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Training puppy to be left home alone

(32 Posts)
Juiceey Tue 04-Aug-20 11:14:09

Hi doghouse,

I need to get pup ready to be left on his own for a few hours at a time. He's a velcro dog and cries if I shut the door and go for a wee. From my googling it seems I should leave him in 5 minute increments but this will take forever!

He'll be in the kitchen behind a baby gate as can't trust him in the living room, which I know he'd prefer but he is still destructive. I'll put his sleeping mat in there. He loves a kong so we're going to save them for going out time ONLY so he gets used to them as a treat for when he's being left.

Please be kind. Thanks for any help and advice.

OP’s posts: |
fairydustandpixies Tue 04-Aug-20 11:27:53

Hi OP! I can't really offer any advice as my DDog is now 13 and I got him as a rescue when he was 3. He is the ultimate velcro dog - the number of times I've fallen over him because he's snuck under my feet is countless - and he's bloody big dog!! I even broke my nose on one occasion, passed out and came to to discover him sitting on me eating the toast I'd just made for myself! Anyway, that aside, could I suggest a pet cam that you can monitor from your phone? Go out for increasingly longer periods but you can still keep an eye on him? Good luck!!

fairydustandpixies Tue 04-Aug-20 11:28:49

Oh and leave him with something that smells of you - a sock or a slipper or a tshirt!

BiteyShark Tue 04-Aug-20 11:31:53

I would put him in the kitchen with the baby gate across and start 'flitting' in and out of the room ignoring him as you come and go.

If he goes to his bed at all and is quiet when you return I would after a short time throw him a small treat but then go back to ignoring again. I do this now with my adult dog when he takes himself off to bed because I am boring. He sometimes gets a treat then I go back to whatever I was doing.

Once you have got him used to being behind the gate and he seems settled you could leave the house for a few mins and then return and build it up that way.

liaun Tue 04-Aug-20 11:33:30

One thing I read when training my pup was when you leave the house go in and out a few times before leaving for good. This'll confuse him and make him less likely to think you're gone forever.

Also the obvious one - long walk before you leave him so he's too tired to care who's there

suggestionsplease1 Tue 04-Aug-20 11:39:05

Get used to leaving him in the kitchen whilst you are still in other rooms to start off with.

Leave the radio on for him.

Exhaust him with attention and walks before you leave him so he is more inclined to sleep.

Yes, leaving kongs is a good idea.

To train him into this the key is to not go back to him whilst he is making a racket. Wait until he is quiet before doing this. When I was training this it would literally be a 5 second period after long minutes of constant howling, and I would open the door and praise him 'well done for being quiet '. He was a bit of a nightmare! You just build on from this. But if you return while they are making a racket they learn that this is what they need to do to get you to come back again. You need to ensure they don't learn that lesson, and learn the opposite - that being quiet is what gets them what they want.

My dog is absolutely fine being left now. I also use a dog monitor.

But be careful you are not leaving him for too long, especially if he is just young. You may need to think about people coming in to check on him, walk him if you are leaving him for too long.

BadDucks Tue 04-Aug-20 11:57:15

If he's destructive try getting a block of anco wood my dog LOVES his and when he was a pup it was a good distraction from my door frames!

I found that once ddog could be trusted with free roam of the house he was better able to cope with being left alone so try to work on the destructiveness (fortunately mine only liked the door frames and stayed away from toys/furniture!)

When I had to leave pup I would take him for a walk first but leave myself 15 minutes just be home and sat in the house to give him chance to wind down from the walk a bit, maybe do a few training games to make sure he's brain tired too. Walking does tire them out but all the sniffing and getting the senses going gets them going too!

pasanda Tue 04-Aug-20 12:31:55

Use the flitting game. Join Dog training Advice and Support group on Facebook.

Shambolical1 Tue 04-Aug-20 14:30:20

How old and for how long are you planning to leave him?

Starting from when?

There aren't any shortcuts to this process, you do need to build it up very gradually over time. Five minutes at a time will probably be too long to start with.

Juiceey Wed 05-Aug-20 13:50:02

We did 5 mins yesterday and watched him on the camera. He cried the whole time sad

OP’s posts: |
TheListeners Wed 05-Aug-20 15:50:15

Can he actually settle with you there? What I mean is could you sit on the sofa and he be in the same room relaxed but not on you? We had a dog who was really anxious hated being left. Dog trainer pointed out he didn't know how to just relax and be rather than always focused on us. Settle exercises really helped.

vanillandhoney Wed 05-Aug-20 15:51:06


We did 5 mins yesterday and watched him on the camera. He cried the whole time sad

Five minutes is a long time for a tiny puppy.

