Leaving a Dog Alone At Home
Did you know that you need to train your dog to be alone in the house? Many dog owners don’t know what age you can reasonably expect to leave your dog alone in the house, without having any problems.
The answer to this question really depends on you and your dog, but generally speaking– If you’ve adopted your dog as a puppy, and you’ve followed all of the instructions in Adam’s excellent dog training book … then you will be able to start leaving your dog alone in the house at around 1.5 years of age.
Kathleen from our discussion forum at Dogproblems.com asks about leaving her dog alone: “How can I stop my dog from destroying my house while I’m at work? He’s almost five months-old and I have had him since April. HEEEELP!!
What Kathleen needs to do is understand that her dog is still a baby. Even though he may look like a full grown dog at this age–he’s not. And just like a baby would need to be put in a play pen or a crib when unsupervised– so does your dog. (Of course, your dog needs to be let out of the crate for regular potty breaks, exercise and play. For some dog owners, confining the dog in a doggie-safe kennel run outside may work better).
But back to the crate: The crate also has an added benefit of giving your dog a “safe zone.” Everybody (even humans) needs a safe zone. That’s why we live in houses and apartments with locks on our doors. Because we need a place where we can be safe. The crate does this for the domesticated dog, by playing on your dog’s ingrained “den instinct.”
Cherie from our discussion forum adds, “There are basically two types of dog crates. One is the plastic airline-type crates and the other are the wire crates. If you go to the PetEdge site or any pet products catalogue (i.e. Drs. Foster and Smith), you can see examples of both those types plus some others.
By the way… before I learned better, my first collie chewed a coffee table into match sticks. He was just about the same age as your dog is.”
We recommend the plastic, airline crates. Once your dog is older and has demonstrated to you that he’s old enough to handle the responsibility of being alone in the house (by leaving him for short periods of time, that gradually get longer and longer– and by correcting unwanted behavior when he attempts it while you are home) you’ll soon have a pet that can be left in the house, unsupervised without causing any problems.