How long to leave a puppy

First and foremost taking on a puppy should not be done without serious consideration and only when you are committed to the (many) demands it will put on your life!

Taking a puppy is a huge topic, and there is a wealth of information (from reputable sources), but here I am only looking at time-frames regarding the amount of time a puppy could be left alone during the working day; so that you may get an idea of how many visits you may require.

Puppy ageLength of timeComments
< 8 weeksN/AA puppy should not be at home with you at this age – it should be with its mum.
8 to 10 weeksMax 1 hourYou need to be observing and anticipating when puppy needs to go. Especially after eating, drinking or playing.
10 to 12 weeksMax 2 hoursAs 8 to 10, just with a longer gaps (hopefully).
3 monthsMax 3 hoursGeneral rule of 1 hour per month of age.
4 monthsMax 4 hoursGeneral rule of 1 hour per month of age.
5 monthsMax 4 hoursPotentially up to 5 hours, but that’s quite a long time especially for a youngster. Not ideal. Should comfortably be able to hold for 4 hours.
6 monthsMax 4 hoursSome may hold for 6 hours, but I think that’s an uncomfortable length of time, and they will be doing their best to hold it. I recommend 4 hours for comfort.
> 6 monthsMax 4 hoursThe same advice as for adult dogs. Potentially up to 6 hours, but I would suggest 4 hours is a more reasonable time frame.

Not allowing your puppy to toilet outside when they need to will set back your training as forcing them to have accidents inside confuses the learning.

Making your puppy hold their toilet might be convenient for you, but not only will it be uncomfortable for them it could cause medical issues (water infections).

I find clients with a puppy often get help from friends & family during the early stages, as relying solely on a pet professional would get expensive. Typically initially I might do one of the many visits required, and as time passes this eventually becomes the only visit required – which normally turns in to a walk.

© Waggy Tails of Cheltenham 2014 (excluding ‘max the dog’ logo).

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