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Teaching your dog to be alone

Teaching your pup or dog to be comfortable with alone time is crucial since canines are social animals. By following these steps, you can help your furry friend enjoy their alone time or at least tolerate it. This will prevent behaviors like excessive barking, digging, and chewing and the development of severe separation anxiety.

Here are the steps to teach your pup or dog to be alone:

  1. Start by initially leaving your puppy alone in a crate or designated puppy playroom for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day. Gradually increase this duration to two hours for puppies three months and younger, or up to four hours for puppies between three and six months old.

This gradual alone time will allow your pup to adjust and understand that you will always return.

It is recommended to leave your dog in a safe and spacious area, such as a crate or puppy playroom, whenever you leave the house until they reach about a year old. Some dogs may require a few extra months of training.

  1. Make your pup’s alone time a positive experience by incorporating meals during these periods. Use your pup’s regular kibble and stuff some Kongs with it. Give the stuffed Kongs to your dog whenever you leave them alone.
  2. Teach your dog to associate “quiet time” with something positive by showing them how to settle down. Occasionally interrupt their playtime with short, quiet breaks. Use the command “settle down” and ask your dog to lie still for a few seconds. Then reward them and resume playing.

Start with very short intervals, just a few seconds, for the initial settling periods. Once your dog can successfully settle down for these brief periods, gradually increase the duration to 10 to 20 seconds. Your dog will learn that quiet time is followed by playtime and that the waiting period is manageable.

Following these steps can help your pup or dog become more comfortable and content with being alone. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts.

Source: Adapted from Dogtime.