Flying Solo (Time Alone)

Thirty years ago, at least one member of the family was home and could take care of the dog. Times have changed and dogs now spend a lot of time alone during daylight hours. This is simply a reality of our times. You will need to prepare your puppy for the time they will be spending alone each day. Your puppy will need to ramp up to the final goal of possibly being alone for extended periods of time. He can not be expected to do this overnight.

It is naturally stressful for dogs to be separated from us. They rely on us for their existence.

This can be a rather agonizing aspect of getting a dog, but if handled properly, your pup can make the transition successfully. We need to condition the puppy for alone time. Do this by leaving the puppy at home alone for short periods of time. Do many little comings and goings over the course of the day.

Be sure when you leave that the pup is safely in his crate or a dog-proof area.

Avoid big emotional hellos and good byes. (Illustration: Katie Taylor Corbridge)

Avoid big emotional hellos and good byes. (Illustration: Katie Taylor Corbridge)

Coming and Going

Avoid big emotional hellos and good byes. We do not want to punctuate a naturally stressful time for the puppy with our own emotions.

Downplay your arrivals and departures. Your puppy will learn that they are an everyday occurrence and there is no reason to get distressed.

A good rule of thumb is to ignore the pup ten minutes prior to leaving the house and ten minutes after getting home.

Taking Vacation Time When You Bring Your Puppy Home

Some people have planned getting a puppy and have scheduled vacation time specifically to help the pup make the transition into their new home. If you are home for the first couple of weeks, make a point of leaving your pup alone each day for a period of time, in his crate, in the house. He needs to grow accustomed to the idea that you will be going back to work. You do not want to spend the entire vacation with him. It would be a big shock to your puppy when you are all of a sudden not there.

You can check our Resources section for additional sources of support during this transition.

If There is Always Going to be Somebody Home With the Puppy

Conversely, there are those people who work in home offices or don’t work (lucky you) and are able to be with the pup all day. It is nevertheless important to plan some time away from the house and your puppy. If your situation should change during the course of your dog’s life, he will be able to cope with being left alone thanks to the work you did with him as a pup.