The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #63 Staying Home Alone - Unsupervised...How & When?

October 12, 2020 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 2 Episode 63
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #63 Staying Home Alone - Unsupervised...How & When?
Show Notes Transcript

Today we are talking about how to leave your puppy home alone when they are not in a crate or confined space. How do you know when you can trust them? How do you go about this process? 

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Staying Home Alone Unsupervised - How & When?


Today we are talking about how to leave your puppy home alone when they are not in a crate or confined space. How do you know when you can trust them? How do you go about this process? 


A big shout out to Caitlyn Green for today’s topic. Many of you have been listening for awhile - which I really appreciate and your puppy’s are reaching an age where you are asking “older” puppy questions. This episode is for you! 


Thank you for tuning in and for sharing this podcast with your friends! My goal is to help dogs everywhere live their best lives and that means families too! A well-trained dog is a joy in the home for years to come! Don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming classes - we teach them LIVE and anyone can sign up. Our DIY dog training curriculum compliments each class and you can work through the lessons on your own time at your own pace. You can find more info on our site www.baxterandbella.com


Okay, so you have an older puppy and you are thinking about leaving them home unsupervised...it’s a big step! How do you know when your puppy is ready and how do you go about this process?


First, I consider my dog’s age. Once my puppy reaches one year, I start this process. Not before. I like to wait until my dog has gone through the initial teenage months and I’m positive house training skills are top notch! No marking or secret behaviors going on. They reliably find the exit door and signal me they need to go out.


I also like to make sure my puppy has strong being alone skills as established by regular crate or pen time. They are quiet and calm when I leave the room or the house. 


They’ve had a lot of practice chewing only appropriate toys as given in their crate or pen. They know what they can chew and they like chewing them. I don’t need to regularly remind them what they can and can’t chew - they know to chew their toys.


I’ve also taught my dog to relax in my home out of their crate while I’m around. I notice they are taking naps on the floor or hanging out by my feet while I work - when they get bored - I notice what they do - is it good? 


Once I’ve taught my dog these skills and their behavior is good when out while I’m around - we move on. Around the one year mark I start leaving my puppy out in my home when I leave to go get the mail and sit outside for 3-5 minutes. 


Then I return and take note of what my puppy did while I was out. If things went well, I repeat these short 5 minute sessions multiple times a day for a week or so. 


If things are still good, I bump the time up to 10-15 minutes and repeat the process. If things went great, we push for 30-40 minutes, then 50-60. From an hour we try for two. The process continues until my dog can be completely trusted in my home. 


If at any point you come back to something that was chewed up or an accident, do not punish your dog. The time has passed and they will not connect the punishment with their behavior. 


Cut back the time you leave them alone for and move back through the process. Don’t be afraid to go back to the beginning and build up again or reteach a behavior at any point in your dog’s life. 


You can set your dog up for success by:


  • Closing doors to rooms, picking up the floor, clearing counters - don’t leave temptations around. Make it as easy as possible on them to be good. Then as they get better, you can be more relaxed.


  • Teach them leave it and establish strong skills when you are around having them leave shoes, socks or other tempting items alone. 


  • Before you leave, tire them out. Take that long walk or play frisbee, fetch or hide and go seek. 


  • Go through a training session. Mental exercise is just as good as physical exercise and your dog needs both! 


  • Make sure they went to the bathroom before you leave and come back home before you know they’ll need to go again.


  • Leave them with a safe puzzle toy or chews you know they love.


  • Start by leaving them in a smaller area of your home; gate off a kitchen or laundry room. See how they do from that one room. When they are able to be left alone in that one room, you can open up two rooms. Then three, four and so on until they can be left alone in your home with no restrictions.


Every dog is different. Every dog is unique. This is what makes training so fun and exciting! 


We get to work with them to help them achieve success and it can take creativity, definitely patience and skill to find what works for them. 


Remember, Start slow, set your dog up for success and they will be able to enjoy a comfortable life when left home alone - unsupervised. 


I hope you enjoy your week! Octobers here in Utah are absolutely beautiful with the changing leaves. Get outside this week wherever you live and go enjoy life with your dog! Thanks for listening. Talk to you next week.