- Is it OK to leave a dog alone for 8 hours ?
- How long can dogs and puppies be safely left home alone ?
- What to do to safely leave your dog home alone?
- How to teach your dog to stay more than 8 hours at home without destroying it?
- How can I make sure that my dog can stay alone at home l all day without stressing him ?
- 1- Ignore your dog before you leave and right after you come back
- 2-Make your dog insensitive to your departure and arrival times
- 3- leave your dog with something to keep him busy during your long absence
- 4. Make your dog spend some energy before you leave and a little after you return in the evening
- 5- Some other tips to keep your dog busy during your prolonged absence
- Which dog breeds are more tolerant of loneliness?
- Can I leave my puppy alone all day?
- Final Thoughts
Most of dogs can be left home alone for 8 hours if they have already been through their potty training and crate training, but giving your dog some time out during your lunch breaks is the best way to avoid destructive dog behavior and separation anxiety.
Is it OK to leave a dog alone for 8 hours ?
Wondering if you can leave your dog alone all day and go to work?
As I said before , the answer is yes , you can leave your dog alone for 8 hours or more every day if you want as long as he is over a year old, crate trained, trained to stay alone, non destructive and of course to respect some rules, like :
- Do not give him access to a lot of space
- Leave your dog something to keep him busy during your absence, such as toys, music…
- Ignore your dog the minutes before you leave in the morning and the moments after you return in the evening.
- Walk your dog before you leave in the morning (important!) and after you come home in the evening so that he can exercise and get a little tired.
It was just a few quick tips on what to do if you leave your dog alone all day, and if you want more details on the subject, I invite you to continue reading…
How long can dogs and puppies be safely left home alone ?
Are you working a full-time 8 hour job and you absolutely want to get a dog ?
First and foremost, a dog, despite its age or training, should never be left alone for more than 12 hours without having a break.
When you are going to be away for more than 8 hours, you may need to take your dog to a doggy daycare center ($10 to $25 for a half day and less than $15 to $40 for the hole day) and pick him up at the end of the day.
For most dogs, 8 hours home alone is acceptable but it’s always better if they can have a break at midday.
To find out how many hours your dog or puppy can be left alone ( the time between two breaks ), you can do this little calculation:
The number of hours he can be left alone = Dog’s age (in months) + 1
A 4 months old dog will be able to stay alone for (4+1) hours, that is to say 5 hours.
This is usually the time your dog can technically hold its bladder, and since a dog will never relieve itself in its crate or playpen, exceeding this time period may lead to a urinary tract or other problems.
Puppies less than 20 weeks old will need more frequent breaks during their first few weeks in your home because:
- First, your puppy needs water, to be fed and to be supervised.
- Their bladder control isn’t yet that good
- They need you to be constantly with them to crate and potty train them at least during the first week or ten days.
- You can’t leave treats, toys or anything in the crate to keep them busy while you are away (they can choke on )
- You don’t know yet your puppy’s health conditions and you risk missing out on a potential health issues.
- Your puppy, not yet used to his new life, may suffer from separation anxiety and acquire a destructive behavior.
What to do to safely leave your dog home alone?
When it comes to leaving a dog or a puppy home alone during the whole day, you must absolutely:
1- Puppies are a lot to deal with
You have to make sure that you can take off about a week or 10 days to stay home with your puppy to prepare him gradually to accept and manage well your absences, but especially how to keep him well fed, safe contained and especially from tearing up everything in your home, all this in :
- Getting him used to his new life, new feeding and play time schedule.
- Giving him a complete crate training
- Potty-training and figuring out your puppy’s potty and sleep schedule.
- Finally, getting him used to new outing times and other roles that you deem necessary.
If your dog is an adult (over a year old) and has already got its basic training, you are just getting him adjusted to his new life… let’s move on to the second point.
2- What to do before leaving your dog in the morning ?
You should always get your dog ready in the morning before putting him in his crate and heading to work, here is what you should do:
Even if older dogs can hold their bladder longer, you should always encourage your dog to relieve himself before you leave the house (Never Rush Your Dog’s Morning Potty).
Just give him his breakfast and he should eliminate within 20 minutes after he finishes eating (some puppies will vomit their food if you don’t stay with them for a while after they finish eating!)
A tired dog is a happy dog, so remember to exercise your dog every morning for at least 15 minutes to tire him out, this will also help him stay calm while you are away.
Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to any electrical wires or objects that he might accidentally fall on, and make sure your MIPC Doggie camera is turned on and facing your furry friend’s crate or playpen so that you can monitor your dog from your workplace and even talk to him via your smartphone if he seems confused or nervous to comfort and calm him until you get home from work.
Finally , you can leave some curtains open or turn on your dog’s favorite TV station ( usually a special animals or toons channel ) , say him goodbye , see you soon and you won’t be late .you should also know that some colors have a tendency to relax dogs..
Before going out, never show your dog that you are worried or that you feel guilty for leaving him alone!!! their sixth sense is very developed and this will only stress them and trigger the separation anxiety process, just smile and close the door behind you.
