How to get your puppy used to being left alone
In the first year or so, puppies and young dogs shouldn’t be left for too long on their own, as they need to experience as much of the world as possible to ensure that they grow up to be sociable and well behaved. Young dogs are also easily bored and will get up to all sorts of mischief if left alone for too long, and it’s important that you are there to ensure they have enough physical and mental stimulation to help them behave appropriately.
However, it’s a good idea to teach your puppy to get used to your absence for short periods of time, even if you don’t intend to leave them alone for long. At some point, you will have to leave your puppy at home and if they aren’t used to it, they may become very distressed. The idea is to teach them that being alone isn’t scary at all; it’s actually a time to relax and feel comfortable.
Firstly you’ll need to decide on where you are happy for your puppy to be left alone. Some people prefer their dogs to be left in a utility room or kitchen due to ease of cleaning up any potential mess. There is nothing wrong with this – however you don’t want to make the mistake of putting your puppy in this area only when you are leaving them. This is because you want them to feel as comfortable and relaxed as they possibly can, and if they only get put in this area when they are left, they may learn to only associate it with isolation.
Preparing an area
Stair gates are fantastic tools to use when helping puppies get used to being left alone. They aren’t as scary as a closed door as they still allow your puppy to see, smell and hear you. The key thing is that you’ll be able to help your puppy get used to a little bit of distance between you while you are still in the house.
Stair gates are best placed on the door to the room you have decided you will leave your puppy alone in. Put a comfortable bed and water in this room, and chew items too should your puppy need them (chewing is a calming activity). Many dogs will benefit from being left with a radio on low level as this provides a little background noise and ‘company’. It may also muffle any startling sounds from the outside, which might otherwise make your puppy jump. Talking stations are best, as opposed to loud music.
Putting an item of clothing you’ve worn recently in your puppy’s bed may also increase your puppy’s sense of security during the following training and when they are left alone. Adaptil products can also be of benefit as they release comforting pheromones, which can help dogs feel more relaxed.