Leaving Your Puppy Alone Doesn’t Have to Be Dreadful
One of the most stressful parts of being a new puppy owner is having to leave your puppy home alone. We wouldn’t leave our new baby home alone, so why should we leave our new puppy? For the most part, you always try to find someone to watch your puppy, but there are times when no one is available.
And if that happens, we worry about our puppy being lonely or frightened and cringe at the thought of them whimpering in sorrow.
What if the puppy gets hurt? Will the pup be forever traumatized if I leave it alone for a few hours? Will the pup make a mess? Will its barking and whimpering annoy the neighbors? Will the neighbors think I am an irresponsible pet owner? Should I just stay home?
With the proper planning and structure, you will be able to leave your puppy at home with minimal fear and worry. This article will introduce to some some secret weapons that will make leaving your new pup home virtually worry-free.
First things first. Before even bringing a new puppy home, you should take the time to create a detailed “puppy plan” that includes lists of things you need, lists of Vet’s in your area, etc. You also need to make sure that your schedule can accommodate the time necessary to care for a new pup.
Ideally, you should only bring your puppy home after it has been properly weaned by it’s mother. The longer your pup can nurse on its mother, the better. Maternal nursing will help your pup enjoy better health as well as better mental development.
Create a Designated Puppy Area
A properly planned out puppy area is crucial for the safety of your puppy – especially if you have to leave the puppy unattended. The area should be in a part of your house that is cozy and free from wind drafts and fluctuating temperatures.
It is best to place your puppy in an area that is easy to access and in close proximity to you and your family members. Your puppy just recently had to separate from its mother and littermates so it wouldn’t want to be in area that is too quiet and far from human contact.
STEP 1 – The Boundaries:
The most important aspect of your puppy’s new space is it’s boundaries. The boundaries should be solid and essentially puppy proof. Make sure the puppy cannot climb out of it, under it, or through it. Ensure that the whatever your use as a boundary is safe to use around puppies. There should be no sharp edges or small loose pieces that your pup could potentially ingest.
STEP 2 – Safe Area
Your new puppy needs a space to feel secure, warm, and comfortable. For it’s bed, you can you use a soft fleece blanket – or better, a flat doggy bed with a blanket over it for additional softness and comfort. Your puppy will really appreciate it if you add some furry stuffed animals on it’s bed to snuggle and keep warm with.
STEP 3 – Potty Area
New puppies go potty a lot! So make sure you begin potty training as soon as possible. Keep the potty area separate from the sleeping and eating area so your pup does not get confused with all the various smells going on. Puppy pads are great potty training aids and absorbs liquid much better than plain newspaper. Like diapers, puppy pad costs due add up – but thankfully will no longer be needed once your puppy is able to go potty outside.
STEP 4 – Feeding Area
Your puppy’s feeding and water area should always be kept clean and dry. Try to have this location set up in a ‘low traffic’ part of the pen. You don’t want accidental water and food spills to soil your pup’s comfy bed.
Once you have a safe and comfy puppy pen, the task of leaving your puppy home alone will be so much easier.
When you know you need to leave your puppy home alone, pre-planning is essential. The more time you have to plan your anticipated departures, the better. You also need a “quick exit” plan for times when something urgent suddenly pops up and you have no time to plan your absence.
- Communicate with family and friends who live close by who can help you and your puppy
- Notify building manager that you have a pet living in your apartment
- Write down phone numbers and addresses of the closest Veterinarians, and pet emergency centers
- Give an extra house key to someone you trust – or install a “lock box” on your door
Knowing exact time frames of your absence from your puppy will allow you efficiently plan your departure and absence.
The amount of time you can leave your puppy unattended depends on a number of variables, including the puppy’s age, health, and the pup’s accustomization to being alone. You cannot leave a very young puppy (8-12 weeks) alone for long. They have just been separated from their mother and fellow littermates and leaving them unattended could cause harm to their emotional and mental health.
Young puppies also need to be fed much more often. It is best to start slowly and only leave your puppy for short periods of time. As your pup grows older and becomes more accustomed to your absence, you can then extend your time away.
