10 important things to do before leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time

Leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time is a big step, both for you and your furry friend.

The difference between a happy pup and a stressed one comes down to preparation.

Just letting your puppy roam free while you’re gone might seem like a good idea, but it can lead to many problems.

Preparing your puppy properly, on the other hand, gives them a sense of security and helps them adjust more quickly to being alone.

Getting your puppy ready for this big step is no small task.

And savvy pet owners know that there are certain things you can do to make this transition smoother.

So, let’s talk about the 10 important things to do before leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time.

1) Puppy-proof your home

Before you even think about leaving your puppy alone at home, you need to make sure your home is a safe space for them.

As pet owners, we know puppies are curious creatures.

They love to explore and often don’t understand the dangers that potentially lurk around the corner.

Think of it as baby-proofing, but for a fur baby.

Cover up electrical outlets, keep toxic substances out of reach, and remove any small items they might find tempting to chew on.

It’s not just about preventing damage to your belongings – it’s about ensuring your little one’s safety.

Puppies are like toddlers – they will get into anything and everything if given a chance.

So secure your home before taking this big step.

2) Start with short periods

I remember when I got my first puppy, a little Golden Retriever named Daisy.

The thought of leaving her alone at home for a whole day was daunting.

From my experience, it’s crucial to start leaving your puppy alone for short periods before attempting longer stretches.

At first, I left Daisy alone for just 15 minutes while I ran to the grocery store.

Slowly but surely, we built up to an hour, then two hours.

This gradual approach helped Daisy get used to the idea that I would leave but, more importantly, that I would always come back.

It reduced her anxiety and made her more comfortable spending time alone.

So, remember that this is a process – don’t rush it.

Start with short periods and gradually increase the time as your puppy becomes more comfortable.

3) Provide plenty of toys

Puppies have a lot of energy and need mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Did you know that boredom in dogs can lead to destructive behavior?

Having a variety of toys can keep your puppy entertained while you’re away.

Puzzle toys or chew toys can be particularly helpful.

They not only keep your puppy busy but also help with teething discomfort.

So, before leaving your puppy alone, ensure they have an assortment of safe and engaging toys to play with.

4) Set up a cozy space

Everyone appreciates a comfortable space to relax in, and your puppy is no exception.

Creating a designated area where your puppy can feel safe and secure while you’re away is an essential part of preparing them for alone time.

This could be a crate, a playpen, or even a gated-off area in your home.

Ensure this space has a comfy bed, fresh water, and a few favorite toys.

You want your puppy to associate this area with positive experiences, so they feel at ease when left alone.

This cozy space can become your puppy’s haven when you’re not around, giving them the comfort and security they need during their alone time.

5) Practice your leaving routine

Puppies are smart and observant.

They quickly catch on to our daily routines and habits.

Before you start leaving your puppy alone for longer periods, practice your leaving routine.

This could mean putting on your shoes, grabbing your keys, and heading to the door.

Doing this multiple times without actually leaving allows your puppy to get used to these actions without associating them with anxiety or stress.

6) Leave a piece of you with them

Our puppies love us unconditionally and form strong bonds with us.

So, naturally, our absence can be a bit unsettling for them.

One of the things that can provide comfort to your puppy when you’re away is something that smells like you.

It could be an old t-shirt or a used pillowcase.

Having something with your scent on it can help your puppy feel close to you, even when you’re not there.

It’s a small gesture, but it can make a world of difference to your little one.

Letting them hold onto something as simple as a piece of clothing can give them a sense of security and comfort.

7) Get them used to sounds

When I first left my puppy, Daisy, alone, I was surprised to find out that she was scared of the sound of the washing machine.

It’s a noise I wouldn’t have thought twice about, but to her, it was terrifying.

Puppies can be sensitive to household noises that we take for granted.

The sound of the dishwasher, the vacuum cleaner, or even the doorbell can be startling for them.

Before leaving your puppy alone, expose them to these sounds gradually and in a controlled manner.

Make sure they’re comfortable and not scared.

Understanding your puppy’s fears and helping them overcome these can make their alone time much less stressful.

8) Don’t make a fuss when you leave or return

It might seem like the loving thing to do – giving your puppy a long, emotional goodbye or an over-the-top welcome home.

But surprisingly, this can do more harm than good.

Making a big deal out of departures and arrivals can lead to anxiety in your puppy.

They start to associate these emotional highs and lows with you leaving and coming back, which can lead to stress and even separation anxiety.

Instead, keep your goodbyes and hellos low-key.

This will help your puppy understand that it’s just a normal part of the day and nothing to be overly concerned about.

Sometimes, the best way to show our love for our pets is by keeping things calm and steady, even if it feels a bit against our instincts.

9) Leave them with something to do

A bored puppy can quickly become a destructive puppy.

Before leaving your puppy alone, make sure they have something to keep them occupied.

This could be a new toy, a puzzle feeder, or even a treat-dispensing toy.

These distractions not only keep your pup entertained but also help to tire them out.

A tired puppy is a happy puppy, and they’re much less likely to get into trouble while you’re gone.

Keeping your pup’s mind stimulated is just as important as physical exercise.

So, before you leave, give them a task or a challenge to keep their mind engaged.

10) Gradually increase their alone time

The most important thing to remember when preparing to leave your puppy alone for the first time is to take it slow.

Start by leaving them alone for just a short period, gradually increasing the duration as they get more comfortable.

This allows your puppy to acclimate to being alone without becoming overwhelmed.

This process may take some time and patience, but it’s well worth it.

Rushing into leaving your puppy alone for extended periods can lead to stress and anxiety, which is something we all want to avoid for our furry friends.

It’s all about love

At the heart of these preparations and guidelines is one simple, universal truth – our deep love for our furry friends.

Every step we take to ensure our puppy’s comfort during their alone time is a testament to that love.

From puppy-proofing our homes to gradually increasing their alone time, each measure underscores our commitment to their well-being.

Remember that leaving your puppy alone for the first time is not just a milestone for them, but for you as well.

It’s a step towards fostering independence in your puppy while ensuring their safety and comfort.

Whether it’s filling their space with engaging toys or leaving a piece of you with them, the underlying essence is the same – love and care.

These actions signify our desire to make our furry friends feel secure, even in our absence.

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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