3- During Lunch Breaks
If you’re always coming home for lunch, that’s perfect, an hour lunch break at midday would be perfect because you can’t just have your dog locked up in its crate or playpen from 8 to 5 PM!
Otherwise, especially with a puppy, you should absolutely ask a family member or friend to come and see him for at least half an hour:
- Take your puppy out of his crate or playpen
- Check if he is ok
- Get him out into his allowed potty spot to relieve himself ( puppies may need 6 potty breaks per day ).
- Give him some water
- Give him some cuddles and a short playtime (some exercise why not 15 min midday timeout)
If your puppy is less than 18 weeks old, he should have his noontime lunch and do his business usually 15 minutes after the meal, otherwise give him a treat or some special snack and put him back in his crate before going back to work.
What to do if you don’t have lunch breaks?
If it is a puppy, you have no choice and you will as I said before, either register your dog in a doggy daycare center, so you drop your dog there in the morning and you will pick him up when you come back from work.
Otherwise, you leave your dog at home and a pet sitter will come at noon and take care of your dog for you, the price is usually around $25 for 30 minutes.
If it’s an adult dog, before leaving him alone at home all day, make sure that he doesn’t risk any accident or poisoning in your absence, that he has access to water, food and toys.
But above all you must give him free access to his potty pad (grass pad).
4- When you come back from work
In the evening, you must take your dog out , he needs exercise (the best would be to train him to tire him morally too) at least for an hour or two, taking him to the dog park would be an excellent idea, dogs need at least one walk per day, they must spend their excess energy to avoid that they spend this energy to destroy your house in your absence, or to bark and make other nonsense.
Once back from the dog park, give him food, teach him some tricks and do not forget to take him out to do his business before putting him back in his crate.
How to teach your dog to stay more than 8 hours at home without destroying it?
The secret to successfully teaching your dog to stay alone for long hours is to do it gradually
For example start by teaching him to stay alone in one room of the house while you are in another...and increase the time and distance as you progress in the training.
In fact, what causes dogs to behave badly during their owner’s absence is separation anxiety.
If you leave a dog that suffers from this problem alone all day long, he will either :
- Destroy and ransack the house
- Defecate everywhere and indulge in marking all the rooms
- If he still has some energy left, he will bark like crazy and turn all your neighbors against you lol…
How do you know if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety and therefore cannot stay alone in the house for too long?
Here are the signs that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety and is not yet ready to stay home alone all day long ..:
- If your dog is usually overexcited when you get ready to leave the house in the morning and also when you come home in the evening, you will notice that your dog follows you around the house as if he is still afraid that you will leave without him…
- If you find when you come home that your dog hasn’t touched his toys or his food if you have left him some kibble in a “Kong” for example … etc…
- If your neighbors come to you and complain because they heard your dog barking for hours while you are not there !
- If your dog destroys everything in the house, shoes, table legs, bed … etc…
Mistakes you should not make if you want to teach your dog to stay alone
Here are the three things you must stop doing with your dog today if you want to prepare him to endure your absence for 8 hours or more:
- Never stay with your dog all day, so you must learn to leave your dog alone from time to time.
- Never ask your dog to follow you everywhere in the house or the property, if he is for example with you in the living room, you are not obliged to call him if you go in the kitchen and he does not follow you!!
- Never let your dog sleep with you in bed , even under the bed .
How can I make sure that my dog can stay alone at home l all day without stressing him ?
Here is what you have to do to get your dog used to your absence all day long and help your dog to really enjoy his time even when he is alone at home :
1- Ignore your dog before you leave and right after you come back
The first thing to do is to make a habit of ignoring your dog for 3 to 5 minutes before you go out in the morning and before you come back in the evening.
It’s hard to do, I know it’s hard to do, but do it for the good of your dog, who has gotten used to dramatizing those two moments because he feels the anguish of leaving him alone for all his hours and becomes stressed in his turn.
Why should you ignore your dog when he gets excited ?
You have to ignore your dog when you come back home in the evening so that he doesn’t associate your coming back with the fact that you are playing with him .
In fact, it is important to make your dog understand that it is normal for him to stay home alone all that time and that you, as his owner, know what you are doing and he must trust you.
2-Make your dog insensitive to your departure and arrival times
Your dog’s stress starts long before you leave, in fact as soon as your dog sees you looking for your car keys, putting on your coat …etc.
He knows that you are going to leave and that you may be away all day long, and that he doesn’t like…
So you have to start by making your dog insensitive to this moment of departure and all the things you are used to do before you go out in the morning.
During your weekends, for example, you can practice the ” fake leavings ” exercise with your dog.
Here are some examples
1- You will simulate your departure, you take your coat and your keys, but instead of going out you just sit down to watch TV or play with your dog, you can even give him some treats.
2-You go out, close the door behind you and wait for a while and then come back, play and reward your dog, don’t go in if you hear your dog barking or scratching at the door … !!
Try to increase the amount of time you stay outside before coming back to your dog.
You can use the webcam on your laptop to spy on your dog and see live how he behaves while you are outside
“You can also use two Facebook accounts and call each other live.
