogs made by combining all the possible tones that a canine’s ear can hear. You can use white noise machines to produce calming effects for your dogs.
In effect, if your dog hears white noise, that means that he will hear less of any other noises – it drowns out and masks off other noise like dog barks, thunder, or fireworks, thus helping your pooch with possible anxiety and relaxation.
4. Install a dog camera
A pet camera not only helps you keep an eye on your pooch while you’re away, but the audio function allows you to speak to your pet in real-time.
Some allow you to activate the camera and microphone so you can watch or speak to your pup directly from your cell phone. Other beeps you when it detects your dog barking.
Furbo Dog Camera is our favorite. It has 2-way audio, with a bark alert, and lets you toss treats to your dog on your command – amazing!
5. Hire a dog walker/sitter
If you are ok with the idea, you may wish to hire a dog walker or sitter to be your dog’s friend once or twice a day while you’re gone.
Even if it’s just for half an hour or so, that human contact may be just what your dog needs to stay happy and entertained until you get back.
Alternatively, you may have your friends or neighbors come over on different days of the week to bring your dog out for a short walk during the day. This will be good enough to keep your dog engaged.
You are the person who knows your dog the best. As GSD may not always be friendly to strangers at first encounter, the key to having someone over is to make sure you introduce them to your GSD in advance.
6. Dog daycare
A good daycare will have trained staff, clean toys, lots of playtimes, and a set schedule so you know what your dog will be doing all through the day.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a doggy daycare that has cameras in the play areas so you can log in and watch your dog have fun.
Whether you do this daily or just as a treat once a month or so, doggy daycare is a great option for keeping active German Shepherds happy with some companies. (if your dog has no issue with other dogs)
Remember that dogs are highly observant and they will reflect your energy as they see it. If you are stressed about leaving them, they will pick up on it. This may inadvertently increase their anxiety levels.
Next time before you leave the house, It is crucial to remain calm. If you find our suggestions useful, your GSD will be ready to cope with your absence when the time comes for you to return to the office.
It’s a blessing that your pet has been your best companion during these unprecedented times. And now your love is as important to help your GSD to transition to the post-pandemic world.