Can my dog be alone all day?
Many dogs spend most of their days sleeping. From the moment you have a professional activity and a workplace to join, every day, your dog remains alone for several hours. He's not bored, he's asleep. It is important to underline this.
He is unhappy (and you have problems) when he doesn't do much more while you are there.
I only know of one type of person who can offer their dog a completely different way of life, and that is the retired. They often have other things to do than organize their daily lives around their dogs, certainly, but they have the greatest availability of all.
Apart from retirees (and those who work outside and with their dogs, perhaps, but there are fewer of them), we work so we leave our dogs alone. If we work at home, on the other hand, they also sleep when we work.
When your dog slept for several hours, it stored energy to expend. Whatever its size, breed, energy level, the more a dog sleeps, the more energy it has to expend when it wakes up.
For his well-being, the most useful thing is to review your organization.
For example, if your dog has slept 2 or 3 hours, you have virtually less energy to expend on him than if he has slept 6 or 8 hours. On this principle - it's up to you to see what your dog needs because they are all different! - you know that after 2 or 3 hours of doing nothing, you will be there to play or take it out for a while; after 6 or 8 hours of doing nothing, your dog has greater needs than just a moment of entertainment.
Is it time to get it out fast for 10 minutes? Isn't it better to plan a long outing at that time? If there are other questions to ask yourself, take a look at it and you will find something that is adapted to your dog's needs.
Do dogs get sad when you leave them alone?
The only way to leave your dog alone and that he does not suffer is to gradually become habituated to remain alone.
Ideally, this is done with an 8 week old puppy. It is a matter of leaving the puppy alone for a few minutes, little by little a few hours... In the end, it remains half a day, then the duration increases to x hours, the number of hours during which you must leave it.
Take some time off to set this up. That's what a lot of people do. They force themselves to leave their homes according to a small schedule so that, throughout their leave, the duration of their absence gradually increases. It's weird at first, then you get used to it, and it works when you're progressive.
A dog that has not been gradually accustomed (from an early age) may need a completely different program, called desensitization.
Dogs express their discomfort differently from each other, even if there are common or widespread behaviors. We know that leaving your dog alone makes him unhappy if he destroys things at home, if he barks all the time he is alone, if he relieves himself, among other possible indicators.
These are normal normal normal dog behaviors when he has not learned to be alone. Sometimes, of course, some behaviors are more worrying, such as hurting oneself to try to escape or going in circles in front of a wall.
You should ask a dog trainer for help if your dog has embarrassing or disturbing behavior, it may also be due to something other than loneliness or there are several causes.
Many dogs are probably neither happy nor unhappy. They are subject to our schedules; they do not ask questions as we do. It is up to us to take the necessary measures to do better.
Can a dog hold it's pee for a long time?
This depends on each dog.
Puppies don't stay long. In general, a 3 to 4 month old puppy will need to go out every 2 to 3 hours at the most. The older he gets, the more he is able to hold back. In addition to the physical capacity, a puppy will also gradually adjust to the schedule you set up. You have no choice, because you have schedules. So your dog has no choice either, he follows your schedule.
In doing so, his body gets used to it. Unfortunately, I know of adult dogs that can hold on extremely long; they have been used to it. Does that mean they can handle it well, that they don't suffer from it? Not sure! Not sure! It is also important to know that health problems sometimes appear in dogs that retain themselves for extreme lengths of time every day. They hold back because they have learned to be clean. It's sad, when you think about it.
Now, just because a dog is able to hold on for 10 hours doesn't mean it's a "good" duration. The right length of time to leave your dog alone is the shortest possible. This is the best you can do by organizing yourself.
Adult dogs retain 6 to 8 hours overall. Does this mean that you can leave your dog alone for 6 to 8 hours without worrying about anything? No, you can imagine that. A dog is not just a gastrointestinal tract that evacuates urine and feces...
He needs other things, including interactions.
Well, what many people forget when they take a puppy, but of course you don't necessarily think about that when you welcome a "baby", is that one day it will get old. And on that day, he will hold back less and less. An old dog usually holds back less, not to mention possible health problems.
Sometimes it takes a solid organization to give him the well-being he deserves.
Read also: How to Train Your Dog to Poop and Pee in the Right Place
Is it better for my dog to leave him alone with another dog or cat?
I completely understand that it's guilt-free to think that. Unfortunately, contrary to a common misconception, leaving your dog alone with another dog or cat does not change the problem.
- Two dogs will make you two dogs that spend their days sleeping instead of just one.
- A dog and a cat will make you a sleeping dog and a sleeping cat (unless he goes out).
Think otherwise if it makes you feel better. I also have comforting thoughts when I feel guilty about this and that with my dog. The reality, however, is that dogs need us to expend their energy and have fun.
Is it better if I leave my dog alone outside in the garden?
Leaving your dog alone in the garden may seem more ethical than leaving it between four walls.
However, the dog is always alone. And concretely, a dog will not spend 6, 8 or more hours alone sniffing a place he knows by heart.
Any stimuli outside, which are not inside, are not able to keep your dog busy all day. Not in a healthy, useful and safe way, as only you can do.
In addition, what will eventually occupy him outside, between naps, will often not please you or your neighbors, as it is usually a matter of barking.
Other problems may also arise.
It's up to you, but dogs shouldn't stay outdoors unattended for long, including in a place secured by a fence.
Is there an ideal length of time to leave your dog alone?
No, since it does not depend on a number of hours only.
Take a dog that stays alone for 8 hours all day, every day, and goes out for an hour every morning in the fields and again for an hour every night in the forest. Take the same dog and the same amount of solitude and now take him out for 10 minutes at 7:00 and 10 minutes at 19:00 around the same block.
