It goes without saying that when you welcome a new dog into your life, that you are going to want to spend as much time with them as possible. This is particularly true if they are still a tiny puppy and require lots of care from you and your family.
However, even if you want to spend all your time looking after them, life gets in the way. You may need to return to work or perhaps just head out to the shop for things that you need.
The question that many new dog owners find themselves asking is “when can I leave my dog or puppy alone?” Dogs can be left alone, in fact it is good for them to learn how to entertain themselves, however, they shouldn’t be left at home for too long at a time, as this can cause them to become anxious and stressed out.
At what age can you leave your puppy?
If you are planning on getting a puppy then it is important that you remember that they cannot be left at home for too long. You should be prepared to be able to spend the majority of time with them, especially during those first few months.
Until a puppy is 4 months old the longest that they should be left alone for is 2 hours. It is often suggested that in those early months that you stick to a 1 hour per month rule and this works rather well.
Once your dog is 6 months old, you can start to leave them for longer periods, however the maximum is 6 hours. That said, if you do think that you will be this long then it is recommended that you try to break it up by popping home, or you ask someone else to do that for you.
Teach them how to be home alone
The important thing to remember is that you cannot simply unplug a puppy or a dog and hope that they will switch off. They need to be taught how to be alone in your home and to feel comfortable, settled and happy whilst they are there. This is down to you to do.
You need to take the time to allow them to take quiet time on a regular basis and the best way to do this is to give them their own space, which may be a crate or a bed in their chosen room. It is also a good idea to encourage your puppy to settle down beside you and extend this as you can. This will show them how to calm down and to relax.
They should also feel that your home is their home and it is a great place to be, if you can do this, then they will feel safe and relaxed and in turn, will be much better at coping when you are not home with them.
Dogs are social creatures and they are going to want to spend as much time with you, their owner as possible. If you do have to leave them on a regular basis, for long periods of time, then you should consider putting them in a doggy day-care facility. Getting someone else to check on them and walk them for you or changing up your routine so that you can go home to let them out to go to the toilet and to let off some energy too.