The Kennel

brown and white dog alone under blankets

Alone Time: How to Help Your Dog Accept and Like It

Training


For many people, leaving their dog behind when they leave the house is a source of stress, guilt, or worry.

It doesn’t need to be. Your dog will always love being with you the most, but there are ways to increase a dog’s comfort with being alone. Having worked with thousands of dogs representing hundreds of breeds, we’d like to offer this overview of a few valuable techniques.

  • Create an “alone” environment. This would be a crate or penned-in area to be used as a place to relax – not as a “punishment.” Having this space clearly defined is important for dogs of any age, and you can make it a happy place by serving meals, playing, and cuddling there. Providing chew toys is also a good idea, as are sound machines and low, soothing music.
  • Let your dog know you will always be back. When you crate him, provide a safe chew toy or other safe distraction, and remove yourself from his vicinity for a few moments (you don’t even need to leave the house yet). Return and let him out of his crate before he gets upset OR after he has settled down from it. Gradually increase the duration of his alone time, eventually leaving the house for brief periods.
  • Don’t let them out if they cry or whine. Just adjust their alone time to a shorter duration and again, keep extending it gradually. Sometimes crying means you haven’t established that your dog’s special space is a “good” place, so go back to establishing happy experiences there and keep making progress a bit at a time.
  • Get help when it’s needed. Life can be busy and sometimes we’re away from our dogs longer than we (or they) want us to be. Start building a support network for your dog early. Neighbors, friends, and professional dog walkers can all be very helpful. Schedule visits around midday when your dog is ready for a potty break and a walk.
  • Exercise! When you provide activity, exercise, and training for your dog it does more than keep them healthy. It also can make them tired enough to sleep when you’re not around. Reminder: Make this type of engagement something you do at other times so it’s not associated with you leaving.

At Canine Company, we’re always ready to talk about your dog