Everyone who owns a pet loves it, and while they would all like to spend as much time as they can with it, it is practically impossible. We all have other commitments, such as jobs, families, or even academic obligations. If you must leave your dog at home as a result, that is quite OK. How would you, however, prepare your puppy for such a scenario, and how long is actually too long to leave them alone at home?
How to prepare and acclimate your new dog to your daily routine
One of the most exciting things in life is getting a new pet, but that also bears its own responsibilities and eventually changes to your routine. If you want to raise a happy and healthy dog, you will need to give it a lot of attention, exercise and social interaction. Additionally, a well adjusted dog will need to learn how to be alone for a period of time.
It is recommended, when getting a new puppy, to plan some free time or even take time off from work so your dog can get adapted to its new environment. Use that time off to get your new puppy acclimated to your home and their crate, and when they are more comfortable in your house, you can begin leaving them alone in their crate for and hour or even more at a time. It is also recommended to have someone take your puppy outside at least once or twice once you return to work.
How long can you leave your dog alone at home, according to its age:
- Under 10 weeks: 1 hour
- 10 to 12 weeks: 2 hours
- 3 months: 3 hours
- 4 months: 4 hours
- 5 months: 5 hours
- 6 months: 6 hours
- Over 6 months: Maximum 6-8 hours
Keep in mind that dogs, ESPECIALLY puppies need to urinate quite often, Use the following as a guideline: puppies that are up to 10 weeks of age more often than not can’t hold their bladder for more than an hour, however dogs between 10 to 12 weeks of age can typically hold up to two hours without urinating.
When your dog hit the three months mark, they can usually hold it for an hour for each month they have been alive, and after six months they usually can hold out for up to six hours. That does not mean that adult dogs should be left home alone for longer than six to eight hours without any kind of bathroom break.
How to train your puppy to be alone
Newborn puppies have likely never been left home alone before, so if you want to teach them how to be alone, begin by doing it while you are still at home.
Try putting them in a crate or an exercise pen and leave them in the room alone, it is crucial to make this a safe and relaxing place for them, opposite of a punishment. But how to make it a safe space though? Do this by feeding them meals inside of it or giving them special toys specifically in their crate.
Once you have begun crate training your pup, it is generally recommended to make a schedule of potty and exercise breaks, leave some special toys to keep the puppy busy while you’re away as well.
However, if you are a bit too nervous to leave your puppy alone or you are simply curious about how they would react when you’re gone, you can get yourself a dog camera so you can check up on your lovable pet when you are not present at home.
However, does the same apply to older dogs as well?
The simple answer to this is no, while puppies do require constant care, they will, in time, learn how to be comfortable alone for a long work day.
The same need for constant care does not apply to older dogs, although senior dogs may need to go out more often, so having someone be at home to let them out once in a while may be required.
But, that being said, every dog is different. When you get to know and observe your dog for a while, you will eventually better understand its needs and act accordingly.
What to take into consideration before owning a dog
While bringing a puppy into your home does bring a lot of joy and excitement, you should really consider your current schedule and availability first before getting a dog. Along with the period of time that the puppy will be left home alone, you should prepare before making that decision.
Since they are primarily social animals, dogs should not be stuck in a kennel or tied to a post outside all day. They are truly happiest when they are together with their family. You will need to provide your puppy with adequate exercise, bonding time and time to get used to their new home.
However, if you do not intend to spend a lot of time with your dog every day, morning till night, you should consider your other options.
If you are set on getting a dog, designate a person in your family for each responsibility, such as feeding, grooming, training… Getting a new dog is an amazing addition, but only if everyone decides to do their part when caring for it.