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Leaving A Puppy Alone At Home For The First Time: 12 Tips

Leaving A Puppy Alone At Home For The First Time: 12 Tips

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You recently got a new puppy and all you want is to cuddle with him all day long. This idea also suits him! But, we all know that owning a dog is not only a pleasure, but also a great responsibility.

In addition to providing the dog with a safe home, together with food and drinks, you are also in charge of his emotional, physical, and mental development.

Just think about how much one puppy needs to figure out: from simple commands and places to urinate, to not colliding with other dogs while walking, and not showing aggression. This can only be achieved through proper socialization and training.

A long and exciting journey awaits you with your new furry friend!

Still, with all the challenges, I believe that one of the hardest things for any dog owner is leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time. How do you prepare a puppy to be home alone, and what can you find to help you? Keep reading and learn tips that can make your life easier!

Leaving A Puppy Alone At Home For The First Time: How?

Golden retriever puppy at home

Leaving a puppy alone at home is sometimes a traumatic experience for dogs, but also for owners. Not only will your puppy howl and whine when he sees you leaving the house, but on your return, you may be greeted by ruined furniture.

Why is this happening?

Dogs are social beings, and they spend time with other beings from birth.

They just need to receive a lot of attention from their owners, especially when they are just little helpless puppies.

So, every dog is accustomed to someone always being near him, and he does not understand why the person he loves and trusts the most walks away from him.

In this situation, the dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Every dog is different: while some will relatively quickly get used to not spending all day in the company of their owner, others will start behaving aggressively and destructively to let the owner know they feel lonely.

However, the situation is not irreparable: if you start in time, you can teach your pet that he will simply have his alone time at home sometimes.

How Soon Can You Leave A New Puppy Alone?

When getting a dog used to being left alone at home, the key step is to start in time. You can start thinking about leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time when he is about eight weeks old. Of course, in the beginning, these should be very short periods.

For example, you can leave your dog alone for only 10 to 15 minutes on the first day, but be careful not to get too far away. If the dog is inside the house and you are in the yard, even this separation can be stressful for him.

There is a good chance that such a small dog still does not know how to control his bladder, so he may urinate anywhere in the house. Day by day, slowly increase the time period of your separation.

If you notice that the dog is slowly beginning to realize that he will be alone for a while, but that you will always come back to him, you can start leaving him alone for an hour or two.

The time you leave your dog alone depends a lot on its age. An eight- to 10-week-old puppy should not be left alone for more than one hour. At the age of three to six months, the dog should be able to stay home alone for about three hours without it being too stressful for him.

How Long Can A Puppy Be Left Home Alone?

golden retriever puppy biting a toy

The amount of time you plan to leave your dog at home with no human control is very important.

If you have a young puppy (six to 12 months of age), you should not leave him alone for more than four hours. If he is an adult dog, he should not be alone for more than eight hours. Why?

Even though the dog is trained and socialized, he still needs to interact with his human family. So, long periods of separation will not bring anything good to you or your dog. If you leave him alone for too long, the dog can develop certain behavioral problems, and he can turn from a tame dog into an aggressive one.

This does not mean that your dog intends to attack or bite someone, but he is simply lonely. Understandably, we all have crowded schedules today, but we still need to find enough time to spend with our pets. This way, the dog will feel safe and loved at home.

How Will I Know If My Puppy Is Happy To Be Home Alone?

If you are leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time, you can’t help not to worry about how your pup feels without having you nearby.

Some dog breeds tolerate separation better, and they will find it easier to get used to spending a few hours a day alone at home without their owner. This also depends on the age of the dog.

However, some other dogs are not as adaptive, and they will need more time to realize that their owner has not left them if they spend a few hours a day outside the home without them. How do you know your dog is calm and safe while home alone?

A dog that is under stress will show you this by chewing and tearing things around the house, such as your shoes or clothes, or anything that can be reached. Some dogs may even try to run away from home.

If you return home, and you do not notice any sign of aggression or anxiety, you can conclude that your dog tolerates separation well. Of course, it will take some time to achieve this. Eventually, your dog might even want to be alone for a little while!

Puppy Home Alone For The First Time: 12 Useful Tips

Beautiful woman playing with puppy while lying on sofa at home

The moment has come: you separate from your pet and leave him alone at home for the first time. You can’t decide who is more terrified – him or you. However, the sooner you realize that this situation is inevitable, the easier it will be for both of you.

To make this process easier for you, below are 12 tips on how to make your dog feel comfortable being home alone for the first time.

1. Potty Training Is Crucial

If you are leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time, and you are planning to do so for longer periods in the future, the first thing you need to do is make sure your puppy is potty trained.

