Puppy Alone Time - Here's How Long You Can Leave a Puppy Alone

Puppy Alone Time - Here's How Long You Can Leave a Puppy Alone

Author WDF Staff


The reality of modern life is that most of us cannot be full-time stay-at-home pet parents. We have responsibilities like work and chores, which will prevent us from spending all of our time with our new puppies. One of the most important things we need to do is teach our new puppies how to be on their own. Many new dog owners asked us, “How long can you leave a puppy alone?” The correct answer is somewhat complicated.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is terrible for humans, but it is a blessing in disguise for our dogs. Many dog owners were instructed to work from home, which means their dogs have constant company. That means that teaching dogs to spend time on their own was never more critical. They are so used to having their owners around they will surely have problems being by themselves. Many puppies will develop separation anxiety, and the easiest way to prevent that is to teach them to stay on their own. Here’s what you should know about leaving puppies alone.

Before you leave your puppy alone

Training a new puppy is a long-term process. They have to learn where to go potty, walk on a leash, and even basic commands, like “Sit” or “Stay.” Before we go into detail about teaching a puppy to be on its own, we have to go through the process of getting a puppy. When you decide to get a puppy, the best thing you can do is take a few days off from your work to help your puppy get used to the new environment. The puppy was separated from its mother and littermates, so it is no wonder they might be a bit scared and confused.

cavalier puppy

How long can a puppy stay on its own?

The first thing you should remember is that puppies can’t hold their bladder long. They need potty breaks and leaving your puppy alone means adjusting to their “natural” schedule. If you don’t want your puppy to pee on the carpet, you can’t leave them alone for more than a couple of hours. According to our resident specialist, vet Dr. Jukic, this is how long a puppy can hold it;

  • Up to 10 weeks - A puppy that is less than 10 weeks old can usually hold for about an hour. They will need regular potty breaks, and accidents inside the house are common.
  • 10 - 12 weeks - The puppy should start adjusting to its new surroundings, and its bladder capacity will increase. An average puppy between 10 - 12 weeks can hold it for 2 - 2 and a half hours.
  • 12 weeks - 5 months - This is the stage where some puppies will learn where the designated potty space is. Accidents in the house will be rare, and puppies of this age can hold it for 4 - 5 hours.
  • 6 months and over - The puppy should be fully potty trained, and it can hold it for 6 hours. However, their bladder will be full, which, as we all know, is uncomfortable.

VET TIP: This schedule is a general guide. All puppies are individuals, and some might be better adjusted and can hold their bladder longer. These things depend on the puppy’s age, breed, and health condition.

chihuahua puppy on bed

The critical question here is “How long can you leave a puppy alone?” and now that you know how long a puppy can hold it, you will have a better idea of why the “alone” schedule looks like this. Here’s how long a puppy can stay alone according to their age;

  • Up to 10 weeks - A puppy under 10 weeks can stay alone for 1 hour.
  • 10 - 12 weeks - As the puppy’s bladder capacity increases, so will its alone time. A puppy between 10 and 12 weeks can stay alone for 2 hours.
  • 3 months - A 3-month-old puppy can stay alone for 3 hours.
  • 4 months - Puppies that are 4 months can stay alone for 4 hours.
  • 5 months - At this time, your puppy should be well adjusted to spending time on their own. A 5-month-old puppy can stay alone for 5 hours.
  • 6 months - You can slightly increase your puppy’s alone time to a maximum of 6 hours.
  • 6 months - 1 year - The maximum amount your puppy (or dog) should stay alone is 8 hours. They should be pretty happy to spend time on their own, but they are still social and need human companionship.

How to teach a puppy to stay alone?

As we already mentioned, teaching a puppy that has never been alone before to be on its own is a process. That process will probably take a while, but if you take baby steps, your puppy will grow into a well-adjusted dog that has no problem with spending time on its own. Here are the steps you need to take so you can leave your puppy alone without any problems;

1. Start by not leaving the house

This might seem like an odd tip, but you can’t start the training by abruptly leaving a puppy at home. Start by creating a safe space for the puppy. Get them comfortable in their crate and leave them alone, safely crated in a separate room. You can start by doing that for 5 - 10 minutes. Make sure the puppy has plenty of toys and things to do while they’re alone.

yorkie terrier puppy

2. Slowly increase the time

As your puppy grows, you can start by increasing the time they spend on their own. Start by increasing the time to 30 minutes and slowly work up the time. Stick to the recommended schedule we mentioned above, and you will see fantastic progress.

3. Try leaving the puppy outside of the crate

Many dog owners don’t want to keep their puppies or dogs inside the crate for so long. That means teaching the puppy to stay alone outside the crate. You can start by leaving them and slowly increasing the time they spend on their own. However, you should limit your puppy’s movement to keep them out of harm’s way.

sad puppy on bed

Make sure your puppy can’t reach foods, meds, or cleaning supplies. These things could kill them. It would be best to leave them in a room that will be puppy-proofed and safe for them. You should always leave the puppy’s crate open and make sure they can reach their water and food (if you’re free-feeding).

In conclusion

Teaching a puppy to stay on its own is essential. Well-behaved dogs need to know how to be on their own while their owners are away, and you can only achieve that if you train your puppy. If you’re not comfortable with leaving your dog alone, you can get a dog camera that will allow you to check on your puppy at any time. Some cameras even dispense treats. If you follow these steps and tips, you will have a puppy that you can leave alone for as long as you want without any problems.

World Dog Finder team

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