Flying Solo (Time Alone)
Why Teach Alone Time? 
Dogs love it when we all stick together. It can be stressful for them to be separated from us.
This can be a rather agonizing aspect of raising a puppy, but if handled properly, your pup can make the transition successfully.

Fifty years ago, at least one member of the family might have been home in the day with the family dog. Times have changed and now many dogs spend some time alone. Even if you work from home it’s important to teach your pup to navigate alone time. You can teach this in stages, starting with being out of sight in the house. Next, go out the door and come right back in, gradually increasing the duration you are gone. The goal is to build to about 90 minutes of alone time. This time should transfer well to more time if needed.

Be sure when you leave that the pup is in a safe spot to be left alone. A crate, gated area, or pen where he is comfortable.

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

Illustration: Katie Taylor Corbridge

Coming and Going

We use to think it was important to ignore the pup when coming and going. Now we know this isn’t necessary. I recommend using an information cue like BRB (be right back) when you leave. Go for a supportive, loving hello, on the quiet side, when you return. No need to punctuate a naturally stressful time for the puppy with our big feelings.

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

Taking Vacation Time When You Bring Your Puppy Home

Some people plan vacation time specifically to be home for the first week or two with the pup.  After a few days of the puppy being home be sure to start the alone time training. You want the puppy to be used to you leaving for periods of time before you have to head back to work.

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 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.