Hi there Lindsay here. Welcome to another post intended to help you settle in your new Rommie pal. In this one we’ll cover leaving them at home for the first time, the importance of taking things slowly and setting a regular routine.
Introducing separation gradually
I would recommend that if at all possible, periods of separation (i.e. being left alone in the house) should be minimised in the first few days and then introduced gradually.
Personally (please remember this blog is my personal opinion, other opinions exist – we all have them!) I would try to leave my dog in one room while I go out – ideally a room with a hard/tile floor! I always have my dogs sleeping downstairs and they don’t have the full run of the house, and when left alone during the day or overnight they are left in the kitchen.
They have a couple of sleeping options, a bowl of water and when I first leave, they have a chew stick (I like Whimzees natural chews – hard and last a while, but natural and good for them).
Now, the team at Happy Tails, our rescue centre in Romania, play a soundtrack called Eight Hours of Relaxing Dog Music, to help maintain a calm and happy atmosphere. Your dog will therefore recognise this music and hopefully it will bring a positive association. You can download it to an old i-pod, or in my case I simply streamed it from Youtube, via my Tablet. I would leave this music playing overnight, or while the dogs were left alone and within a couple of weeks, they were quite settled. Eventually, I switched to leaving Radio 2 on during the day, and nothing at night – that is quiet/sleepy time. This has worked well for my two, but again – do remember that exactly what works for one dog, might need adjusting to suit another.
So, initially you will settle the dogs in, let them explore their areas and let them know where their bed is. They may choose to settle in their bed, or they may follow you and want to be with you at all times. Playing the familiar music in the room where they are to sleep and possibly leaving them in there alone (door closed) with the instruction to ‘Lie Down’ when you go to bed, or even during the day for 5 minutes while you do something else, will help them to gradually get the idea that they may be left alone, but that you will come back.
Try to implement a consistent routine
Again, much like small children, dogs tend to settle better when they start to recognise and understand their routine.
Feeding at the same time each day, walking too, even the “bedtime routine” of going outside for “bedtime wees” (my phrase) then in and settling down for the night at roughly the same time each day, can help a stray dog to recognise the daily pack routine and thus to feel more settled.
Dedicated to saving abandoned Romanian dogs and finding them loving homes
1 Dog at a Time Rescue is a UK registered charity (number 1167007)