The first few weeks of bringing your puppy home is a whirlwind of fun, games, cuddles, and lots of running around. You may have taken a few days off work and being at home with your new little furball has been great. But all great things must come to an end and this must too. Work shall begin soon and at some point, you are going to have to leave your precious pup at home alone. As heart-breaking as that idea may seem, this is the reality of the situation and must be dealt with, However, you cannot just leave your pup at home out of the blue after spending days with him. This may cause him to suffer from separation anxiety, a condition where your dog feels anxiety and stress when you’re not around.
There are several ways to train your dog to stay at home alone. It is true that different breeds of dogs take different periods of time to get used to living alone. While some are naturally clingier than general, others thrive on being left alone. It may even be harder to train puppies than to train mature dogs as pups may need their owners comparatively more and be less used to being left alone. Similarly, if your dog is older and is used to having you around all the time, it may take them up to 6 weeks to train. However long it may take to train your dog, always remember to include adequate incentives so that staying home alone is relatively more fun for them. Make sure you load them up with lots of attention and love so that they do not feel unloved or uncared for when left alone.
There are many tips and pointers on how to train your dog to stay at home alone. Before we start, it is important to remember that each dog has a different rate of progress and you must stop training immediately if it is distressing your dog. On that note, let’s get started!
You can establish staying at home alone as a part of his routine. For this you have to follow these steps:
- Leave your puppy alone for 5 minutes at first and stay in a different room. You can also walk right out the door to give your puppy a feel of what the actual situation will be like.
- Upon returning, shower your puppy with treats, praises, and cuddles. This establishes the notion that whenever he stays at home alone, he will receive a lot of love after you return.
- Repeat this step but extend the alone time to 15 minutes. Your puppy may whimper or groan but it is important for you to stay strong and continue training. Again, make sure you give him lots of attention when you return.
- Over the next couple of days, you can slowly but steadily increase the length of time you leave him alone at home. Remember to give him his requisite treat and attention every time you return from outside.
- Remember never to give in to your dog’s whining and sulking. As difficult as this may sound, doing so may establish the notion that whining will get him things he wants which is also problematic. Make sure you give them the cold shoulder and ignore them when they’re whimpering or sulking.
This way your pup will slowly learn to spend time alone by themselves and even grow to enjoy it.
Some important pointers to keep in mind while training your dog to stay alone at home are:
- Make sure your dog has a comfy bed of his own with his favorite blankets and cushions. You can even place this bedding on a spot that he frequently goes to. This makes the space more intimate for him ensuring that he feels comfortable being left alone.
- You can also leave him food puzzles to solve when you leave home. This is an excellent tactic that can keep dogs distracted for hours.
- You can buy them new toys to keep them occupied when you leave them alone for the first few times. Toys can keep them content, relaxed, and occupied for hours when you leave.
- You can also take your dog out for a nice, long walk before you leave. They say that a tired dog is a happy dog. If your dog is sleeping while you’re away at work, it makes the situation a whole lot easier for them.
- Spend a few minutes playing tug-o-war or catch with your dog before you leave. This assures them that they still have your attention as well as tires them out. A sleeping dog will not mind being left alone too much.
- Remember to take your dog out to poop or pee before leaving them at home alone. They may be distressed if they are at home alone and desperately need to expel. They may also end up soiling your interiors if they cannot control themselves any longer.
- Remember to go straight to your dog and spend some time with them upon returning. You can give them a treat or spend some time cuddling them. This will associate love and care with being left alone at home for them.
- If your dog sleeps with you every night, it may be harder for them to stay alone at home without you. This may be painful but it is important for your dog to sleep alone in a separate room if they need to stay alone sometimes. You may hate doing this but in the long run, this will help reduce their separation anxiety a lot.
- Never punish your dog. If you come home and see that they have soiled the floor or broken something, never punish them. This may lead them to act up, even more, to win back your love and approval.
- Do not go straight into leaving your dog alone at home. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase that time length. Give them adequate build-up time to get used to being left alone at home.
These are the few essential ways in which you can train your dog to stay at home alone. These steps will also lead you to worry less about your pooch while you’re at work and the two of you can maintain a perfect work-play balance together.