How To Leave Your Dog Alone At Home Overview

Discover how to leave your dog alone at home with this dog training exercise from the Dog Training Planner.

This exercise will help you leave your dog alone at home, unsupervised, and with a free roam of the house. It is important to remember that this will not be possible whilst your puppy is teething and you must always make sure that your dog is ready for this stage.

Knowing when they’re ready will take careful observation and consideration. It will also require you to do consistent training to ensure that you eradicate any unwanted behaviour.

The 4 Steps 

If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see that I’ve written out all the steps from the video for you. I know. I know. I really am that nice (lol).

Videos are great if you’re a visual learner! Most people learn dog training drills best by first watching a video tutorial, and then having the written steps available during the training session, so they don’t get confused (Hey, if you want to completely avoid confusion, you might like to get your paws on my Dog Training Planner).

To make this blog post a more visual experience for you, I’ve snuck a dog cartoon so you can visualise all the steps (if you’re curious, you can take a look at my dog art here).

Step 1: Exercise 

Always exercise your dog before leaving them alone, this can be either a walk or engaging play. 

Step 2: Puppy Proof

Pick a place that is appropriate to leave them, where they can’t do any damage. Begin with somewhere that has been puppy proofed and where the dog can’t get at any wires (or anything else that could be dangerous).

Step 3: Camera

Begin with short amounts of time and use a camera to keep an eye on your dog (if possible). 

Step 4: Time 

Gradually increase the length of time you leave your dog. During this time you can also test out leaving them in other parts of the house. 

Final Thoughts 

How long should you leave your dog alone at home? The simple answer is “as little time as possible”. Even healthy adult dogs become emotionally distressed if left on their own for several hours a day.

Here are some general recommendations for how long you can leave your dog home alone, based on age:

Puppies: 2 hours per day (puppies are peeing machines and can easily develop separation anxiety).

Adult Dogs: 6 hours per day (most adult dogs will snooze when you are not home).

Elderly Dogs: 0 to 6 hours per day (if your elderly dog has health issues then they shouldn’t be left alone at all).

If your dog is experiencing one or more of these “distressing behaviours”, they are definitely upset with being left alone at home: biting, chewing on expensive stuff, howling (my neighbour’s dog howls for hours when left alone), scratching, whining, and urinating on expensive stuff.

Okay, you’re probably wondering which dogs can be left alone at home. The answer is the “less active”, “calm” dogs who are fond of snoozing which include:  Yorkshire Terrier, Basset Hound, French & English Bulldogs, Chihuahua, Chow-Chow, Shar Pei, Greyhound, Maltese, Great Pyrenees, Cairn Terrier, Shiba Inu, Akita, Beagle and Whippets.

I have a very active collie (sheepdog) called Finn, and he is DEFINITELY NOT suited to being left alone at home. We only ever leave him alone at home when we go food shopping (once every 3 weeks). My partner and I both work from home, which is manna from heaven for an active dog like him. If, however, we didn’t work from home, we would have gotten a less active dog (see list above).

Hmmm, before I stop writing and take my dog for a walkies, I thought you might like these three tips…

Top 3 Tips If Your Dog Is Not Used To Being Left Alone

Tip 1: Go Out The Door
Several times during the day (when you’re at home), slip your shoes on and go outside. If your dog barks or howls when you do this, they have separation anxiety. I know it’s hard, but try to ignore them.

Tip 2: Delayed Welcome
When you return home, resist all temptation to give your dog a hearty welcome at the door. This little tactic will work wonders for training your dog that ‘coming home’ is normal, and nothing to go nuts about. After a few minutes, you can give your dog a hug.

Tip 3: Bed 
When you return home, give your dog the “Go To Bed Command”.  Only after they have dutifully followed your command and settled down, do you welcome them with calm affection. 

Before you go, read on to discover the secret sauce to dog training success...

Loving Leadership

Have a philosophy of loving leadership when training your dog.

Loving Leadership Dog Training Planner

As a loving leader, you should be constantly working on the communication pathways with your dog. At the bare minimum, your dog should also have some basic commands such as the lie-down command, sit command, and stay command.

When your dog knows a few basic dog obedience commands he or she will feel loved because they know what you want and have no anxiety or fear about what they should be doing and when.

Once your dog has a few commands under his or her belt (I mean, collar), practice behaviour dog training, command dog training and tricks dog training regularly to ensure your dog is physically and mentally healthy. As you are probably acutely aware, untrained dogs have a way of taking over the control of a home if not taught otherwise (which can be a nightmare). A trained dog, however, will bring years of doggie love to your household.

Pssst. Don't tell anyone, but you can become a loving leader by getting your paws on my Dog Training Planner. You can get my Dog Training Planner for a limited time at a 70% discount.

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