Related links: Help, My Dog Is 6 Months Old And Not Potty Trained!

If you have just brought your new dog into your home, it is very important that you are patient and persistent in your efforts to teach your dog where to pee and poop. For starters, you can use pee pads so your dog realizes he has a safe place to urinate in his new home.

This is especially important when you leave the dog alone at home because you don’t want to be greeted by a ruined carpet and an unpleasant stench spreading through the house, right? It is advisable to establish a certain schedule when performing urination.

For example, get your dog used to urinating in the morning when he wakes up, after spending time playing in the yard, and to do so in the evening before bed. This way, over time, the dog will endure not urinating inside the house while you are not present.

2. Make Sure Your Dog Is As Tired As Possible

Before you leave the house, do your best to make your dog use up his energy. While this may seem exhausting at first, it can actually bring good for both of you.

Decide on an activity, such as walking or even running, depending on your mood.

Morning exercise will come in handy for you as well as your dog. If you are not able to do this, then at least do a morning workout with your dog in the yard. Playing with his favorite toy and running around the yard will allow your dog to expend at least some of his energy.

This way, after you leave the house, he will also be able to enjoy his well-deserved rest.

3. Don’t Make A Big Deal Of Your Leaving

Your favorite moments of the day are when you see how happy your puppy is and how eager he is to see you. However, when you leave, instead of a happy face, it is more likely that the dog will say goodbye to you with whining or barking.

To avoid this, try not to inform him every time you intend to leave the house. Take advantage of the moment when he is having fun with some activity and quietly leave the house. Maybe the dog will not immediately realize that you are not there, and his hours without you will pass faster!

If you tell him every morning that you are leaving, and then move towards the front door, the dog will perceive this as an unpleasant experience, and will wait for you to leave him every next day.

4. Make Sure Food And Water Are Available To The Dog

Bowl with dry food and water for pet

The things that must always be available to the dog are fresh water and food. Even if you gave him a meal in the morning and plan to do it again when you finish your daily commitments and return home, still, leave his favorite granules or treats available to him.

It is much better for dogs to have several meals a day instead of one large meal. This way, the dog will achieve normal body weight and you will reduce the risk of obesity in your dog. Of course, fresh and cold water must be available to the dog throughout the day.

5. Secure Things Inside The House From Your Dog

Every dog loves to dig through things he finds in the house. This is especially true for younger puppies that are even more curious and playful. So, puppy-proofing is crucial when leaving your dog alone at home for the first time.

Your dog could dig through the trash and eat something he really shouldn’t, so when you leave him alone at home, be careful and throw the trash out.

Also, remove any small objects that the dog could swallow and that could harm him. Pay special attention to the fact that the dog does not have access to power cables, as most dogs like to nibble on cables.

Make sure any medication or cleaning product is not in a place where the dog can reach it. You never know how imaginative your dog will be when left alone at home, so take every precaution. Better safe than sorry!

6. Toys Are Your Best Help

When you are leaving your dog home alone for the first time, one thing you should definitely have on your mind is how dogs love to chew toys.

We all know how much dogs love to chew all kinds of things! Most of them even have their favorite toys that are hard to part with, even though they are already old and almost falling apart.

Just remember how many times you’ve wondered why your dog has been sitting in the shade in the yard chewing the same toy for hours. Well, the time has come when this will really help you! Distract him with his favorite chewing toy and use that moment to leave the house.

It is very possible that your dog will not even realize that you have already left, and he could spend a good part of the day playing with his favorite toy.

Besides chewing toys, you should also use puzzle toys. By using these toys, not only will your dog not be bored, but he will also get incredible mental stimulation.

7. Leave The Radio On

We all know how intense a dog’s senses are. They are able to smell various scents, not to mention their hearing. How many times has a dog woke you up with its loud barking? A couple of times, he has even warned you of a certain danger, but so many times, he alerted you for no particular reason.

Because their hearing is so sensitive, this is often the reason why dogs develop certain fears. For example, there is almost no dog, especially a young dog, that will not bark during a storm, and some even bark and howl at sounds, such as a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer.

To make sure your dog won’t get extra stressed due to certain sounds coming from outside while he is home alone, it’s a good idea to leave the radio on. Not only will the radio reduce the sounds coming from outside, but light music could also help your pooch relax in his home.

8. Leave A Piece Of Your Clothing For The Dog

The dog is hiding under the clothes

Your dog has learned over time not to play with your clothes and shoes, although it took you a long time to let him know that something like this can’t work. Just remember how your dog used to like your socks or any other part of your clothing! He is not that skittish pooch anymore but your dog still loves to sniff you and always recognizes your scent.

