Dogs don’t instinctively know how to act when left home alone. Some suffer from separation anxiety or get bored, and this can lead to destructive behavior, escape attempts, self-harm, and more. But you can train your dog to be home alone without getting anxious or bored, and this article will cover tips and best practices.
How Long Can You Leave Your Dog at Home?
This depends on their breed, age, and personality. Generally, dogs older than a year old can stay home alone for several hours (with the right training), but puppies and seniors are different:
- 10-12 weeks old: up to 2 hours
- 3 months: up to 3 hours
- 5 months: up to 4 hours
- 6 months: up to 5 hours
- Up to 7 months: up to 6 to 8 hours
- Senior dogs: up to 6 hours
Reserve a Specific Spot at Home for Your Dog
When you want to train your dog to be home alone, start by creating a safe, quiet, comfortable area where they can relax. Put their bed, favorite toys, and a blanket there. Don’t put the spot near windows where they might get distracted watching people or dogs outside.
Give Them Entertainment
Even when you train your dog to be home alone, they may still get bored. If your dog is a toy lover, consider leaving them with a stimulating toy, such as a puzzle or treat-dispensing toy. If your dog is food motivated, give them a frozen stuffed Kong or hide treats around the house and let them sniff around until they find them! You can also leave the TV on if your dog likes to watch.
Consider Crate Training
Crate training can be helpful when you want to train your dog to be home alone. What’s more, the crate can be a safe place where your pup can go anytime they’re feeling anxious or scared. When used correctly, crates can create positive experiences for your dog!
Finding the right size crate for your pup is the first step. Your dog should be able to sit down, stand up, lie down, and stretch out in their crate.
Go for a Bathroom Break Before
To ensure your dog will be comfortable when you’re away from the house, take them for a walk right before you leave to let them go to the bathroom. Adult dogs can hold their bladders for about six hours. Some can go longer, but it’s best to avoid going over eight hours.
Leave Your Curtains Open
As long as your dog isn’t reactive with people or other dogs, leaving the curtains open can be a great source of entertainment when they’re alone. It can also make them feel less isolated. However, make sure there are no open windows, or your pup could jump out!
Use Gates to Block Access to Certain Areas
Many people recommend using baby gates when leaving dogs alone. Gates can stop them from falling down the stairs or getting into trouble by going where they shouldn’t be.
Be Consistent and Patient
When you want to train your dog to be home alone, it’s important to start slowly and be gradual and consistent with your training. Once they start getting comfortable being alone, you can increase your time away from home. And when you get home from being out, set aside time to spend with your dog.