How long can you leave your dog alone?

You have to go shopping, to the doctor or at your work dogs are not allowed and it is important to you to be able to leave your dog alone – but how long can a dog stay alone?

The dog can be left alone for between 1-2 hours if it is inexperienced and between 4 and 6 hours if your dog knows how to be alone.

But what does it take and why can’t every dog do it?

Can every dog stay alone?

Basically, every dog can stay alone. However, the prerequisite for this is that you have gradually got your dog used to being left alone.

Dogs are very social animals and would prefer to go wherever you go. For this reason, it is extremely important to give the dog the security that you will always return to him and that you will only be unavailable to him for a certain period of time.

Dogs that have already learned to be left alone from time to time when they are young often find it much easier to be left alone in adulthood.

In principle, however, every dog can be left alone, as long as this training is done in small steps and without stress.

If you want to keep your dog busy indoors, have a look around here.

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In order for your dog to master being left alone in a relaxed manner, some preliminary work is necessary.

How to get your dog used to being alone

It’s best to start by changing rooms frequently. Keep changing rooms until your dog no longer wants to chase you and stays in the room even though you leave.

The first step is to show your dog that you will come back, even if your dog doesn’t see you.

If this step works well and the dog remains relaxed when you leave the room, then you can try closing the door behind you and take the next step.

Again, leave the room, close the door, come back after a short time and repeat this until your dog remains relaxed.

If your dog finds it difficult to relax, you can help him at first by making noises on the other side of the door (e.g. by washing the dishes) to show him that although he cannot see you, you are not gone. This will give your dog security and make it easier for him to relax.

If this step also works well, you can start to leave your dog alone for a short period of time.

For example, go alone to the letterbox, the laundry room or just stand outside the door for a few seconds. Afterwards, return to the flat and act completely normal, even if your dog is exuberant.

In this way, you show your dog that it is not a bad thing that you leave for a short time and that this is a completely normal process.

Gradually increase this training by leaving your dog alone for a few seconds, then a few minutes and later a few hours.

If you are unsure whether your dog is still relaxed, you can set up a camera to observe your dog’s reaction. If the dog shows clear signs of stress, you should go back a few training steps until your dog is relaxed again.

Many dogs also find it easier to be alone if there is a second dog in the household with whom they get on well – that way, neither of your dogs is really alone when you are away.

However, you must bear in mind that one can motivate the other to become frantic. With good basic training, one would provide extra security for the other.

If you have a very restless dog that runs around a lot when you are away, a positively structured box training can also help to teach the dog to be calm – here, however, the goal is not to lock the dog up for several hours, but to show him that he can also relax in your absence!

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Your four-legged friend stays relaxed even if you are away for several hours.

How long can I leave my dog alone?

That depends on how long he has learned to stay alone. It is certainly not a problem if you leave your dog alone for 1-2 hours when you go shopping if you have built up the ability to stay alone well.

If you and all the other members of the household are working, it can easily happen that the dog has to stay alone for several hours a day. Staying alone for 4 hours is usually not a problem for most dogs.

If this time is exceeded, your dog will usually not hold it against you.

In general, it is recommended that a dog learns to stay alone for about 4-6 hours – regardless of whether the dog really needs to be left alone on a regular basis.

If your working hours and those of the other household members are such that the dog regularly has to stay alone for 8 hours or even longer, you should ask yourself whether you really want to put your dog through this.

Of course, this period of time is also possible after the dog has become accustomed to it, but in this case it is advisable to refrain from keeping the dog for the sake of the animal or to take the dog to a dog day-care centre.

There are also dog sitters who will come to your home and take care of your dog for the time you have chosen, walk it, play with it and feed it.

Toys for the time without you

Maybe there is a particular toy that your dog likes very much. You could leave it with him when you leave your dog alone.

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If you offer your dog a lot of variety outside, he will be happy to have some peace and quiet when you are not there.

Possible toys:

  •     Chew bone
  •     Teddy
  •     Intelligence games
  •     Soft toy

Chew bones would be a good choice here, for example. Then your dog has something to do and is happy about his chewing bone. It also trains the chewing muscles.

Sometimes a dog knows a particular soft toy from puppyhood. This has helped him during this time and has become a kind of best buddy. If you give it to him, he will not miss you so much.

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Dogs should learn to stay alone. Whether it is for a short time or for several hours, then you can run errands where your dog is unfortunately not allowed to go.

For the beginning, 1-2 hours is a good time. To achieve this, you need to start in small steps. After each positive success, you can increase the time a little more and more.

If you have two dogs, this will help everyone feel more secure without you.