Learning to be left alone is crucial to your dog's training since it will help them remain calm while you're out. If you've recently brought a new dog or puppy home, you must teach them that being left at home is fine! Our Monroe vets will give you tips on how to get your dog used to being alone.
Before you Start
You'll need to set up about 10 minutes every day for training. Every dog is different, so you'll need to adjust your pace to match your dog's reaction. Never take your dog's training to the point where it becomes stressful for them.
Gather some toys and treat to reward your dog for good behavior. A comfy bed, in an enclosed spot, with some new blankets can also work. Having somewhere comfy to relax can make being home alone more appealing for your dog. Further, make sure you praise them as well, as dogs respond very highly to it.
Once you've got all of the above, it's time to begin the training.
Step 1: Encourage Your Dog Relax In Their Bed
Try encouraging your dog to stay in their comfy bed while you are still in the room with them. Make sure you reward their good behavior with treats and praise when they stay in their bed without whining or barking.
Step 2: Gradually Move Away
Slowly walk away while encouraging your dog to stay. You can move further and further away from them, or you can even move to another room of the house or apartment. Be sure to reward them for staying quietly on his bed.
Step 3: Increase the Distance and Length of Time
Continue this pattern, moving further away and for longer lengths of time each time. The distance and duration you increase will be determined by your dog. If your dog reacts or moves, don't praise or reprimand them; instead, return to the previous level.
Step 4: Leave for 5 Minutes
Now, try and leave your dog alone in the home.
That said, you can't just leave them alone for hours on end; they need to become accustomed to being alone. To do so, start by leaving them alone in the house for no more than 5 minutes. Return home and greet them after 5 minutes at the neighbor's or checking the mail (or just waiting outside the door). It's critical that they understand you'll be returning soon and that you're as happy to see them as they are to see you.
Step 5: Gradually Lengthen The Time
Gradually increase how long you leave your dog alone (10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.), and when you return, offer them goodies and attention. You should have no difficulties leaving your dog for extended times after you've gotten to the point where he or she is fine to be left for up to an hour.
The Cold Shoulder
At any point during training, it is important not to give in to your dog's whining and moaning. This doesn't mean reprimanding them, but more that you shouldn't pet and tell them "it's okay" or lavish any sort of praise on them while they're whining. This just teaches your dog that whining and moaning will get them what they want. If you give in to them, the behavior will only get worse.
So for a lack of a better phrase, give them the cold shoulder when you leave – they'll learn that you'll be back to give them lots of cuddles!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.