Train your puppy to thrive on its own

Train your puppy to thrive on its own

Helping your dog grow into a strong individual having no problems staying home alone is easy peasy when done right. Its best to start right when you get your puppy from the kennel.

But no worries or feeling bad if you didn't do it back then - these steps can be trained with dogs of any age!

Well, hello there! Are you back already?

Start with ultra short "aways"

Start very gently by just staying at home but leaving the room where your puppy is - without looking at your dog before leaving. Just leave for two seconds or so, closing the door behind you. Enter back in the room.

Is your furry friend crying? Then get back in right away. That shows you have been away too long. Do even shorter absences.

The dog needs to be taught that it is perfectly normal that you are leaving, and that you will come back. There should be no doubt in her mind that you will always come back, and that is best trained without the dog struggeling with you being away. 

A crying dog needs to be comforted gently, and not be pushed further into anxiety.

Act as if nothing special happened when back

When you leave it's no big deal, and it should be the same when you come back. Don't make a big deal of it, act as if nothing special is happening. Do your normal things around the house. 

Extend the time away 

Juggle between leaving through different doors (for the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, entrance, terrasse and so on), coming and going as it suits you. You can then naturally and gradually increase the time away from the puppy, and also prolong the time for "doing your things" when coming back. 

The puppy should just be left where she is naturally relaxing, in her basket, on her carpet or in her pet pen. It might help having toys or chews to be entertained by when you are away, but that's not a necessity (if you leave the dog with toys, make sure they are safe for chewing). Be careful that chewing stuff is not masking fear of being left - your dog should manage your absence also without entertainment.

Sif, hardworking product tester, chillaxing in her basket while mum is going back and forth, training her to be alone

When back, you greet the puppy calmly.

Do it with the right attitude

As mentioned, when you leave the home, its no big deal. When you come home, it should the same. When your dog hasn’t seen you for some time, she is perhaps going to be hyper and wants to jump all over you. Don’t allow jumping. Greet your dog when it is calm, and praise it for greeting you with all four paws on the floor.

Is it difficult? Then look for the opportunity to catch your dog doing the right thing, and calmly praise that. Focus on improvement - a little better is GOOD - when training.

When you get the hang on it, start saying farewell when leaving. Then give it some time when coming back, maybe 5 -10 minutes. Then shower your dog with love in a calm manner when back. 

Mommy dog back with the puppies

It pays off in the long run

Training your dog like this will result in a dog knowing that you will come back, and that she can rest relaxed and quiet until you're there again. She knows that you will spend time with her when coming back when you have the time, and she will get your attention when she behaves calmly.

A good routine for leaving and coming will certainly be a relief for both dog and owner. You can leave without worring about that little furball being anxious on her own. And it will come very handy for you that your dog can greet you in a calm manner - either when you place your groceries, remove rainsoaked wet clothes or tackle dirty kindergarden boots, before having to meet and greet your fourlegged family member demanding your attention, too! 

Vibeke Nordrehaug

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