How long can I leave my puppies alone?

It’s a very overwhelming time for a puppy to join a new family, new smells and new things to play with round every corner! Eventually you will be able to train your puppy to entertain themselves in a safe and engaging way whilst you are absent, but how do owners get to that point?

Before they are completely house and toilet trained, it is best for both your puppy and yourself for them to have constant supervision. Between 4 and 6 months of age puppies begin teething and their chewing steps up a gear. If they are not closely monitored it could cost you a few shoes or pieces of furniture.

All dogs love routines and setting up a routine for your growing pup will be a huge benefit, by setting fixed mealtimes and scheduling outside time first thing in the morning and after mealtimes your pup will learn when to expect certain things.

It is recommended that settle times are equally as importantly scheduled as well as play times, when a puppy is taught to settle in their crate or designated area they are able to entertain themselves without needing constant supervision from you.

Whilst your pup is growing it will sleep a lot, which allows you to train it into being by themselves, as they can get overly attached and become demanding for attention later on. It is good for your puppy to fall asleep but wake up with no company. By awaking on their own they will learn that they can be alone without any disasters occurring. This will build their confidence in themselves and they will be less anxious when they are alone.

Begin by teaching your puppy how to entertain themselves with a chewable toy and which will engage their attention and occupy them building the confidence to be alone and without needing constant reassurance.

Once they are able to be in another room with you in the house, try 10-15 minutes trips out of the house and when you return engage in something else before praising your pup. An excitable pup that gets attention as soon as you walk through the door will become over-excited when anyone arrives into your home.

The following table comes from David Chamberlain, Veterinary Consultant to PetSafe®

Age of Dog
(maturity varies between small, medium, large, and giant breeds)
Maximum period that a dog should be left for during the day
(ideal scenario)
Mature dogs over 18 months of age Up to 4 hours at a time during the day
Adolescent dogs 5 - 18 months Gradually build up to 4 hours at a time during the day
Young puppies up to 5 months of age Should not be left alone for long periods during the day

If owners must be absent from the home for a long time with puppies alternative arrangements must be made, such as a dog-sitter that can keep up with toilet training routines and give your dog some company, or a dog crèche, however this could cause issues as interactions with other dogs can teach your easily influenced pup their less than ideal behaviours. It is advisable as a younger pup that they are given one on one attention to reinforce their training.

So if you are planning on expanding your family with a new four legged friend, remember it is easier to teach a puppy too many rules to begin with than try and enforce them at a later date.

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