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Can Labradors Be Left Alone?

Bringing a new dog into your life can be a great joy and a perfect opportunity to have an added family member.  Getting a Labrador can be rewarding but do we need to be stay at home moms or dads in order to make sure that our new dog is happy and content?

Can Labradors be left alone?  Labrador dogs are very sociable dogs and it is not best for them to be left alone for long periods of time, but it is possible if you are fully committed to having a puppy and working at the same time.  Getting a new dog requires feeding, potty training, socializing with your pet and other types of training such as crate training or outside potty training.  If you are fully committed to having a puppy and working at the same time, it is important that you follow these tips:

  • Leave a potty area for them to use with training pads or open your home with a doggy door and safe outdoor area.
  • Puppy proof your house (keep cords up and things that you do not want chewed on).
  • Have a safe place for them to go when they are scared (crate).
  • Bring someone in the first few months of the puppy’s life to make sure they do not experience separation anxiety.
  • Leave puppy toys and treats where they can find them.
  • Find a puppy daycare or walking service.
  • Spend A LOT of time with them before and after work.

Being a working mom or dad should not leave you out of the joys of having your very own puppy to love.  It is possible for working families and Labrador puppies to cope with being left alone during working hours as long as you follow some guidelines and tips to make sure both you and your puppy are safe and happy.

Potty Area

Potty training your new Labrador while working can be difficult at first because puppies have a hard time holding their bladder for long periods of time.  In order to make sure that your puppy is getting trained even when you are not there, make sure that you leave an area open where you can put down training pads that the puppy can use. 

As your puppy gets older, training them to go outside is important and you can do this by lessening the training pad area a little bit at a time, making it where your puppy only has a small area to use the bathroom. 

If you are able to set up your home with an outside doggy door that leads to a fenced in yard, this can be very beneficial as your puppy gets older and becomes a dog.

There are usually three different stages that your Labrador puppy will go through in order to complete potty training:

  • Figuring Out Where to Go Potty
  • Potty Control
  • Going Potty on Their Own.

Bringing a new Labrador puppy into the home is a training session for both the parents of the puppy and the puppy themselves.  Since the puppy will be new to the home, they need to figure out where you want them to go potty so that when you are gone to work, they know exactly what to do.  This takes training and leaving out pads or crate training until the puppy learns.

 If you are not involved in the potty training as much as you need to be, chances are that your puppy will begin to use the potty in the house and this is something that needs to be avoided.  Try to get your puppy to understand their potty area in the time that you are home and then spend a lot of time taking them out when you are home.

Puppy Proof the Home

Nothing is more important about having a puppy than making sure that it is safe and secure.  In order to do this, make sure that you leave your home in a safe fashion when you leave for work, moving anything that could cause your puppy to get hurt such as cords laying around the floor, plastic things that the puppy could chew and swallow and anything that would be unsafe.

It is important to make sure that you move things that your puppy would chew on that you want to keep such as shoes or other items in their reach.  Remember, some puppies are BIG chewers and they will chew on baseboards, kitchen legs or anything that will fit in their mouth.  If this becomes a problem, you might need to consider putting up some type of puppy barrier.

Safe Place

Some puppy parents take the route of training their puppy to a crate.  A crate can be a wonderful thing for parents who work outside of the home.  Not only can the crate be the place that your puppy goes to the bathroom, it can also be a safe place for them to go when they are scared or feeling alone.

Make sure that you leave blankets and toys inside the crate and that you create an area of safety for your puppy to go to.  This will help to lessen your puppy’s anxiety and stress while they are left alone.

Separation Anxiety

When you bring in a new Labrador puppy and you have to leave them for work, chances are, they will experience separation anxiety.  This can cause your puppy to be anxious and to become a barker. 

If you have the option, it is important that someone could come into the home and check on the puppy during the day, at least for the first few weeks of their life.  This can help the puppy to become more sociable and can help them not to feel so alone while you are at work.

Not only can your person become your Lab’s close friend, they can also help with toilet training and allow them to have some outside time.

Toys and Treats

Leaving your puppy toys and treats while you are at work can help to eliminate some of the boredom that they will experience while being alone.  Make sure that you leave them toys that are safe and even some that will give them treats when they chew them.

Your puppy will appreciate a surprise treat while they are waiting for their owner to come home!

Doggy Daycare or Walking Service

As mentioned above, if you can provide your puppy with someone for the first few weeks of their lives, your puppy will be better off than being alone all the time.  Finding a doggy daycare or walking service in your area can provide your puppy with socialization while you are at work.

Some daycares are all day and they provide your puppy with a safe place to go so that they are not alone at home all day.  If you cannot use the services everyday when you work, maybe figuring out a day or two to drop them off will help to separate some of their alone time for the week.

Before and After Work

As we mentioned, Labrador’s are very sociable dogs and being left alone can be very hard on them.  It can cause them to become sad, isolated or can cause them to get into trouble in the home. 

Make sure that you get up with plenty of time to spend with your puppy before you go into work so that they know that you will be back and that you aren’t leaving them for good.  And upon your return, plan on spending hours on end holding, hugging, running and playing with your puppy. 

Spending time with your puppy before and after work will show them just how much you love them and care for them and it will make having a puppy and working full time a lot easier to handle for both you and your puppy.

How Long Can You Leave a Labrador Alone?

If you absolutely have to work, it is important to try to follow this guide when leaving your Labrador alone:

  • At 8-11 Weeks-it is important for someone to be with your Lab for most of the day to have potty breaks and to get used to the home.  If you have to leave, do it in short periods of time.  If you work, hire someone to sit with your puppy for the first few weeks of their life so that they can develop correctly.
  • 11-13 Weeks-now is the time that your puppy can be left alone for longer periods of time.  Four hours is an okay amount of time to leave your puppy alone at this age.
  • 2-5 Months-At this age, your puppy should be able to hold their bladder for around four hours.  If you are going to be gone more than that, make sure that you have a designated place for them to go potty. 
  • 6 Months and Older-After a puppy reaches 6 months, he or she should be completely potty trained and able to stay at home until you return.  Make sure that you maintain a safe place for them to be and a safe place for them to go to the bathroom while you are out.  At this point, having your puppy in a pen or blocking the house might not be necessary unless your Lab is a big chewer.

Conclusion

Labrador’s are very sociable animals and they love having their people at home with them.  With that said, if you have to work full time, it isn’t fair that you cannot enjoy the benefits of an added family member to your home so just keep in mind ways that you can keep your puppy happy and safe while you are at work.