There are many preparation tasks to be done when you first bring your new puppy back home. Tasks such as introducing him to your new home (which is going to be his new environment), potty training, obedience training and house training, which include training him to be alone are to be carried out.
All these trainings will keep your hand fully occupied and you would certainly want to have some quiet moments for yourself. So, training your puppy to learn how to be alone (at times when you need a “break”) is going to be something that is important and should be included in your training program. Certainly, you CAN’T be with him the whole day long.
Teaching your puppy to be alone is never going to be an easy straightforward task. You see, dogs are very social; animals, and they don’t like to be alone. When they find NO one is with them, they will tend to get very nervous and anxious which can lead to their aggressive behavior.
You need to know how to calm them down and make them confident to be alone. This can be accomplished through the following steps:
Take Small Steps – Start Slow
Your puppy is likely to get very nervous for the very first round when you leave him alone. So it is important to start slowly in your training. Taking small steps and observing his behavior as you implement the training.
1. Wait for at least a week before you start your training as you would want him to first settle down in his new home
2. For a start, keep the session short, at most an hour. Make sure that you have prepared a suitable confinement area where you can easily watch him from far away when you leave him alone (I would suggest going for 10 minutes for a start).
As for the confinement area, it’s really up to your preference, some go for bedrooms, kitchen, guest room, playpen or crate. Whichever option that you go for, make sure that you can easily monitor him from your location to observe his behavior and ensure his safety.
3. Avoid taking him with you whenever you go prior to this training. This is to avoid him being too “sticky” to you. Over attachment to you will only make your training a much more challenging mission, and he may also develop separation anxiety when you start to leave him alone.
It’s FUN To Be Alone – Get YOUR Reward!
Show your puppy that it’s actually very fun to be alone.This can be accomplished by:
1. Make sure that he has something to entertain himself during the time when he is alone. Usually some gaming or puzzle toys would work well to keep him busy, and he would catch a nap when he is tired after the play.
2. Dogs in the wild time will hunt for their own foods. So make use of this concept, get a toy that you can stuff a treat in so that he can spend the time and energy trying to get his food.
This will not only keep him occupied but also help to train his mind. If you have the time and interest, there are various information available in YouTube on how to DIY dog toys that you can learn to make for your puppy (he wouldn’t get it from anywhere, only from YOU :))
3. If you have a backyard, you can hide the treat somewhere in one corner and make your puppy hunt for it when you are leaving him alone. This will keep him busy and will also train on his hunting skill.
All these “entertainment” will help to associate being alone as a positive experience for him as he gets to play games and enjoy his treat. In time to come, he would overcome the fear of being alone as he knows that “good” things will happen when he is alone.
Crate Training Your Puppy – My Favorite Choice
Some dog owners find that it is “cruel:” to have their lovely pet “locked” up in a small crate, restricting their freedom. Well, I personally don’t feel it that WAY. In fact, my thought is that :
1. Crate is certainly a safe and secure “personal” space for my puppy. For him, he simply loves his crate (of course, that is once he gets used to being in there) as he now views the crate as his den – a safe personal place that he can get a good rest and away from any danger that he might face.
2. To me, crate training him will avoid him from getting into any accidents when I leave him alone. You would certainly not want him to open the door and dash out to the road when you leave him alone or create a mess in your home, don’t you agree?
So how do you make him “like” his crate and willing to be in there alone?
Make the crate a positive experience for him.Just like when you visit a cafés and you find that not only is their service good, the food also tastes awesome, and what will HAPPEN? You would certainly be going back to the same cafés frequently. This same principle applies to your puppy’s crating experience.
If you make his crate to be one of the most wonderful places to be in, he would be more than willing to be back there as often as he can be.
You can do this by placing his favorite toys and food in the crate. Cover the floor with warm blankets and most important of all, keep the crate’s door open. You do not want him to feel that he is being “trapped” in the crate. Let him have the freedom to come and go from the crate at his own will.
Keep him company during the initial crate training by playing with him. This will build up the trust he had on you. As he slowly gets used to the crate, you can try closing the crate door for an interval of 10 -15 minutes before opening it up again to let him out.
Remain LOW KEY
What this means is that “keep a low profile” when you are leaving or coming back to your home. Do not purposely let your puppy know that you would not be in home, and he will be alone. This will incur unnecessary anxiety in him.
Just make sure that you have something to keep him busy during the time when you are not at home. When he is used to being alone (of course not for the whole day), he would not be making a fuzz when he did not see you.
If you have to be out for more than 8 hours, I would suggest having your neighbor or dog care takers to pop over just to let him out of his crate for his potty every 2- 3 hours.
Young puppy tends to have a small bladder and would not be able to hold his potty for a long period of time
Generally, for a puppy of 3 months old, he can hold his potty up to 4 hours.(the calculation will be – “Number of months + 1”). So do your calculation for your puppy to determine how often he needs to go for his potty.
To Be VIRTUALLY Present In Front Of Your Puppy
Wah.. That sounds promising right? How can this be possible? Virtually., I mean when you are not physically at home.
Right, you hear it correctly…VIRTUALLY!!
With the advance of technology, it’s now possible to have various forms of video conferencing. This applies to “Video Spying” your puppy as well 🙂
Now comes the tool – PRESENTING “ Furbo Dog Camera”
I have got one of these in my home to monitor my little one when I’m off to work. This gives me a greater sense of relief as I know that I can check on him any time from my office. No more worries when I leave him alone at home.
Of course, this does not come cheap but I do find that the features it provides match the cost. I can use it to:
- Monitor my puppy any time of the day with using my smartphone
- Use it to toss random treats to my puppy – Which never fails to surprise him!
- It comes with a night vision capability, so I can also use it to monitor my puppy during the night when I place him to sleep in his crate (Without leaving my bed!)
- Best feature of all, “barking” alert. Auto notify me when my puppy starts to bark so that I can do something to calm him down.
Another option that I have for you to be “virtually” present is to place some of your clothing or old shoe (that carries your “smell”) in his crate so that he can “smell” you close by. This has been proven to provide some relief to pets when they get lonely.
Now that you have got to know some possible ways to make your puppy feel comfortable to be alone in the house, it’s time to put them into action.
Feel free to comment below on your training outcome or if you have more to add on to the list.