She is 13 weeks, a dream so far, sleeps well at night, very sweet gentle nature and doing (mostly!) well with toilet training. From what I have read, we can leave her for approx 4 hours?! At the moment this isn't really necessary but we are leaving her for the odd hour or so, as we realise at some point she needs to be left (and be reasonably happy with this!) So, my question is, is it normal for our puppy to be so heart wrenchingly distressed when we return after an hour or so? Also, do the many experts on here have any tips? Is there anything we can get her that would help/keep her busy? We leave her with a variety of toys, her bed, cushions etc As well as various socks, vests etc that she has become attached to!
When you say she is distressed ,in what way is she distressed ? Also ,little pups shouldn't be left for 4 hours ,what you are doing by building the length of time you leave for gradually is the best way to do it. Stuffed kongs generally keep them interested for a while .
It takes her ages to stop shaking/whimpering once we return and I imagine it's pretty loud in our house while we were away! Our vet mentioned something about an hour for every month they are old plus one more?! I am aware that I am somewhat of a softie, so I want to try and get this 'right'!
Four hours is too long to start with. Can you leave her in the kitchen with doors shut for half an hour while you change the bedding for example? She will still be able to hear you moving around, but it will help her attachment needs. A kong, filled and frozen is a great distraction. The first time I left mine, for about half an hour while I nipped to the shop, I gave him a kong. He was still slurping over it when I got back - had not even realised I had gone!
Also, when you do return, do not be over effusive in your greeting. Take your coat off, hang your bag up, nip to the loo - anything - before calmly greeting her.
If she is that distressed I think you need to roll back and start building up the time more slowly. As tooold said, start with just going into different parts of the house and leaving her with the Kong. Then go put for 10 mins at first and build up. Four hours is only for an adult dog. at this age you should be doing short regular alone time, not none and then a whole hour
My dog is a year and she's only been left for 4 hours once, IMHO it's too long. We started with 15 minutes and built up really slowly, always ensure she has plenty to do (Kongs, safe toys etc) and I normally leave the tv on quietly (the kids won't let her watch the kardashians so it's animal planet etc!)
I work from home and I cut back a bit for three months when we had a puppy. Some puppies are left and turn out fine. Some have horrible separation anxiety or are just bored rigid and start to display problem behaviours. You're taking a risk. Personally I wouldn't get a puppy if I had to leave them that long.