Leaving your dog alone at home

Leaving your dog alone at home

The dog is a social animal. They research and need social contacts, which is why staying alone is not natural for them. Therefore, it is important to learn him this from an early age. Of course, it is also possible to do this when he is older, but it may take longer to learn.

Is there an ideal duration to leave your dog alone?

That's THE question! Well the best answer is: The shortest time possible! 😊

By the way, if you plan to adopt a dog, you'll have to ask yourself if, according to your life rhythm, having a dog is really compatible. Indeed, if you walk him for 10 minutes in the morning, to leave him alone for 8 hours during your working day and then walk him for 10 minutes when you come back, it will clearly not be enough. It is better, in this case, to adopt an animal that requires less presence and attention.

Finally, the length of time is variable on a case by case basis. It will depend on the age of your dog, his health, his character, his habits and the conditions that you leave him in. For example, a puppy that has been progressively used to being alone can be left alone for a maximum of 2 hours and an adult dog between 4 and 5 hours.

What can be done to make this happen in the best conditions?

  • You have to gradually get him used to being alone. At first, you can simply leave the room where you are, close the door and come back in 1 minute later, and so on, gradually increasing the distance and duration. The goal is for your dog to understand that your absence is normal.
  • Before leaving, it is recommended to take him for a long walk, so that he can expend his energy. He can then rest peacefully while you are away.
  • You can leave him something to chew on, such as a Kong toy filled with pate or candy. Chewing not only keeps him busy, but also has a de-stressing effect.
  • There are maternal pheromone collars or diffusers that help to relax dogs. Bach flowers are also used for calming purposes.
  • You can also leave the radio on, this can help him feel less alone.

What are the alternatives so that he doesn't stay alone too long?

  • Ask a relative to come and walk him and spend a little time with him.
  • Take him to a dog boarding.
  • Hire a dog-sitter.

What to avoid?

  • Don't reprimand your dog if he has done something wrong in your absence. The dog has a short term memory and will not understand the reason for your displeasure. Moreover, if he destroyed things, it's because he felt emotions in your absence and tried to find a way to calm down.
  • Locking him in a transport crate, because this is simply forbidden in Switzerland.
  • Leaving objects (e.g. children's toys) or food (e.g. chocolate) lying around that could be dangerous for him.
  • Leave him alone in the garden. He may develop bad habits in your absence, such as barking at all passers-by.
  • Adopt a second dog to make him feel less lonely. If this is the only reason, it's better to avoid it, because having a second four-legged friend is no guarantee that it will be better.

What to do if, even though you have done your best, your dog still has bad behaviors when you are away?

Your dog destroys everything he finds, he barks, he does his business, etc.? The reasons for these behaviors can be various. It can be due to fear of separation, boredom, frustration or simply because he couldn't hold himself because he was left at home for too long. In order to correct these behaviors in the best possible way, it is recommended to contact a canine professional.

The info/advice of our canine specialist, Roxane Fumeaux, from Délic Canin ?

Dogs have a certain awareness of the time that passes, even if it is not the same as that of humans. A research showed that dogs left alone for a longer period of time had a higher motor activity and a higher heart rate when their owner came back, than those left alone for a shorter period of time.