here are some situations where you may want to leave your service dog at home.
And even situations where you don't want to but may have to anyway as unfortunately, there are some places where even service dogs are not allowed.
Leaving your service dog at home can raise questions, though.
One that often enters people’s minds is...
Can I leave my service dog at home? Is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it a bad idea?
Let's discover the answers...
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Places Where You Can't Take A Service Dog
Unfortunately, there are some places where even service dogs are barred.
Areas that must remain sterile, private clubs, and some places of worship still do not allow service dogs behind their doors.
You are also advised against taking service dogs to places like dental surgeries if you might demonstrate fear.
Your service dog will inevitably come to your aid and could be dangerous, especially if your dentist is mid-filling!
It is also advised that service dogs are not taken to areas or situations they may find distressing, such as firework shows.
This ensures that your service dog does not feel stressed, which can be distressing for both you and your dog.
As well as this, if your dog is poorly, it can be a good idea to leave them at home so they can rest.
Now that we have covered some of the reasons your service dog may need to remain at home let’s look at if you can leave your dog at home?
Can I leave my service dog at home?
The short answer is yes! You can leave your service dog at home.
There is no legal requirement when you receive your service dog regarding whether they can be left at home or not.
While service dogs tend to accompany you to most places, as we mentioned earlier, there are some times when you will need to leave your service dog at home.
When doing this, there are some factors you will need to consider, which we shall look at in detail now.
Be sure if you are leaving your service dog at home, you have taken precautions to ensure your safety.
For example, be sure that you have kept your phone with you and any emergency medication should a situation arise.
Factors to consider
Your service dog will be used to your continuous company, so this may be a strange and unsettling experience for them.
Especially if it is only you two at home, they may begin to feel lonely rather quickly. A good idea is to get your dog used to you being away.
If you live with others, you can start by ensuring that someone else can provide a distraction and some company to your service dog.
However, dogs who are only used to your company might struggle at first. Gently easing them into being alone is an excellent idea.
You can start small by leaving them in a separate room or leaving for short periods so that your dog knows you will always return.
It is always worth considering creating a leaving home routine to prepare your service dog for the situation.
It is essential to ensure that when leaving your service dog, they have everything they require.
Making sure there is freshwater, food, and toys to stimulate your dog will keep them distracted.
Some people leave music or the television on to offer the feeling of company for the dog too. Leaving some sound on can help avoid your dog getting distracted by passers in the window.
This will vary from dog to dog, and maybe a case of trial and error until you find the situation that suits you and your service dog.
While it can be beneficial to leave your service dog at home, you mustn’t do this to the detriment of your dog.
Be sure that they are still out actively socializing and getting to know the world around them.
How long can my service dog be left alone?
Knowing how long you can leave your service dog alone is difficult, and there is no straight answer.
As each service dog is different, the length of time will vary.
You will need to consider a range of factors such as their age, bladder control, and the dog’s temperament.
Gradually building up how long your dog is left alone is an excellent way to find the answer to this question.
It is essential that while gradually training your dog, you greet them as if you have been away for hours and ensure that they are let outside straight away.
You may have some teething difficulties, such as accidents in the house. It’s best not to punish the dog, as they will have probably shown the signs they needed to go outside but were unable to leave.
If you are worried about how long you can leave your dog alone, it may be worth considering a dog sitter or a trainer who can help develop coping strategies and techniques for both you and your service dog.
As you can see, you can indeed leave your service dog alone at home.
There are no regulations about this, but it is vital to consider the factors mentioned earlier to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable being left alone at home.
Ensuring that your service dog has everything required at home is a great start, but be sure to consult with a dog trainer if you are concerned or your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
After all, our dog’s happiness is one of the most important things to us!