Can I Leave My Dog Alone At Home?

8 May 2023

One of the most common questions we are asked is whether or not dogs can be left alone at home, and if so then how long can they be left for? Unfortunately, we are unable to give a single easy answer. Dogs will all respond differently to being left alone, so it is instead better to offer guidelines that can be applied to individual animals.

As a general rule, it is preferable that dogs are left alone as infrequently as possible and if this is necessary then only for relatively short windows of time. As dogs are such social animals, one of their most basic needs is for ongoing companionship. When left alone, they may be prone to untenably high levels of stress and separation anxiety, especially if they have strongly bonded with particular person or another animal. While separation anxiety can – to an extent – be reduced with careful training, it is better avoided altogether by preventing a dog from being left on its own for prolonged periods.

If a dog does need to be left alone, we would always recommend that owners provide multisensory activities for that duration of time. Sound and scent-based stimulation can mitigate some of the separation anxiety dogs experience, and can be as simple as leaving radios and televisions playing in the background or ensuring that your dog has access to items of clothing which carry your smell. Crate training is a proven method of easing dogs’ nerves when left alone, and something we personally recommend and prioritise with our own dog. Having said that, a dog should never be left for so long that it messes in the house. To this end, four hours is the generally accepted upper time limit for leaving a dog alone.

For advice on training your dog to cope better when left alone, please email [email protected]. We are able to offer online and in-person training, and have significant experience in helping resolve this particular behavioural issue.


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