Your little one is growing up. So far it seems that training has gone fine but at last the time has come to test some boundaries. Let’s face it, leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time is an exercise in stress. The good news is that there are a few tips and tricks that can help to minimize, if not completely eliminate any chances of ‘collateral damage’ when leaving your furry friend alone for the first time. Let’s discuss our top tips on what you should do when leaving your puppy home alone for the first time!
Leaving a puppy alone for the first time: How long is too long?
Largely this is going to depend on the age of your puppy. Your little one has got a small bladder, you know. This means if your puppy is close to one month in age that he or she is likely going to need to go to the bathroom every hour. Now, if your pup was weaned a little letter (a much better practice, in our opinion), then you’ve got a little longer when it comes to ‘bathroom time’. At 10-12 weeks then you will have a bigger window, say 2-3 hours. If you will be leaving for a little longer than this then you might want to consider a crate strategy.
Leaving your puppy home alone: The crate method
If you are leaving your puppy at home alone for the first time then a ‘puppy crate’ might be a good idea. This can be achieved in a number of ways. For instance, an old wooden crate will suffice. A baby’s playpen that you are no longer using is good as well. Barring these two, even an isolated space in the house where your pup cannot get themselves in trouble will work, say a bathroom with the floor cleared or laundry room space may do nicely in a pinch.
Leaving puppy alone for the first time: What to put in your ‘crate’
You’ll want o stock some basics to keep your puppy occupied while you are gone. Generally you will want to make sure that your pup has the following things in their crate:
- Small bowl for water
- Toys to play with
- A pee pad or a faux grass pad (you can also get pee-pads with real grass if this is your preference!)
- Somewhere soft to sleep
Leaving a puppy for the first time: What if you don’t have a crate?
If space is very limited or if you find yourself in a pinch then there are still some things which you can do to help to ensure that your furry friend doesn’t turn into a little tornado in your absence. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Alone-time in advance – If you have a little time, try giving your puppy a little alone time in the house with you nearby. Not within viewing distance, however. You want to know what the little scamp is likely to get into when you are away and as stressful as this is, you should find out now. It will help you prepare for the first real time alone.
- Chew toys are your friend (and put your shoes away) – First, don’t leave any shoes lying about. You might come home to well-chewed sneakers and that’s not an experience you want to have. Encourage healthy chewing with the large leather and other type chew toys available at your local pet store. This will keep your pup busy and should hopefully keep them away from other, less-desirable chewy items in the house.
- Those plastic pet gates are a good idea – Pet fencing is great. Block off doorways with them in order to ensure your clever pet doesn’t simply open your bedroom door to get at things you thought were securely locked away.
” Puppies aren’t generally known for their self-control.”
- Cover power outlets and make cords hard to get – Dogs are sometimes not very picky at all about what they chew and those cables can tempt them. Cable-covers may be purchased but for a cheaper solution, zip ties are best. With zip ties you can bundle those sensitive cables together and arrange them to be too high for easy access. Outlet covers, such as you would use with a baby, are a good idea as well. Your dog is unlikely to lick the outlet but you should be prepared, just in case a yummy fly or other temptation lands on an outlet.
- Hide the trash can – Much like stealthy raccoons, some dogs will dump over the trash can to get at the delicious ‘treats’ within. You’ve thrown these things away, out of sight, out of mind, but your dog can still smell any food in there and puppies aren’t generally known for their self-control. So hide the can or get a larger one that is a little more puppy proof. Small trash cans don’t stand a chance with a hungry puppy, so be prepared!
Don’t forget a pee-pad
Even without a crate, a faux or real grass pee-pad is a good idea for when you are away. This gives puppy some place to go in the case of an emergency. Barring this, if you have a fenced-in backyard them you might consider a puppy door or you might enlist the aid of a trusted neighbor to come by and take the little one on a walk. Remember, their bladders are small right now, sometimes your little one simply can’t ‘hold it’ any longer!
Some final words
In this article we’ve gone over some tips and tricks that you may employ when leaving your puppy alone in the house for the first time. Remember, your pup is like a little child right now, so if things don’t go as planned you mustn’t overreact. Getting angry will only scare your puppy and they won’t understand why you are mad. Exercise patience and use our tips and your puppy will be able to handle being home alone in no time!