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9 Tips for Leaving a Puppy Alone at Home for the First Time

Jack Russel Terrier puppy with head resting on teddy bear laying on a rug

Leaving a puppy alone for the first time can be a daunting experience. Many dog breeds do not fare well when left alone and can turn chaotic due to anxiety. However, it’s quite unrealistic to assume that you will never have to leave your puppy alone at home.

At one point or another, you will have to rush out for something and leave your puppy behind. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to make sure your puppy doesn’t turn destructive when alone. Keep reading to learn about some useful tips for leaving a puppy alone for the first time.

Puppy-Proof Your House  

Puppy proofing is the first thing you should do if you have to leave your pup alone at home. The following are some of the most important things that you must ensure before leaving.

Covering all wires – Do not leave exposed wires anywhere in your home. Puppies are curious creatures and will go in any nook and cranny they can.

Put away chewable items – Make sure you do not have any important items laying around or you might come back with teeth marks on them!

Cover fence holes – This only applies if you leave your puppy out in the yard. Make sure the fence is completely closed because your puppy may find it intriguing to go for a walk.

Set the temperature – Make sure the temperature inside the house is comfortable for your puppy. Many dog breeds cannot stay comfortable in temperatures that are too high or too low.

Crate Train Your Puppy

Puppy sitting next to cage

A lot of puppies feel safe inside a strong crate. The sense of security your puppy gets from being inside the little den calms him/her down. You can also modify the crate to turn it into a comfortable bed for your canine companion.

Therefore, it’s always a nice idea to train your puppy to get inside the crate. This may take some time, but with proper encouragement and treats, your puppy will learn that the crate is a safe space. Also, most of the damage will be restricted inside the crate, even if your puppy decides to become chaotic.

Provide Lots of Exercises 

Puppy chewing rope toy

A tired puppy cannot be destructive. If you have to leave your furry friend at home, make sure you provide him/her with enough exercise. In this way, your puppy will do nothing but take a nap in your absence.

You can take your puppy out for a long walk to ensure that he/she is tired. This is one of the best methods to fulfill your puppy’s desire to play and exercise needs. It also helps to release all the pent-up energy your dog may have, allowing him/her to rest later on.

Ensure a Sufficient Supply of Food and Water

3 Labrador puppies eating from metal bowls

Before leaving, make sure your puppy has plenty of food and water. Free feeding a puppy is NEVER a good idea because dogs tend to eat way more than what they need. Therefore, you should have a proper feeding schedule for your puppy. Try not to leave your puppy alone for the first time when it’s his/her feeding time. After all, you need to ensure that your pup is comfortable before leaving.

Keep Your Pup Occupied 

Husky puppy standing outdoors with toys in mouth

Dog toys and puzzles are excellent to keep your puppy busy when you are not around. They provide enough mental stimulation to keep your puppy distracted. Some dog puzzles even have hidden treats inside them and can feel rewarding for your puppy. In some cases, your puppy may not even realize that you’re gone because he/she will be having fun.

Install Indoor Cameras

Remote monitoring equipment, such as cameras, can give you the required peace of mind. This is because it allows you to check in on your puppy at any time. Some cameras even have treat dispensers and two-way communication features so that your dog can hear or even see you. Puppies feel very relaxed when hearing their owner’s voice. Hence, these products allow you to peacefully leave your puppy alone at home.

Hire Professional Help 

dog walker kneeling behind 4 small dogs

Dog walkers are usually available for hire and they can give your dog company while you’re not home. They can play with your dog and take care of all their needs in your absence. It also fulfills the social interaction needs of your dog, especially if he/she doesn’t like other canines.

Doggie Daycare

You can also consider a doggie daycare if you have to leave your puppy alone for a long time. Certain daycare services even collect the puppy from home to provide convenience to their customers. Although it can cost you some extra cash, it is an extremely convenient alternative (if you can afford it).

Start Training Early

Beagle puppy running across grass

The earlier you start your puppy’s training, the faster he/she learns. Early age is prime time for your puppy to learn new behaviors because he/she is easier to control. Contrastingly, an older dog can be harder to train because it’s difficult to unlearn bad behaviors at that age.

How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?

The duration for which you can leave your puppy alone normally depends on his/her age. The general guidelines for leaving a puppy alone are as follows.

Less than 8 weeks – Do not leave your puppy alone at all. During this phase of life, your pup needs your continuous attention. If you really have to leave, do not leave him/her alone for more than 30 minutes. Ideally, you should drop him/her off at your neighbor’s (or friend’s) home for proper monitoring.

8-10 weeks – At this age, your puppy starts to learn new things. Therefore, leaving him/her for an hour shouldn’t be a problem. However, don’t be surprised if you come back to a few accidents around the house.

10-12 weeks – This is the perfect time to start training your puppy to be alone for longer durations. It’s important to teach your pup how to be independent (and behave) when you are away. 

3-6 months – Puppies around this age can be left alone for about 5 hours, provided their basic needs are being met. You may also need some behavioral conditioning to train your puppy.

More than 6 months – The general rule of thumb is to add an hour (to the alone time) for every year added to your dog’s age. However, once your dog turns one year old, make sure his/her exercise needs are met too!

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