9 essential tips to stop your puppy from crying when left alone

There’s a vast gap between ignoring your puppy’s cries and teaching them to feel secure when they’re alone.

The distinction is rooted in understanding.

Ignoring your puppy can lead to anxiety, while training them to be alone assures them of their safety.

Teaching your puppy to feel comfortable alone is all about showing them that being alone doesn’t mean being abandoned.

And dog-lovers like us know that there are specific strategies that can help ease this process without causing any distress.

In this guide, I’ll share nine crucial tips to help you train your puppy to be comfortable when left alone.

1) Create a comfortable space

Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start!

When you’re leaving your puppy alone, it’s essential to ensure they’re in a comfortable and secure space.

Think about it.

We all have that one spot at home where we feel the most relaxed and secure.

It can be our bed, a favorite chair, or even a quiet corner.

Puppies are no different.

They need their own area where they feel safe and can retreat to when they’re feeling anxious.

Crafting a comfortable space for your puppy is more than just throwing a blanket in a corner, though.

It’s about considering their needs and preferences.

Do they like to be near a window or prefer a quieter spot?

Do they need their favorite toys around them or prefer an uncluttered space?

Understanding your puppy and creating a comforting environment tailored for them can significantly ease their anxiety when left alone.

2) Develop a leaving routine

As a dog owner myself, I’ve found that creating a consistent leaving routine can work wonders.

Let me share a personal example with you.

My puppy, Timmy, used to get really anxious every time I’d leave the house.

He’d whimper, cry, and sometimes even try to stop me from leaving.

After some research and conversations with a few dog experts, I decided to establish a leaving routine.

Every time I was about to leave, I’d fill up Timmy’s food bowl, give him a reassuring pat and calmly tell him, “I’ll be back soon, Timmy.”

Initially, this didn’t seem to make much difference.

But after about a week of consistent practice, I noticed a change in Timmy’s behavior.

He started getting less anxious when I was about to leave.

The crying stopped and he seemed more at ease.

The routine didn’t just signal my departure but also promised my return.

It reassured Timmy that my leaving was temporary and that I would be back.

So from personal experience, I can vouch for the effectiveness of creating a consistent leaving routine to help your puppy feel secure when left alone.

3) Use calming scents

Our sense of smell is powerful, but did you know a dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be between 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than ours?

That’s right, your puppy’s nose is an extraordinary tool capable of detecting even the faintest odors.

Leveraging this heightened sense can help ease your puppy’s anxiety when left alone.

Certain scents like lavender and chamomile are known for their calming properties.

Using these fragrances around your puppy’s space can help them feel more relaxed and less anxious.

You could use a scented diffuser or even invest in special dog-friendly calming sprays available in the market.

But puppies’ noses are sensitive, so make sure you don’t go overboard with the scent.

A little goes a long way!

4) Invest in interactive toys

Boredom can often be the reason behind your puppy’s persistent crying when left alone.

Interactive toys are a fantastic solution to this problem.

They not only keep your puppy engaged but also stimulate their mind, keeping them busy and less focused on your absence.

Think of these toys as puzzles that need to be solved.

Whether it’s a treat-dispensing ball or a bumpy bone that’s challenging to chew, these toys can provide hours of entertainment for your little fur friend.

When selecting toys, make sure they’re safe and suitable for your puppy’s size and breed.

The last thing you want is a toy that poses a choking hazard.

5) Gradual desensitization

If your puppy gets upset every time you leave, it’s time to introduce them to the concept of alone time gradually.

This process of desensitization helps your puppy realize that being alone isn’t scary or harmful.

Start by leaving your puppy alone for just a few minutes at a time.

Once they’re comfortable with that, gradually increase the duration.

The idea is to help them understand that you will return, and being alone is just a temporary situation.

It’s like teaching a child to swim.

You don’t throw them into the deep end right away; you start in the shallow end and gradually move them deeper as their confidence grows.

6) Shower them with love

Amidst all the training and routines, let’s not forget the healing power of love.

Your puppy needs to feel loved and secure, especially when they’re about to be left alone.

Spend quality time with your puppy before you leave.

Play with them, cuddle them, speak to them in a soothing voice.

This bonding time is crucial in making them feel safe and loved.

Your puppy’s relationship with you is based on trust.

By spending time with them and showing them affection, you’re reinforcing that trust.

You’re telling them that they’re cherished and that you’ll always return to them.

7) Maintain a calm demeanor

In the early days of having my puppy, I noticed something intriguing.

If I was stressed or anxious, somehow, my puppy would pick up on those feelings.

He’d become restless or start whimpering.

Then I learned that dogs are incredibly intuitive and often mirror their owner’s emotions.

If you’re anxious about leaving your puppy alone, chances are, they’ll feel anxious too.

So, whenever you’re about to leave, try to stay calm and composed.

Keep your goodbyes short and sweet.

If you make a big fuss or seem upset, your puppy might sense something is wrong and become anxious.

It’s not always easy; I know I struggled with it.

But over time, maintaining a calm demeanor helped reassure my puppy that everything was okay, even when I was about to leave him alone.

8) Positive reinforcement

Rewarding your puppy for good behavior is a powerful training method.

It’s all about recognizing and encouraging positive actions.

When your puppy manages to stay calm and quiet when left alone, even if just for a short time, make sure to reward them with a treat or their favorite game.

This will help them associate being alone with positive experiences.

Positive reinforcement isn’t just about treats, though.

Praise and affection are equally effective rewards.

A simple “good job” or a pat can go a long way in reinforcing desirable behavior.

Through this method, your puppy will understand that staying calm when alone is a good thing and something to strive for.

9) Professional guidance

If your puppy’s anxiety seems severe or if none of these tips seem to be working, it might be time to seek professional help.

Dog trainers and animal behaviorists are skilled at understanding and addressing pet anxieties.

They can provide personalized strategies and techniques based on your puppy’s specific needs and issues.

It’s all about understanding

The puzzle of your puppy’s behavior, specifically their crying when left alone, is deeply intertwined with their perception of the world around them.

A puppy, much like a small child, relies heavily on their caretaker for comfort and security.

The world can be a big, scary place for them, and your presence is a beacon of safety.

While we’ve shared nine essential tips to help your puppy feel comfortable when left alone, the underlying thread in all of them is understanding.

Understanding their fears, their needs, and their language.

Your puppy might not be able to express their feelings in words, but their actions speak volumes.

Whether it’s through their enthusiastic wagging tail when you return home or their anxious whimpers when you’re about to leave, they’re trying to communicate with you.

Remember, every step you take towards making your puppy comfortable in your absence is a step towards strengthening your bond with them.

It’s about building trust and creating an environment where they feel safe, even when you’re not around.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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