Ignoring your dog from the moment you arrive until he calms down, will make him understand that staying alone all day long is a normal thing and he doesn’t have to be rewarded for it !
Little by little, your dog will accept his new truth and his new way of life which consists in seeing you only during the night and the weekends.
Final Tip when leaving your dog home alone for the whole day
You can start by teaching your dog to stay alone in one room of the house while you are in another room, so you will gradually get your dog used to not having you in sight all the time.
To do this, just take him to that room, show him where he should sit or lie down, go back to the other room and if he follows you, close the door behind you and ignore whatever he does.
Only open the door if he is back in the room or if he stops crying …etc….
3- leave your dog with something to keep him busy during your long absence
Some people feed the dog just before going work and close the door behind them, by doing so, the dog won’t notice.
Toys that your dog can chew on or that can be stuffed with food and treats , see the one i recommend on Amazon .
There an other toy , it’s really cool “Treat Tosser” ideal to keep your dog company while you are at work , you will be able to see your dog , talk with him and give him treat directly from your Office , juste by using your smartphone !!
So you’ll choose a few toys, such as the kong, and you’ll stuff them with the treats your dog loves the most, you can freeze them so they last longer.
Your dog should only have these treats while you are away, so never give your dog these treats when you are at home !
The goal here is to make sure that these toys filled with treats can replace you at home and that the dog sees this as a good deal !
You also have to leave the dog his water bowl next to his basket or his crate, you can also see how to do the Crate Training if it’s a puppy that you have and you want to learn how to leave him alone in his crate ( not more than 3 to 4 hours!!).
You can also help your dog to bear your absence by leaving him one of your old T Shirts …so that he will have a strong smell of you right next to him even if you are not at home.
4. Make your dog spend some energy before you leave and a little after you return in the evening
If you are used to jogging in the morning, think about teaching your dog to run with you and take him with you every morning.
If not, walking your dog early in the morning before you go to work and leaving him alone in the house will exhaust him and he will spend most of his time sleeping when he is alone in your house.
Help your dog to mentally exercise himself because that’s what will make him even more tired, play brain games with him at night, let him sniff at everything that interests him and use his nose when you walk him
5- Some other tips to keep your dog busy during your prolonged absence
If you’re away all day and you have to leave your dog alone at home, you could leave the TV on on an animal channel, or some music, here’s some music specially made to soothe dogs ( 9 hours ) plus an Anxiety solution Ebook if you want to buy it for your dog ( check ou the price , i think it was $29 ).
It would be like a background noise that will cover all the other noises that will come from outside and that can stress your dog during your absence.
There are also smells known to soothe dogs, like the smell of lavender, you can also buy a Bach flower, they say it calms dogs too. There are also Dog Calming Diffusers ( link to Amazon ), these are scent diffusers that are supposed to calm the dog when he is left alone at home.
Which dog breeds are more tolerant of loneliness?
To begin, you should know that dogs like Labrador, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds or Border Collies are very active dogs and it would be very difficult to make them accept to stay alone all day without making them sad !
It is also important to know that regardless of its breed, a dog does not like to stay alone, especially for long periods of time, that’s why you must train your dog and make him get used to your prolonged absence.
But I did some research and I found that specialists have selected a few breeds of dogs, which are more inclined to stay alone than others, here is the list if you want to adopt a dog when you can’t stay with him during the day:
- Chow Chow
- Lhasa Apso
- Shiba Inu
- French Bulldog
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Basset Hound
- Boston Terrier
- Scottish Terrier
- English Foxhound
- Chinese Shar-Pei
They are generally dogs that do not require too much interaction and exercise that is why they are included in this list, but they must be conditioned to stay alone for 8 hours training them and getting them used to solitude, although this will be easier to do with these breeds than with other dogs such as the German shepherd …
Can I leave my puppy alone all day?
No, a puppy needs your presence, you can leave him alone in his crate, I showed you how to train him in a previous article.
But if you work all day and you want to adopt a dog, think rather about an adult dog, that you will get used to solitude
If not , you should consider even a senior dog, because an old dog that you will bring back from a shelter, will quickly adopt your lifestyle and will easily stay alone, 8 hours at home and will wait for you nicely because he will spend most of his day sleeping, especially if you walk him a little in the morning before you go to work.
My opinion is if you have a puppy, If you’re crating you could go younger but you’ll need a dog walker, because if you leave the puppy more than 4 hours locked in his crate, he’s really not going to like it and become hysterical …
Bring a new playmate for your dog
It’s true that if you can adopt another dog, who has a calm temperament, like an old dog, this one will keep your dog company when you are not at home.
Even a cat could do the trick, if your dog gets along well with cats of course…
There, you know now that you can’t just close the door and leave your dog alone all day without preparing him for it, because dogs are very social animals and if you don’t get used to them, they can’t stand to be alone especially for long periods of time.
My last piece of advice is that even if you can get your dog used to waiting for you for 8 hours, try from time to time to surprise him by going for his lunch walk or ask a dog walker to do it for you .