How To Train Your Puppy To Be Alone – Step By Step Guide

train puppy to be alone

Train your puppy to be alone; it will help make your puppy independent, and this life skill will enable you to go to work and social gatherings. A puppy has most likely spent all its time with its littermates, other dogs, and humans at the breeder’s place. That is why you will need to train it to stay alone once you bring it home. 

The training process to empower a puppy to stay alone should ideally begin from day one. However, you must understand that canine separation anxiety can develop at any age especially as your puppy gets more and more used to you and your family members.

We are sure that the suggestions in this guide below will help you easily train your puppy to be alone for a few hours each day.

train your puppy to be alone

How To Train Your Puppy To Be Alone

Do Not Overdo the Attention

When attempting to train your puppy to be alone, one of the biggest mistakes new puppy owners make in the first few days after bringing their pet home is to spend all their time with the puppy. They shower their puppy with attention and constantly remain within its sight. Yes, it is exciting to have a cute puppy at home but you must take care not to overdo the attention. Make sure your family members also understand this.

Let your pup get used to the fact that it will be spending at least some time alone.

Use Crate Training

leaving dog home alone while at work

A dog crate is one of the most important tools to use when training a puppy to be alone. Do not think that crating a puppy is inhumane. On the contrary, a crate provides your little furry friend with a safe, cosy, and den-like space to rest.

Puppies need plenty of sleep and the crate is a good place to take those naps in.

Here are some tips for crate-training your puppy:

  • Buy a crate of an appropriate size. Ensure your puppy can comfortably lie down, stand up and turn around. This is important to prevent the puppy from using one end of the crate as a bathroom.
  • Allow your puppy to explore the crate with the door open. Toss in some toys and treats and let your puppy go inside the crate. Leave the door open and stay within your pup’s sight as it plays in the crate.
  • You can close the crate’s door and leave the puppy inside for a few minutes.
  • Do not crate your puppy for more than 10 minutes and make sure to work nearby so your puppy can still see you.
  • Let your puppy take short naps in the crate.
  • Do take your puppy outside for potty before and after crating it.
  • Start with 1-2 minutes of crating then gradually increase the time your puppy spends in the crate.

Never crate a young puppy for more than two to three hours at a time. 

Provide Kong Toys

leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time

You can make your absence a lot less noticeable to your puppy by keeping it busy and Kong toys are one of the best ways to do so.

You can easily find Kong toys at any pet store or online. Simply fill the toy up with peanut butter, dog biscuits, and some boiled chicken pieces.

(It is best to buy two Kong toys so you can freeze one and always have it ready when you leave.) Frozen Kong toys take longer to empty so your puppy will be engaged for hours.

Start By Leaving The Room

how long does it take to train puppy to be alone

In the first few days of training your puppy to be alone in a room, use the following steps:

  • While you work at your computer or watch television – have your puppy in their crate and occasionally drop training treats in or part of their daily dry food allowance.
  • When you get up to make a coffee or tea, have your puppy in their crate and drop some treats in their crate before leaving the room. When you return in a minute or so, calmly sit back down and don’t make a fuss of the puppy.
  • Crate your puppy with the Kong stuffed as described above.
  • Leave the room – go make popcorn or collect your mail from the porch.
  • Come back into the room after 5 minutes and remove the Kong
  • Repeat the above steps, each time increasing the duration of your absence
  • Don’t forget to give the Kong to your puppy before you leave and remove it as soon as you come back. Your puppy will learn to associate the tasty treats with your absence and create a positive association with it.

If your puppy shows signs of stress, you may be moving too fast. Shorten the duration of your absence.

Practise Leaving Your Puppy in the Dark

how to train puppy to be alone

You must also practise leaving your puppy home alone in the dark. Keep your puppy in the crate with plenty of stuffed toys and Kong toys and turn the lights on and off as you come and go.

Some puppies seem more anxious in the dark, if that is the case, try leaving the lights on to see if it remains calmer. You can also use lights on a timer.

Train your puppy to be alone – Leaving The House

Once your puppy is used to staying alone in a room for about 15 minutes, you can proceed to leave it alone in the house.

  • Do not make a big deal of leaving. Do not sit down and pet or play with the pup. Avoid saying goodbye.
  • Provide several stuffed Kong toys and crate your puppy.
  • Get in the car and leave for about 30 minutes. If your puppy is going to be anxious, it will happen in the first 30 minutes.
  • Come back, do not praise your puppy. Your arrival should be a non-event that triggers calm for your puppy.
  • Give your puppy attention when they have calmed down.
  • If your puppy needs to go to the toilet, calmly take them outside to the toilet and put them back in their crate when they are done, not letting them out till they are calm.
  • Repeat for longer durations.

No adult dog should be left alone for more than 6-8 hours. Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water and a place where it can go potty.

Train your puppy to be alone – Exercise

alone time training schedule

Do ensure that your puppy gets ample exercise throughout the day. A tired dog is less likely to bark or cry when alone. Also, make it a point to spend plenty of time with your puppy when you are home. If you need to work, organise a dog sitter or relative to pop in and calmly interact with your puppy.

FAQs – How To Train Your Puppy To Be Alone?

How Long To Train Your Puppy to Be Left Alone?

Young puppies learn quickly and you can expect results within 2-3 weeks. However, some older puppies or puppies that are used to always having someone around may need up to 6 weeks until they are okay with being left alone.

Is It Cruel to Leave a Puppy Home Alone?

As long as the puppy is exercised, fed, and has access to water and a bathroom area, it can stay home alone for 3-4 hours. An adult dog can stay alone for up to 6-8 hours.
It may still be a great idea to hire a pet sitter to watch your dog or a dog walker to come and relieve your puppy from its crate every few hours. If you have the resources, you could consider getting another dog to give your puppy company while you are away.

Puppy Training Resources

If your puppy is struggling with being left alone, contact Foresight Dog Training to stop any separation anxiety-related behaviour problems from developing.

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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney
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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney

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