You literally do have to start from 30 seconds and build it up. It can take weeks, if not months, to get them used to being left for several hours, if you manage it at all.

Paranoidmarvin Wed 05-Aug-20 21:10:38

If u carry on with him crying you will make it worse. Someone on here has said to joint the training Facebook group. It’s an excellent resource run by trained behaviourist. They have files on there for u to read including one on separation anxiety.

Juiceey Thu 06-Aug-20 11:13:49

I've read the units.

Not sure what else to do apart from perseverance.

OP’s posts: |
Paranoidmarvin Thu 06-Aug-20 11:44:53

Yup. Tiny bits at a tiny.

RunningFromInsanity Thu 06-Aug-20 11:53:03

Put dog in kitchen with baby gate
Sit other side of the baby gate, leaning against it.
Wait for dog to settle
Gentle praise
After a short time, open gate and go about normally

Dog in kitchen with baby gate
Sit a little further from gate, still in sight
Wait for dog to settle
Gently praise
After a short time, open gate

Repeat until dog in happy to settle.

Dog in kitchen with baby gate
You in other room constantly walking in and out of sight making noise (do some housework etc)
Wait for dog to settle

Once he is happy with that

Start going out of sight for a little longer.
Return and repeat
Once dog is settled, then enter kitchen, little stroke and praise, exit kitchen, in and out of sight again

Each time make sure dog is happy to settle before moving on to the next stage. Keep it short and sweet, try and end each session on a positive note.

You are teaching the dog that he might as well settle down as you will be in and out constantly and that’s boring. That you will return.

Juiceey Thu 06-Aug-20 21:56:51

Thanks. We have done similar to that and he's used to being popped in the kitchen every day if the doorbell rings or we're eating or he's too bitey. We just ignore him and flit around him doing our business, in and out, and he's fine. But if he can't see us and hear us... that's when he starts crying.

OP’s posts: |
FizzAfterSix Fri 07-Aug-20 19:24:03

Can you think about another dog to keep him company? 2 dogs are so much easier than 1.

Paranoidmarvin Sat 08-Aug-20 14:52:28

Then he is not ready to be left. Seriously. If u leave a dog that is not happy to be left they will develop separation anxiety. Then u will still have the problem just a worse version.

I didn’t leave either of mine until they were ready. It was months. And then he was left really happily. And we had no problems.

You may have to re think ur plans as to leaving them.

Juiceey Sat 08-Aug-20 16:41:12

I can't not leave him. It's not sustainable. He needs to learn to be left!

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Sat 08-Aug-20 16:54:43


I can't not leave him. It's not sustainable. He needs to learn to be left!

Unfortunately, some dogs always struggle with being left alone, though most can be de-sensitised to the point that they're happy for an hour or two.

However, the way to get there is not to just go out anyway and leave your dog to cry. You really do need to take baby steps. It took us over a year before we could leave ours for an hour! We had to use sitters, family, walkers or daycare if we wanted to go out, or take him with us. It was horribly restrictive but the alternative was a very unhappy dog would would just howl, whine and cry, or have accidents.

You really do have to build up from 10 seconds, then slowly, slowly get them used to being left for longer. If at the end of week one you can only leave them five minutes, then it is what it is. If you're going to need to leave him regularly then maybe look into sitters or daycare for him.

Paranoidmarvin Sat 08-Aug-20 17:02:17

Did u not look this up before you got him? He is essentially a toddler at this age. I’m being really serious. Unless u want a massive problem u need to come up with an alternative. A dog with separation anxiety will howl , chew and worse. Just because u need to leave him doesn’t mean u should or are able too.

Shambolical1 Sat 08-Aug-20 18:16:01

I can't not leave him. It's not sustainable. He needs to learn to be left!

Then you need to teach him and that's going to take time and patience. There are no short cuts.

Roselilly36 Sat 08-Aug-20 18:50:35

How old is your puppy OP?

Funf Sat 08-Aug-20 19:47:43

What breed?
Some are harder to leave than others
Does the breeder have any reccomendations?
We have had issues in the past with previous dogs so from day one we have quiet time even if we are home the dog is crated for an hour or two, the breeder knew we where going to do this so she had crate time from a very early age so she is no problem in the house or when travelling.
Its all about building routine for the dog but some just cant cope with being left, ideally the routine needs to be as soon as they come to you but it can still be trained in, don't loose hope and just ask as many people will have solved this

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