1 -2 Hours Before Leaving
About an hour or so before leaving, relentlessly tire your puppy out with lots of play and exercise. The play and exercise session will help your pup release a lot of energy and put your pup in a positive state of mind. After the session would be a great time to give your puppy a short training lesson with basic commands such as sit and stay. Your puppy has already burned off excess excitement and the exercise should stimulate the brain to be more receptive to learning.
Your puppy should be pooped out and hungry by now. Feed your puppy it’s normal meal and clean up after. Hopefully, it will do it’s business soon thereafter so you can clean that up as well.
Soon, your puppy will be very sleepy and ready for a nap – and Voila, you can finally get ready to leave.
SECRET WEAPONS –
So up to this point, we have covered a good overview of the basics of preparing your puppy to be left unattended safely. Now it’s time for the real juice of the article – tips and tools that will really help you and your puppy when you must be apart.
TOOL – Pet Video Monitoring –
By far, having a video monitoring system for your puppy is my best tip. The advanced technologies and capabilities of these new cameras are pretty spectacular.
Granted, it will some technical savvy and know-how to set these up – but the end results are more than worth it for your peace of mind.
With a properly set-up puppy camera, you can monitor your puppy from wherever you are. You just need to have access to the Internet either via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Now you wouldn’t need to dread wondering if your puppy is safe and sound. If you notice that your puppy appears ill, you can quickly go home or contact someone in your puppy plan to help.
In addition to basic video monitoring, some camera systems feature two-way communication and even treat dispensing! The price of these pet monitoring systems range from around $80 – $200.
TIP – Choosing a Pet Video Camera
The main function of a video camera is good quality visual feedback, which most delivery pretty well. Having a camera that can dispense treats on command is impressive, but not necessary. If you are not tech-savy, you would be better off choosing the easiest monitoring system and avoid any gadget that is overly complicated.
A video camera with a two-way communication option is nice, but again not absolutely necessary. You could instead set up your own audible communication set-up by simply using your existing telephone and answering system.
For example, if you see your puppy tearing into something it shouldn’t be tearing into, you can call your phone number and when the answering machine picks up – communicate and reprimand your puppy then. Just make sure the volume of your answering machine is turned up and near to the puppy.
Back in 2010, when technology wasn’t so advanced, I used this exact method when I saw that my Shiba Inu puppy, Kitsune, began gnawing on the couch. I immediately called the home phone number and proceeded to correct her vocally by saying “Kitsune! NO! Bad puppy NO!” I was still actively monitoring her on my laptop and I laughed to myself when I saw her perplexed reaction. She immediately stopped, tilted her head to my voice, and then walked away from the couch.
Just being able to hear my voice comforted her and helped her realize that she was not completely alone. Her destructive chewing never progressed and she quickly became accustomed to being alone for longer and longer periods of time.
TIP – Cancel Out White Noise
When you leave your pup, turn on the radio or television to block out the lonely white noise of silence. Puppies are naturally used to being around other yappy puppies, so having audio on would provide an additional layer of comfort. Perhaps if your puppy excitable or overly rambunctious you can program soothing music into it’s listening repertoire. And if your puppy is mellow or introverted, you can instead program a talk radio station. Now talk about advanced psychology tactics!
TOOL – A Fuzzy Cuddle Buddy, or Two!
Dogs are very social animals and your puppy was most likely brought into this world with other furry littermates. You can mimic these litter mates with a few stuffed animals placed in your puppy’s sleeping area. For bonus points, you can take an old shirt and infuse your smell on it and place it on the stuffed animal.
Did you know that an in experiment involving baby monkeys left alone in a room with basically two choices – snuggling with a plush toy or food – the monkey’s always chose comfort over the banana! Now, with your modified stuffed toy, your pup can have a miniature version of you to snuggle up with.
Relieved Pet Owners and Happy Pups
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you made it this long article, hopefully with a lot of new knowledge and know-how to successfully keep your puppy safe and comfortable while you are away. More importantly, you now know that there is access to tools that will make leaving your puppy home much less stressful and frightening.