Potential drama queen alert: how long do you leave your dog?

(24 Posts)
ladybee28 Wed 19-Aug-20 17:57:41

I adopted DDog at the end of June (thread here) and we're getting along really well.

With COVID etc., I'm still not out and about all that much, and since he came home the longest I've left him has been an hour and a half and I left my laptop in the hallway and Zoom called myself from my phone to see how he was getting on

He just lies by the door from what I can see while I'm out from my creepy internet stalking , and is seven shades of THRILLED to see me when I come home. I'm not sure if it's him who's at risk of separation anxiety or me... but I want to go spend an afternoon paddleboarding and I'll be out of the house for at least 4 hours if I go.

He'd have access to the garden (I live in a place where I can leave my back door open without risk of intruders) so there won't be any toilet issues, but I still feel a bit tense in my belly to think of him lying by the door all that time.

Am I being a massive drama llama? Talk some sense into me!

OP’s posts: |
MrsWooster Wed 19-Aug-20 17:59:46

He will sleep, wake, sniff, wee, sleep, repeat til you get home . They don't suffer existential dread so go, paddle, have fun and enjoy the delight when you get home.

StarSpangled372 Wed 19-Aug-20 18:01:48

We leave our 11 month old for anything up to 4 hours. He’s fine, does as the previous poster says.

I think if he’s done well with an hour and a half then it’s a good idea to leave him for longer, get him used to it.

goodwinter Wed 19-Aug-20 18:03:18

Personally we've left ours for 4 hours twice in the 18 months we've had him. He's been left for an hour or so a fair few times. We have a small camera in the living room to keep an eye on him and he's left with lots of treat toys.

As I understand it, if your dog is ok with being left for an hour and a half, he should be fine with 4 hours, especially if he has toilet access and stimulating toys (you could leave the TV/radio on too!). You know he's ok to be on his own for a bit i.e. no separation anxiety so he should be absolutely fine. smile

Motorina Wed 19-Aug-20 22:01:19

I float the idea of taking him paddleboarding. Mine sit on the front of the board, and watch the water intently as it flows past them.

(But, yes, by the sound of it he will be fine for that time.)

doodleygirl Wed 19-Aug-20 22:08:34

Can we have an up to date pic of the gorgeous old gentleman?

LolaSmiles Wed 19-Aug-20 22:11:17

I generally don't leave mine more than 3 hours, 4 on occasions where I've been running late or caught in traffic.

Personally I would phase in higher amounts of alone time as going from 1.5h to 4 is quite a big stretch, especially if it will affect their feeding / walking routine.


ladybee28 Thu 20-Aug-20 09:24:27

Thanks so much everyone!

I think you're all right, he'll probably be absolutely fine but I'll try to build up to it rather than a jump.

@Motorina I'd LOVE to take him, but he's most definitely not a fan of water. Took him to the beach with my DP and his lab (who's basically a land-seal) and he was DEEPLY unimpressed with the ocean: wanted nothing to do with it, and then got really upset when I went in for a swim!

@goodwinter unfortunately he's also totally not interested in either treats or toys grin - he's a tough crowd to entertain!

@doodleygirl – of course. Need to update the other thread as well, since so many people were so supportive over there smile but here are some pics for the meantime. One of him being sophisticated in bed, a second of him glued to my leg surveying the landscape on a walk, and the last... he spent a full 5 minutes stock-still, trying to figure out what in the world was going on with that pig...

OP’s posts: |
YgritteSnow Thu 20-Aug-20 09:26:49

I hardly ever leave him, I'm lucky that's how things are set up for us but occasionally I have left him up to five hours because I had to. He was happy to see me but not distressed. I think your plans are completely fine smile

YgritteSnow Thu 20-Aug-20 09:27:31

Oh he's so handsome! That first photo - like a dignified professor or something grin

Ihaveoflate Thu 20-Aug-20 09:28:04

We leave ours for up to 4 hours. She'd probably be ok for longer as she sleeps most of the day (16 yo) but she has slight continence issues and really needs to be coaxed out regularly.

doodleygirl Thu 20-Aug-20 09:39:39

Oh my, he is just so gorgeous. What a fabulous retirement he is having.

ladybee28 Thu 20-Aug-20 09:50:56


Oh he's so handsome! That first photo - like a dignified professor or something grin

Totally! All he needs are some thin wire-framed specs on the end of his nose and a fountain pen....