Leaving some old clothes for your dog can help him a lot when he is left alone at home. Smelling your scent from a piece of clothing can have a comforting effect on him. Even if you are not there for a few hours, your puppy will smell your scent, and this will help him feel safe.

9. Make The Crate A Safe Place For Your Dog

Every dog has one specific place in the house that is safe for him. It can be your bed, the carpet in front of the entrance door, the room under the stairs, or any other place in the house.

What could help you significantly while leaving your puppy alone for the first time would be getting him used to staying in the dog crate. If you start crate training at an early age, the dog will acquire the habit of staying in it, and the crate will eventually become his favorite place.

Put a pillow and a blanket in the crate and your dog will probably not want to leave it anymore!

Such a positive association with a certain place in the house will significantly facilitate your dog’s time that he spends without you.

10. Use A Pet Camera

Have you done everything necessary to keep your puppy safe while he is home alone, but you are still troubled by remorse? Are you not able to ask someone like your family members to check on your dog?

We have another solution for you: you can use a pet camera. This way, while you are at work, you can check what your puppy is doing. Over time, you may no longer need a camera, but in order to make sure your dog tolerates separation well and does not do prohibited activities while unsupervised, setting up a camera is a really good idea.

11. Find A Dog Walker

Do you feel that your workday is just too long for your dog to be alone at home? Is there no way you can leave work for a short time and spend a few minutes with your dog? The good thing is that today, you have the opportunity to seek the help of a dog walker!

Inquire about this service in the area where you live. You will surely find at least a few people with good reviews with whom you will be comfortable leaving your dog with for an hour a day. This way, your dog will go for a walk, have his necessary potty breaks, and interact with a human while you are away.

Make sure the dog gets to know that person before they go for a walk together, and that the walker spends some time with you and your dog. It is important that the dog gains confidence in the walker, and that he is comfortable with it.

This way, your dog will be much happier, and the time he spends without you will not seem too long.

12. Think About Doggie Daycare

Cavador puppy with lovely bright blue eyes ready to nap on a dog bed

Doggie daycare can be a great option where your dog can spend time while you are at work. However, before sending your dog to daycare, you need to be completely confident in the temperament and behavior of your dog.

Remember that there will be many different types of dogs in the daycare, so make sure your dog is trained and socialized. Otherwise, doggie daycare could bring you a lot more bad than good things.

Pet sitters have a lot of work to do with many different dog breeds and different dog temperaments in one room!

If, on the other hand, you are sure that daycare is a great option for your puppy, then you can leave him there, on average, once a week. There are many benefits to doggy daycare: your dog will get a lot of mental stimulation, he will interact with other dogs, and he will probably learn some new tricks.

Before you decide on this step, have a conversation with the dog sitters working in the daycare so you can know what to expect, and so that they also get to know the main characteristics of your puppy.

After his first time at the doggie daycare, see how your dog feels. Some dogs might be thrilled with the new environment they encountered, while some might become even more anxious.

What Should I Do If My Puppy Cries When I Leave?

sad little puppy crying

You have finally decided to leave your dog alone at home for the first time. You have just left the house and closed the front door, and at the same time, you hear your dog whining and barking.

It hurts you to listen to him call out, and you would like to return to the house right away and comfort him. But, be careful here! If you come back right away and start petting your dog, he might misunderstand this act.

In his eyes, by crying loudly, he managed to call you back, and he will conclude that this will work for him every time you leave the house.

As uncomfortable as it may be to listen to him cry after you leave the house, be persistent in your decision. In time, your puppy will realize that it is not so scary for you to leave the house, and that you will always return to him within a few hours.

Don’t doubt your dog: he will find a way to calm down and have fun while you are gone! Spending a few hours a day without him will make your time together even more precious.

Related: Why Do Dogs Cry At Night? Advice For Worried Pet Parents

Final Thoughts

All dog owners know how dogs can be clingy sometimes. They follow you wherever you go, and they could just play with you outdoors for the entire day. If you have enough time, this works well for you too!

Unfortunately, we all have to leave our house and go to work. If you are leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time, be aware that dogs are social animals. They need interaction with their human family, and if they are left alone all of the sudden, they might develop separation anxiety.

So, you should start by leaving your dog alone for short periods of time: do not leave him alone for eight hours the first day you are apart! This could really harm your pet, and it might cause him to become destructive and aggressive.

Try to teach your puppy how separation is not something negative, and that you will be home again soon.

Dogs are extremely intelligent animals, so with a little patience and with the help of our list of tips for leaving your puppy alone for the first time, your fear of leaving your dog home with no supervision will soon be gone!

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