Hi everyone! I actually started writing this on Saturday but the weekend got away from me and as you’ll see… I have a LOT to say on this matter lol…..
This seems to be a topic that keeps coming up in my emails. “How long can I leave my puppy home alone?” One of the questions in my screening is “What is you schedule like? How long will the puppy be left home alone?” This is one of the first things I look for when I’m reading potential buyers emails. How long will the puppy be left alone in your home….
When you bring your new fur baby home at 8 weeks of age, they have lived their entire lives up until that point with siblings, Mama and (in the case of our puppies, Daddy). Not to mention lots of play time and cuddles with our family. So imagine being a tiny 8 week old puppy, taken from all that you know and being placed in a new home. Your the star! Everyone wants to love you, cuddle and play with you – this is amazing! Before you had to share the love and attention with all your siblings! Now you have these new amazing people all to yourself! Not to mention all these wonderful new toys, just for you!! Then, for some reason, you are locked in a small crate, by yourself, all day.
An 8 week old puppy can not hold their pee or poo that long. Neither can a 4 – 6 month old puppy. So now, all the hard work of the breeder in starting the crate training process is gone. They are forced to eliminate in their crates and sit and lay in their own feces.
Now for the emotional trauma this causes. Cockapoos have been bred to be companion dogs. This means they are hard wired to want to be with you. Many small breeds have this, this isn’t exclusive to the cockapoo breed, but it is an issue you should consider when buying a cockapoo. When we first got Stasia, she came crate trained. But I was in love and wanted her with me all the time. I hated leaving her and she picked up on that. I would get all excited when I let her out of the crate, “STASIA!!!! I missed you my babyyyy!!!” All high pitched and millions of kisses. Do. Not. Do this. lol To this day, I cant ever put her in a crate. She loses her mind. I also left her too long too soon, and she could pick up on my emotions in putting her in the crate and taking her out of the crate. She saw the crate as a horrible prison that even her mommy didn’t want her in!
When I got Seb I was determined to do it right. And I did! I followed the schedule below, I would throw a treat in the crate to get him in it and say “go to bed!” and calmly let him out of the crate when we got home. I also put him in the crate when I was home and he was a puppy and I couldn’t watch him. So he didn’t just associate the crate with me leaving.
I simply will not sell to buyers who work full time and want a puppy to entertain them in the evenings and on weekends and then expect puppy to be happy to sit in a crate all day waiting for his or her family to come home. If this is your schedule I strongly urge you to adopt or rescue a full grown dog.
So, what is a reasonable schedule like when I first bring home my puppy? Here is my recommendation and you’ll find most dog blogs/ websites agree with this schedule:
7am – take puppy outside for potty break (adjust accordingly with your schedule) *Initially you need to carry puppy outside or he/she will squat on the way to the door.
Breakfast at 7:30am – 1/2 cup of Taste of The Wild Puppy Food
8:00am Potty Break
*repeat every half hour until he/ she goes
10am – take puppy outside for potty break
Noon – lunch time! Wait 10-15 minutes after puppy has eaten and take outside again. If you find your puppy goes to the bathroom as soon as he/ she is done eating adjust accordingly. Watch your puppy, you can see when they need to go potty by the way they walk, and sniff around. They tend to walk with their legs a little more spread apart. Continue taking puppy out every 2 hours throughout the day
5 or 6PM Dinner time, another 1/2 cup
Cut or reduce water by 8pm. Last potty break right before you go to bed. Puppy can hold it for 4-6 hours during the night. If you hear him/her crying or moving around be sure to get right up and take him/her out or you will have a mess on both your puppy and in the crate. 2am tubby time is no fun for anyone. Puppies will often pee more than once so be sure to give plenty of time for the baby to fully empty their bladder. Also be sure and take the puppy to the same spot every time so he/she knows where you want them to go to do their business. Remember to keep treats in your coat pocket/ by the door and praise puppy immediately after every time!! Positive reinforcement is the BEST way to train cockapoos.
So how do I start leaving the puppy? Start small and slowly increase the time you are away. The puppy will most likely stop eating lunch after a few weeks. Again, you will need to use your judgement and see if he/she stops eating the lunch or acts like they’re starving by 4pm.
When you first bring home baby, do not leave for more than 30 minutes to an hour. Slowly increase the time by 30 minutes. Until at 3 months old, you can use the one hour per month rule until 6 months. So at 3 months old, leave for 3 hours. 2 weeks into the month 3 1/2 hours and then at 4 months old, 4 hours and so on. Once your puppy is 6 months old you should be able to section off a part of the house to leave him or her. Please, please, please (!) do no crate your puppy for more than 6 hours. That should always be your maximum amount of time to leave the baby in the crate. If your going to be gone longer than that (once puppy is older than 6 months) the puppy should be left in a small portion of the kitchen or laundry room. Some place where he/she cant get into trouble and is safe and comfortable.
You can see why you need to be home with your puppy during the day! Bringing home a puppy is like bringing home a new baby. Its a lot of work, but so so worth it. These babies will love and adore you their entire lives. And once they are trained, they are the best companion and friend!