OP’s posts: |
JonHammIsMyJamm Thu 20-Aug-20 10:32:38

Tbh, having only got him in June, I’d be reluctant to leave him for a long time and wouldn’t leave any dog for longer than 4hrs (no matter how patient they are).

Ellmau Thu 20-Aug-20 20:30:04

Oh, I love his face!

Suzi888 Sat 22-Aug-20 17:41:53

Good walk before you go, maybe a frozen treat KONG toy. Be careful what you put in, I put peanut butter in for my Lab (as advised) but he now has kidney disease so I do wonder if it was that.... maybe leave radio on.

Beachbodylonggone Sat 22-Aug-20 17:48:53

Ah I remember your thread op! Glad he has settled in!!.
There is a poster somewhere not relishing her dh's stuffed squirrel - he would look good on a table aside your distinguished old boy...

BlatheringOn Sat 22-Aug-20 18:01:30

We've had our lurcher for 5 years. The rescue centre impressed on us that the maximum we should ever leave him alone is 4 hours and we have kept to that. He is well behaved when left but SO happy when we return that I don't think he likes it. I have rarely left him for more than an hour during the day and the 4 hours has been evenings when he settles down to sleep and seems more accepting.
Your dog is lovely.

ladybee28 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:28:34

So.... update....

Turns out we've had a sudden swing to separation anxiety. I think somewhere I must have jumped to too big a time away?

Last week I went out for a bit to run a couple of errands and was gone for an hour and a half max. I got back and heard him crying as I came in the front gate.

Then today I went to the shop and was gone for 15 minutes when I got a call from my neighbours worried that I'd locked myself into the house – they said they could hear something banging against the door over and over.

I rushed home to hear him howling, and found scratch marks on the inside of the front door and drool everywhere all over the floor in the hallway.

Looks like he was in proper panic mode, and it's really shaken me up. I live alone and there are places I simply cannot take him with me.

What do I do?!

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BlueSlice Wed 09-Sep-20 16:39:55

Mine is the same; we’re currently building up the time we leave him for. Started at a few seconds, a minute, two minutes, etc. Coupled with not showing him any special attention when we leave and return. It’s an incredibly long process.

In the meantime I’m spending a fortune on a mixture of day care and dog sitters which is such a pain when I only need to be out of the house for hour.

Sometimes I consider getting another dog just to keep him company. But that feels a bit like swallowing a spider to catch a fly...

AdoreTheBeach Wed 09-Sep-20 17:09:04

We leave the radio on for our dog. If at night, a light too. He too has access to fully fenced in garden (via a flap) and he dies like to lay in the sun, walk about as well as do his business

I give mine a chew, I tell him goodbye and I’ll be home soon - in a particular voice/tone.

When I come home, I call him in another voice/tone, very cheery and give him lots of cuddles and petting. Seems to work well. He knows I’m going out and coming back by following the same routine

We did set up a ring camera a little while ago as we were worried how he would be as we have been home so much during lock down so worried as so much time had gone by since leaving him.

Followed same routine and no problems.

BlueSlice Wed 09-Sep-20 17:45:13

When I come home, I call him in another voice/tone, very cheery and give him lots of cuddles and petting.
See we were told to do the exact opposite: don’t make a fuss about ‘reuniting’. We were told to get on with normal routine for a few minutes and then say hello to him.

vanillandhoney Wed 09-Sep-20 18:02:07

Mine has pretty severe separation anxiety - he's 2.5 and the longest I can leave him is about an hour, and that's only after he's had a good long walk. Otherwise, no chance - he will just howl until I get back.

We either take him with us, tag team so one of us is home, or leave him with my in-laws. My MIL is housebound but perfectly happy to have the dog, so we just leave him there. He has free access to the garden for the toilet, and is more than happy to snooze at her feet while she gets on with whatever she's doing. We always make sure he has a good walk before we drop him off, though.

I work as a dog walker so most days he comes to work with me, or he goes to my in-laws if I can't take him. I just have to plan my days around his needs. It's hard at times but it's just what I need to do to keep him happy.

Suzi888 Wed 09-Sep-20 18:08:28

You need to build up the time you leave him that’s all. He probably thought you were never, ever coming back.

If you needed to leave him, you should really have done it from the start. (I say this from experience! too late now I know!) grin

He looks like a big pupper! does he sleep with you? Be careful what you start as they’ll always want to do it. (Think carrying 5 stone upstairs to bed because they can’t do it anymore and will cry downstairs).

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