Bringing a puppy home is one of life’s most floofy pleasures. With overflowing cuteness, there’s no blaming you for wanting to lap up puppy cuddles all day long. However, unfortunately for most of us, we have to go off to work from time to time to support our furmily and of course buy our new pup all of the fun new toys they deserve. With this, many new pawrents wonder how long can you leave a puppy alone. Today we’re going to answer this question as well as give you some advice on how to teach your new pup the independence they need to cope without their hooman parents.
How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?
The answer to “how long can you leave a puppy alone?”, really depends on the age of your pup. Dogs are social creatures and thrive off of spending time with their hooman best friends as well as other pups. If they are left alone for extended periods from a young age and aren’t able to socialise with other dogs or see their pawrents, they can become bored and even show signs of depression. They can also develop other behavioural issues such as aggression, anxiety or fear which when established, can be difficult to train out of them.
Due to their small bodies, puppies also need to use the potty much more frequently than their adult counterparts. So leaving them alone for too long can run the risk of them doing their business in places they shouldn’t which not only will lead to a yucky-smelling carpet or stained sofa, but also a poorly toilet-trained dog.
As a guide, it’s best not to leave your puppy for longer than they can hold their bladder which is:
- 10 weeks old: 1 hour.
- 12 weeks old: 2-3 hours.
- 4 months old: 4 hours.
- 5 months old: 5 hours.
- 6 months old: 6-8 hours.
Once your pooch is six months old they’re officially entering their teenage years so can be left alone longer. Nevertheless, it’s not a great idea to leave any dog for longer than six hours at a time to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour, as well as anxiety and depression.
How To Train Your Puppy It’s Okay To Be Left Alone
When you first bring your cute bundle of joy home, you have to recognise that they will have never been left alone before. Prior to adoption, they would have always been around either their mother or brothers and sisters. Therefore it's impawtent to be patient and start slowly when teaching your puppy that it’s okay to be left alone from time to time.
Here are our top tips on how to train your puppy to be left alone:
Create a Safe Space For Your Pup to Spend Alone Time
Dogs are den animals, so creating a space in your home where they feel secure and safe is helpful when it finally comes time for you to leave them alone. A crate is a great example of this, and we’ve written an entire guide on how to crate train your puppy in five steps, so go check that out to get up to speed.
Other examples would be a puppy playpen or even a particular room of your house such as the laundry that you can make cosy and practical.
Feeding them special meals in their safe space or providing them with treats and games, are great ways for your pup to associate alone time with something positive. Some clever brands (hint Scrumbles) even make healthy dog calming treats which can help to chill your puppy out if they are getting stressed when you leave them home alone.
Slowly Spend Time Away From Your Puppy
Now that your pup has a safe space set up, it’s time to leave them alone. I know, cue the tears! But, it’s an essential form of any good puppy training. Remember to only leave them in their safe space for as long as they can hold their bladders which we detailed above in the “how long can you leave a puppy alone?” section.
At first, you can stay in your house whilst they’re in their safe space, just remove yourself from sight into another room. Then gradually as your pup becomes more independent you can start leaving home and extending the time spent away from them.
Reward Good Behaviour
Whenever you come back into the room to see your brave pup, always reinforce good behaviour with a delicious dog treat or playtime with their favourite toys. You should never punish or shout at your puppy if they show any signs of separation anxiety such as whining, whimpering or barking, as this will only make it worse. If you think your puppy isn’t coping with being left alone without you, reduce the time you spend away from them and then slowly build it back up – patience and persistence are key!
Have Someone Check in On Them
If you know that you’re going to be out for longer than 6-8 hours, have someone come in and check on them or take them for a quick walk at lunchtime. Exercise is a great way to tire your puppy out as well as provide them with enough social time to bridge the gap between you leaving home and getting back from your 9 to 5.
How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone In Their Crate?
The answer to “how long can you leave a puppy alone in their crate?” is again the same as how long they can hold their bladders. So for a three-month-old puppy that would be a maximum of three hours in their crate.
Scrumbles Puppy Treats Are Great For Training
When training independence in your pup, reward-based training with yummy dog treats is important to reinforce good behaviour.
If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritionally dense treat that won’t break the bank, head on over to our range of puppy treats.
With high levels of human-grade meat and natural ingredients, they’re easy on sensitive puppy tummies but also pack a flavourful punch, ideal for crate training or training alone time for your puppy.
In fact, they rate so highly amongst dogs that they score a 100% in palatability testing meaning that spending time by themselves, may be your puppy’s favourite aspect of the day!
We also add powerful prebiotics to all of our dog treats to maintain healthy digestion and promote pretty poops so you can say bye bye to puppy diarrhoea.
Make the switch today for one independent and healthy doggy tomorrow!