Do Dogs Think You Leave Forever? (Solved & Explained!)

In short, it’s hard to say whether or not your dog thinks you’ve left forever or if it knows you will come back soon. Swedish researchers have studied this conundrum and concluded that dogs have a clear perception of time and can tell the difference between when we leave for a short period and when we leave for a long stretch. 

The good news, though, is that dogs are still excited when their owners come home.

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Do Dogs Know How Long You Are Away?

Although dogs definitely have a general understanding of time, it likely isn’t the same as a human’s perception of time. They likely mark time using specific events such as dinner, their morning bathroom break, or their evening walk. Therefore, it’s unlikely that your dog has a clear understanding of how long you have been gone.

sad chihuahua looking out wet window

What Do Dogs Think When You Leave Home?

Dogs might not have a clear concept of time using hours or minutes but they are still aware of your schedule and know when you leave home. Your dog will become accustomed to your typical comings and goings and will learn when to expect you home. That isn’t to say that they don’t have emotional responses. Many dogs feel separation anxiety when their owners leave for the day.

Sad beagle dog lying on carpet missing owner

Do Dogs Miss Their Owners When They Are Away?

Yes! Anyone who has owned a puppy or a young dog knows that their pets often whine, cry, and bark when their owners leave for the day. Just as your dog is a part of your family, you are a part of its family too. Therefore, your dog understandably misses you when you disappear.

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Do Dogs Think We Are Their Parents?

You might not look like your dog but that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t view you as family. Studies have shown that dogs often show the same behavior and cognitive responses to their owners as they do to their own biological parents. As your dog grows older, it will continue to see you as a parent figure and a pack leader.

Do Dogs Think We Are Gods?

Dogs likely don’t have a concept of gods or deities. Instead, your pup views you as a parental figure and a pack leader. As they grow older, they will instinctively follow you, your commands, your training, and even your attitudes. A well-trained dog will not test or doubt its owner’s position and will treat you as the “Alpha” of the pack.

Can Your Dog Be Mad at You for Leaving?

Dogs are capable of a full range of emotions but it’s safe to say that your dog isn’t mad at you for leaving the house each day. Although they might misbehave when left on their own, it’s not out of anger; it’s because they are bored. 

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Dogs are Zen masters who live from moment to moment so don’t worry about your pup holding any resentment against you for going to work.

Will My Dog Remember Me After 5 Years?

Interestingly, yes! Like elephants, dogs have a remarkable ability to remember people. Thanks to their powerful noses, your dog will continue to remember your scent for days, weeks, months, and even years after you say goodbye. Once you reconnect, your pup will remember who you are and greet you fondly, like an old friend.

Do Dogs Get Lonely at Night?

Yes, dogs can get lonely at night, especially if they are young and have not gotten used to sleeping on their own. Dogs are pack animals who instinctively prefer to sleep together in a group. As you are the pack leader, your dog will prefer sleeping near you and may become lonely and anxious if it cannot reach you during the night.

What Do Dogs Do When Alone?

It may surprise you what your dog gets up to when you are not at home. Depending on your dog’s personality, it may become bored or anxious and act up. However, if your dog is mellow and well-behaved it will likely:

  • Take a nap where it feels most comfortable (including in your bed or on the couch)
  • Play with things they shouldn’t, such as pillows, toilet paper, and the trash
  • Play with your other pets if you have another dog or cat
  • Wait for you to come home by laying next to the door

Think of dogs like small children. If left to their own devices, they can misbehave out of boredom.

Where Can I Leave My Dog While at Work?

It is generally ok to leave your pet alone at home for up to 8 hours while you go to work and do your daily errands. You can set up a room where your pet can play and relax while you are away. Leave toys and a pet bed for them to lay on.

If you are uncomfortable leaving them alone for too long, you can also hire a dog walker to come and take your pet outside and around the neighborhood once a day.

Is It Ok to Kennel a Dog While At Work?

Avoiding leaving your dog in a crate for more than a couple of hours during the day. If you have no other options, it won’t cause harm but your dog will likely feel trapped, bored, and stressed from being kept in a kennel for 8 to 10 hours.

Are There Any Risks to Leaving a Dog in a Kennel?

If you leave your pet in a kennel while you are at work during the day, there’s a risk that they will pee and poop inside the crate, making a mess of your house and themselves.

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If you are raising a puppy, it is cruel to leave them locked up for more than a couple of hours because puppies require a lot of activity to mature heavily. If possible, let your puppy roam freely in a designated room of your house. This way, they can burn energy without destroying furniture or the rest of your home.