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Dogs instinctively want to be with their pack and do not like being left alone.  Conditioning your dog to spend time on its own, from the beginning, will help take the fear out of it for your puppy.

 

TEACHING YOUR DOG TO BE ALONE

0-6 MONTHS

Dr. Ian Dunbar

Overview

Since canines are highly social creatures, being alone can be quite stressful for them. Fortunately, you can teach your pup to enjoy his alone time, or at least tolerate it. If he never grasps how to do this, you may wind up with a dog who acts out through excessive barking, digging, and chewing - or develops a very serious case of separation anxiety.

Steps to teaching your pup to be alone

1. Leave your puppy alone in his crate or puppy playroom for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day at first. Gradually increase that length of time to up to two hours for a pup three months and younger, or up to four hours for a pup from three to six months old.
Your pup will begin to adjust to being alone, as well as learn a valuable lesson: you always come back.

We recommend you leave your dog in a safe place, either a roomy crate or puppy playroom, whenever you leave the house until they're about a year old, though some dogs may need a few extra months of training.

2. Make your pup's alone time the main time he eats, and he'll learn to enjoy these stretches more. Using kibble he'd normally get at meals, stuff a couple of Kongs, and give them to your pup whenever you leave him alone.

3. Teach your dog that "quiet time" is a good thing by showing him how to settle down. Every so often, interrupt his playtime with short, quiet breaks. Tell your dog, "settle down," and ask him to lie still for a second or two. Then reward him and resume playing.

At first, these intervals should be very short - just a few seconds in length. When he's able to settle successfully for these brief periods, slowly build up to longer segments - 10 to 20 seconds of settling. Your dog soon learns that quiet time is followed by playtime, and the wait is never more than he can handle.

DogTime tip:

In the beginning, keep his time alone short (30 minutes at most) so he has no trouble remembering that you'll be back. Make the experience pleasant by leaving him with two or three stuffed chew toys. Before your pup goes into his crate, make sure all his needs are met--that he's emptied his bladder and bowels and has had water and some playtime. If he cries, at least you'll know he's not thirsty, uncomfortable, or unattended to.

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