Leaving My Dog Alone
Have you started a new job? Or perhaps you are going on holiday and are not able to take your dog with you. Whatever the reason, there will always be a time when you might need to leave your dog home alone.
Luckily, while dogs are social animals that need the love and company of humans and other four-legged friends, they can also enjoy time by themselves.
The good news is that all it takes is some training and preparation. Your dog will learn to handle, and even enjoy, his time alone. Here are some guidelines and tips to help keep your dog comfortable while you’re not home.
How to leave your puppy or dog alone
Preparation is the key to leaving your dog alone.
Ensure he has safe access to an outdoor area where he can go to the toilet, and never leave him alone for more than eight hours without someone coming to check on him.
If your dog is used to your constant company, start preparing him for your upcoming absence by giving him small periods of time alone. Provide him with an enriching environment and, with some positive reinforcement, he will learn to be by himself and to enjoy the experience.
Tips on training your dog to be alone
There are a number of things you can do to gradually get your dog used to being alone. And the sooner you start training him the better.
- Socialise your puppy / dog early on. Help him to get used to being around other people right from the start. It will be much easier to leave him with a dog sitter or family and friends if needed later on.
- From day one, especially for a puppy, try not to constantly pet or interact with him. Leave him on his own from time to time.
- Alternate times where you pay him attention and times when you don’t. If you have children, explain to them that a puppy needs alone time too.
- Never start by leaving your puppy / dog for a long time alone. This should be a gradual process. Start with very short absences and only move up to a longer absence once your dog can remain calm for the shorter one. If he relapses into being overly excited or is unable to remain calm when you leave, start the process over again.
- Start at home: If your dog is used to always being in the same room with you or following you around, try asking him to stay while you leave the room for a short time. Reward him when he is able to do this calmly. If your dog can tolerate this exercise, try leaving the house briefly and then come back.
- Do not linger over saying goodbye to your dog, and avoid making a fuss over him or being too affectionate when you return. The idea is for him to feel that your leaving and return is a normal experience.
- Some trainers recommend leaving the house without letting your dog know that you are leaving. In other words, come and go without paying attention to him, several times a day. Prepare to leave (get your coat, take your keys, etc.) and then don’t leave, leave without any preparations in order to prevent your dog from worrying about you leaving.
If you intend to leave for more than a very short time, take him out for a walk or other form of physical activity before you go. He will feel more relaxed while you are away. He might even probably sleep.