My fears and stress with leaving dogs home alone have escalated over the years. The longer I’m away from the house, the more it impedes my enjoyment of whatever I’m doing. What’s causing it and why? A crazy reason. Because they are in crates when we are not at home. Yea, I know, completely irrational since millions of people crate their dogs. I know crating them is a fine thing to do or else we wouldn’t do it.
Why would crates cause me to have fears and stress with leaving dogs home alone?
Before our current trio, we put our dogs in our bathroom when we were away. Well, actually, that started after we got Pancho because he destroyed a few things when we weren’t home. Naughty boy. Anyway, our bathroom is large and has plenty of room for a dog bed and for dogs to move around. We also filled the tub with comforters and they loved snuggling together in it.
Keeping them in a room allowed them to be together and prevent destruction while we were away. I’d put them in the bathroom, head out, and not think about it at all. Our bathroom was set up for dogs. The countertop had nothing on it. A big dog bed was in front of the shower door. We selected and used rugs for their washability instead of decorating aspect.
After losing all our dogs, our bathroom became one for us again. Gone were the comforters in the tub, dog water bowl, and dog bed. We replaced our rugs and the counter once again had typical bathroom stuff on it.
Then we got Milo. He was already crate trained. So we decided to go with putting him in a crate while we were away instead of the bathroom. Then we got Zephyr to be Milo’s big brother. He was also crate trained. And when we got Luke, we decided to crate train him too.
And that, my friends, is when my fears and stress with leaving dogs home began.
Luke’s crate training went wonderfully. What didn’t go wonderfully was his digestive system. On-going diarrhea and loose stools made for frequent needs to go outside. Every time I left the house, I wondered if I would come back to a big mess. I worried he would have an urgent need to poop. Visions swirled around in my head of him trying to get out, not being able to hold it, pooping in his crate, and then lying there next to or in diarrhea.
Fear of a diarrhea incident. I couldn’t leave the house without worrying about coming home to a puppy in a crate covered in poop.
Luke was a super chewer puppy. He’d destroy a toy in a matter of seconds. To make it worse, he would try to eat the stuffing and pieces from the toy he chewed off of it. I’d have to watch him constantly to get the pieces and stuffing away from him. Countless times I pulled miscellaneous objects out of his mouth and throat. I worried about him choking on them or objects causing a digestive blockage. It’s why I never put toys in the crate with him.
Without toys, I feared him chewing up his fluffy crate mat or blanket. Then eating the stuffing. The destruction of the objects wasn’t the issue. Well, aside from the cost of having to replace what he destroyed. Coming home to a dog that had choked to death on stuffing would be awful. So yes, the vision of that awful thing also swirled around in my head every time I left the house.
The fear of losing a puppy. But wait, how would it be different if we kept our dogs in the bathroom? Luke could still chew up a dog bed or rug. Well, really there’s no difference. I admit it’s irrational and I’m a crazy, overprotective dog mom.
Habit and routine add to my fears and stress of leaving dogs at home.
Old habits die hard with me. Really hard. And I’m the biggest creature of routine. I got into the habit and routine of taking Luke outside every couple of hours when he was a puppy. You know, the house training thing. So that habit and routine got stuck in my head. Now I think it’s something that must be done, even though I know adult dogs don’t need to go out every two hours.
It still doesn’t stop the “OMG they haven’t been out in 3 hours!” thoughts in my head. I’m getting stressed out over something that’s no big deal. I have to keep telling myself to calm down and it will be fine.
Oh, and we have someone who will come and let the dogs out when we will be away for more than four hours. I still stress out about it anyway.
Perhaps with time, my fears and stress with leaving dogs home alone will lessen or subside completely. It involves changing a lifetime of ways and overcoming irrational reasoning.
Do you have fears or stress when you leave your dogs home alone? If so, please leave a comment and tell me about it. I’m hoping I’m not the only one.
PS. Here are the products I use to make crates nice and comfy for my spoiled hounds. The photo below shows all of the items. Note as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.