Do you have a cute new furry, waggy addition to the family? It can be hard to not want to take her everywhere with you, but keeping her with you 24/7 is not an option for many pet parents. To make it easier on all involved, here are some tips for leaving a puppy alone for the first time.
Getting a new puppy is always exciting but does occasionally come with some hiccups and challenges. To put your wondering thoughts at ease when leaving a puppy home alone for the first time, try some of the suggestions below to see if they work for you and your new pup.
Tips For Leaving A Puppy Alone for the First Time
Leaving her alone can be stressful; your mind may continuously run with thoughts of: is she ok? What is she up to? I wonder how many things she is destroying?
And don’t worry – these are all normal thoughts! No, you aren’t crazy, and no, she isn’t “just a dog”. She’s your family and you want to make sure she’s safe and happy.
Creating a safe space for your puppy
Many people elect to kennel or crate their new puppies during the day to avoid coming home to a destroyed house. To make this experience pleasant, teach your new pup the kennel is a fun, safe space.
Which type of crate or kennel is best for your puppy?
Start by selecting a kennel large enough for your puppy to move around in and grow into. It needs to be large enough that your puppy can move around comfortably – standing or stretching out.
Always use a treat or some other positive reward when putting her in the kennel. This will teach her the kennel is a positive experience where she gets delicious food every time!
Never use the kennel as a time out; you do not want her to associate the kennel with a negative experience. Positive experiences only! Check out some of our favorite crate options with the link below.
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Initial trial run for leaving puppy alone for the first time:
You have become your new puppy’s whole world: personal chef, cuddle provider, playtime master, but providing alone time is also important to ensure she does not develop separation anxiety as she grows.
When you leave her alone for the first time, start with a short time frame. An hour may seem like a long time, but she will be in her safe space where only good things happen. When you come back, let her out and give her some form of positive reinforcement, i.e. treats, playtime, a long walk, whatever she enjoys most.
Did she cry the entire time?
Many people “leave” their puppy alone by simply being in a different room, out of sight. If you hear her crying, it will definitely tug at your heartstrings, but do not give in. If you run to your puppy every time she cries and let her out of her safe space area, she will learn crying means mom or dad comes to free her immediately.
Wait until she stops crying, then let her out and have a good old time celebrating her doing so well.
Doesn’t crying mean she is sad?
Not necessarily. Puppies are extremely smart! They will quickly learn crying means attention. It may not seem like a huge issue as first, but when you start leaving her alone for longer periods of time, for example, when you are at work and she whines the entire 8 hours, your neighbors will not be happy.
She’s still crying?
Many people have found success at placing a small fan near the puppy’s kennel to comfort her. The sound of the small fan is similar to a mother shushing her baby or the puppy’s mom’s heartbeat being nearby. You do not need to aim fan at your puppy, just have it in her vicinity so the noise produced by it can provide her some comfort.
Puppy entertainment while you are away:
You may be tempted to leave all her new toys with her while you are away so she doesn’t get lonely, but don’t do it! Puppies eat and chew EVERYTHING! Leaving a toy without your supervision can lead to the puppy eating her entire toy, needing a trip to the vet and in some cases, emergency surgery to remove the toy that is now causing an intestinal blockage.
Only leave toys that are too large for her to destroy and swallow. For example, a kong toy with no fabric is a good toy to leave with her, just as long as it is too large for her to swallow.
Mental stimulation during and before leaving your puppy alone:
As mentioned above, you have to be careful about what type of toys you leave with your puppy while you are away. However, many people like to leave their television on for their pup so they have something to watch and listen to.
Or one option is to provide a session of mental stimulation prior to leaving your puppy alone. This might be as simple as a 10-minute training session – it doesn’t take much to get their brains active and get them tired.
While it may be excruciating to leave your new puppy at home alone, it will be for her benefit in the long run. Many dogs without alone time develop severe separation anxiety from their owner as they age. This can lead to medical issues and even the need for medications to help her cope if she ever has to be away from you.
Positive Experience Only
It is not recommended that you ever leave your puppy alone out of punishment. She will begin to associate alone time as a negative experience which can lead her to develop behavioral issues.
You want your new puppy to feel peaceful and happy when you’re away.
Too hard for you as the owner?
If it is hard on you as the new puppy parent but you still want her to experience alone time, consider getting a live feed camera for her. You will be able to log in whenever you are missing her and can take a quick peek to see how she is doing. Most importantly, keep the camera out of your puppy’s reach to prevent chewing/eating of the camera.
Getting a new puppy can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. All the wet kisses and puppy snuggles makes anyone’s day better!
Even though the thought of leaving your puppy alone for the first time is scary, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. When you leave your puppy alone for the first time, you will learn what makes you and your puppy the most comfortable. There are many options to try, but in the end, do what works best for you and your new pup.
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