This same duration of 8 hours seems relatively well compensated in the first case, inhuman in the second case.
Many people take dogs with crazy schedules and are unable to cope. Other people work every day and are organized enough to provide good compensation for their dogs on a daily basis.
If you're looking for a figure, in my opinion, which only involves me, from an ethical point of view, it raises questions for me from 8 a.m. (every day, every week). But it depends on what the dog owners offer him before and after work. I know of some who almost spend their evenings outdoors with their dogs, or late afternoons if they finish around 16:00 for example; it's almost like a second day and this one is very active.
We cannot talk about this subject by considering only a number of hours.
But if you need a reference point, considering just one number, for my part 8 hours alone, it's starting to take a long time for a dog... For everything, pee, poop, interactions, entertainment. I take into account the reality of most people. If I don't take it into account (so in an ideal world that doesn't exist, don't you think), I would say that leaving your dog alone for 5 hours is not bad enough. Some dog trainers will tell you zero hours, others 3 hours max, there is no official number!
Read also: Tips to Stop your Dog Chewing Furniture When you Leave the House
Are there any dog breeds that can be left alone for longer?
But to develop a little bit, though:
- there are breeds of dogs that have very high physical activity needs; choosing one of these dogs when you work all day, when you don't come home at lunchtime and when you finish late, is incomprehensible to me. Some of these very energetic dogs are able to adapt to relatively quiet and solitary lifestyles. Nevertheless, their bodies, their instincts, their needs are not made for that.
- there are dog breeds that have less need for energy expenditure but all dogs - without exception - are active animals that need to exercise daily through (at least) walking and olfactory exploration as regularly as possible.
- let's add/remind us that taking out your dog is far from being the only benevolent response to your dog's needs, dogs also need interaction with us.
How can you leave your dog alone and be sure he's not unhappy?
Toys are all made for you and your dog.
A child is able to take care of himself while you do something else. A toy will not keep your dog busy without you. A so-called occupancy toy will keep him occupied for a few seconds or minutes. A chewable bone will keep him busy for a little while, not hours. No object will compensate for the exercise, the walks, the time you spend with your dog. Some days, you don't want as much, that's normal. It is important to be as regular as possible.
A good toy that he likes will allow your dog to have a good time with you. It's a great bonus, to be added at any time of the day; it's not "the solution".
There are 3 things to leave your dog alone for several hours and prevent him from being unhappy:
- get him used to a certain timing of staying alone/going out and having fun with you when he is very young (but reasonable timing of course) so that this is the norm for him;
- review its organization to best compensate for hours of inactivity;
- pay for a walk service to add an additional walk during the day, or more if necessary.
If you no longer know how to do it:
- before leaving for work and leaving his dog alone for 6 or 8 hours, or about 1 hour (minimum) to get him out: in the morning, your dog just gets out of long hours of sleep and gets ready to sleep for long hours again. This release is really crucial!
- Plan 1 hour (minimum) when you get home or, as many people do, the big fun outing when you get home from work and another before going to sleep.
Observe your dog on a daily basis to find out how best to adjust the outings, their number, duration and quality.
Remember that walking or running is not the only way a dog enjoys its outings and spends time. Dogs need to sniff. It is better to go out for 1 hour and walk only 1 kilometre, to let your dog sniff everywhere if that is what he needs to do, than to go out for 1 hour and just pull or push your dog forward, go, go...; this is of no interest to him.
An outing can last a long time without going very far and the dog can benefit from it. Just because there were a lot of things to sniff on the way. You have the impression that the exit is ruined because you stop often and for a long time, but your dog has a lot of fun.
Exploring odors consumes energy and meets one of the most basic needs of dogs.
Finally, it is more effective for the well-being of a dog that remains alone every day, to organize itself to optimize mornings and evenings, than to make up for it on weekends. Of course, beautiful and long weekend outings, the dog club, agility... are always good to take. But your dog doesn't wait for the weekend; he doesn't know what the weekend is.
He needs to work out every day.
This is a priori binding.
But when a good organization is in place, it is especially a lot of happiness to see your dog happy!
- The longer you leave your dog alone, the longer it will take before/after this period of loneliness for him to spend himself. This requires organization. If this is really one of your top priorities, you will succeed. Changing habits can take time. Do it little by little, rather than changing your habits overnight.
- A dog that can stand being left alone for hours every day is above all a dog that, in addition to sufficient compensation in terms of quality, duration and regularity, has been accustomed to remaining alone very small and gradually.
- Dogs have very different abilities to refrain from doing their business. Reasonable time, from an ethical point of view: it is the shortest possible time!
- Don't take another dog or cat thinking that your dog will suffer less from loneliness. All you will get is two animals that suffer from loneliness instead of one.
- Seriously study the pros and cons of leaving your dog alone outside; there are usually many more "pros" than "cons", no matter where you live. The outside seems more stimulating to you, but your stimulated dog will mostly do "stupid things".
- No breed of dog is more capable of remaining alone than another. It is up to everyone to get the right information before taking a dog, on the breed's estimated needs, for example not to take a sports dog when there is no time to make it exercise.
- Dogs don't just need to walk or run. They need to explore different places because their sense of smell is very powerful. We often want to "walk" our dogs, or make them run, but let's not forget that they also want to use their noses outside.
- They need to interact with their humans, because we wanted them that way. No toy or technological thing can replace the interactions a dog needs with humans!
- Better organization is most often the solution when you leave your dog alone for too long, as well as dog walking services.
- The morning outing is very important for a dog who will be alone all day long.