dreamstime_xs_38810029 (1)Puppies are programmed to seek out social connections for safety and comfort. Spending time alone is something that is naturally foreign to them, and that they probably did not experienced in early puppyhood while they were with their mother and littermates. However, spending time alone will be a regular requirement for almost all pet dogs, so teaching a young pup to spend time calmly and quietly without their family nearby is an essential part of early puppy education. Doing so will take the stress out of separation for you and your dog.

Make the most of your pup’s need for plenty of rest.
Use nap times as opportunities for your dog to be alone when it is probably easiest for them. Resting in a crate is usually the best option because it not only provides a safe resting spot, but will also be a useful housetraining tool. At first, the crate should be nearby you and other family members. But, over the course of a couple of weeks you should be able to gradually move it farther away

Use puzzle and chew toys to keep your puppy happily occupied when not engaged in play with you.
Dogs, especially puppies who are teething, love to chew. Have a selection of chew toys on hand for your pup to play with. Providing your dog with these appealing chew options will keep them happily occupied when you aren’t engaged with them.

Practice tethering.
Use a chew-proof tether to tie your dog to a stable object nearby and offer two chew toys to keep him or her busy. Start with your dog no more than a foot or two away and gradually increase the distance while always keeping your pup in your line of sight. This is a small step that helps make a gradual transition towards your puppy ultimately being able to rest calmly when you aren’t home.

Provide adequate and appropriate outlets for physical energy.
In addition to adequate potty breaks and walks, active games such as fetch, tug or training games will not only help your pup’s overall well-being, it will make it easier for them to rest by themselves.

These five tips will help your puppy grow into an adult dog with the skills to be able to hang out freely in your home whether you are there or not. But, your baby dog needs your guidance and help to get to this point. So, as difficult as it can be to separate yourself from your puppy, consider it in their best interest. Failure to help puppies learn to spend time alone can lead to separation issues that are highly stressful for the dog and their family.