What Dogs Can Be Left Home Alone? 11 Independent Dog Breeds

What dog can be left home alone
What dog can be left home alone

If you work full time, you’ve probably been wondering if you can have a dog that doesn’t mind being left at home while you are at work. 

In the following post, we’ll look at specific dog breeds that don’t mind being left alone. We’ll also highlight a few tips to help your pooch cope when he’s left alone. 

11 Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Home Alone

If you have a full-time job but still want to keep a canine pet, there are a few traits you’ll want to keep in mind when adopting a dog.

For one, the dog breed should be easy to train. This way, he’ll be able to pick up fast on commands and learn how to stay alone without engaging in destructive behavior. 

Overall, dogs are very social animals. But some breeds are more sociable than others. If you plan to hire a pet sitter or send strangers to check on your pup, then you’ll want to adopt one who gets along well with people. 

Another trait you should look for in a dog is independence. Independent dogs won’t mind being left alone for extended periods of time. This means staying away from a breed like Shi Tzu, who thrives on human companionship. 

Here are 11 dog breeds that we recommend for full-time workers that can be left home alone:

1. Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is your best choice. He has a strong sense of smell and makes a good loner pet too. 

2. Beagle

This is the type of breed that will enjoy making new friends with his pet sitter or neighbor who comes to check in on him. Beagles are low-maintenance dogs too so you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on their grooming needs. 

3. German Shepherds

While German Shepherds are independent enough to be left alone, they are working dogs. As such, they like to be kept busy with activities that engage both their minds and bodies. 

4. Chow Chow

With his lion-like appearance, the Chow Chow is an unmistakable dog breed. But what makes him even more loveable is how well he behaves when he’s unsupervised. He does, however, like to exercise. So make time to take him for walks early in the morning or after work. 

5. Jack Russell Terrier

Initially bred to hunt foxes, Jack Russell Terriers are okay with being left alone. Though small in size, they are fearless and very energetic. So be sure to leave him plenty of toys for mental stimulation.

6. Golden Retriever

These dogs are highly trainable, making them excellent candidates for training to be alone. They get along with both kids and other pets, meaning you can get another furry friend to keep him company. 

7. Labrador Retriever

There’s a reason why the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds globally. He’s generally healthier than other breeds, gets along with kids, and is super easy to train. 

8. Miniature Schnauzer

With their playful and social temperament, Miniature Schnauzers make superb additions to any family. As long as they have dozens of toys to play with, they can be left alone for extended periods of time. 

9. Boston Terrier

With their distinct tuxedo-like markings, Boston Terriers are another breed we’d recommend for full-time workers. They have a high level of intelligence so they’ll be easy to train to stay alone. 

10. French Bulldog

If you don’t want a dog that barks incessantly the minute you leave, a French Bulldog is your best bet. Not only are Frenchies less barky, but they also don’t need much exercise, making them a great low-maintenance breed. 

11. Shiba Inu

One trait that makes this dog breed ideal for a full-time worker entails his adaptability. He enjoys walks to parks, just as much he enjoys apartment life. Thus, he will adapt easily to your routine and won’t mind being left alone.

How To Have a Dog and Work Full Time

In an ideal world, pet lovers would take their furry beasts with them wherever they went. But this would not only be tiring but also impractical. 

So should you get a dog if you work full time? Yes, you should if you really want to. 

The only thing you should be mindful of is that dogs are highly sociable. And as such, they don’t like being left alone for long stretches. Thus, you’ll need to make arrangements to ensure they don’t end up spending numerous hours all by themselves. 

Here are a few things you can do to help your dog cope with being left alone:     

Enlist help

If you work a full-time job and still want your pooch to be under good care, it’s in his best interest to enlist professional help. And by this, we mean hiring a qualified pet sitter.

Though it will cost you, the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that your pet is safe far outweighs the cost. As a bonus, this expert will help you with other chores like grooming and vet visits. 

If you can’t find a professional pet sitter, look for a dog daycare nearby. This way, you can drop him off when you leave for work, and pick him up once you’re done running your day’s errands. 

Identify the safest place for your pooch in the house

As much as you love your dog, there are instances where you have no other option but to leave your dog alone. If this is the case, the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CCSPCA) recommends that you start by identifying a secure spot within your home. 

Some dogs feel most secure in their crates, others prefer to roam indoors while others are happiest when they’re outside. 

Establish how long your dog can be left alone

The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out the exact amount of time that you’ll be away. Though some dog breeds don’t mind being left alone, others may start experiencing separation anxiety if they’re left alone for a long stretch of time. 

Turn on the TV

It’s important to point out that this trick might not work for every dog. Some dogs may get startled by the noise from the television.

But if your canine buddy seems to have a favorite show that he likes, you can leave the TV on for a little entertainment.

Leave the curtains and blinds open

If you prefer privacy, then you probably keep your curtains closed when you’re home. But if you’re planning to leave your dog all by himself, consider leaving the curtains and blinds open. This way, he can take a peek outdoors whenever he wants to. 

Stop by during your lunch break

As explained later in the article, it’s not ideal to leave your dog alone for longer than 4 hours. And even then, this doesn’t apply to puppies.

So if your workplace is not that far from your home, you can stop by and check on him during your lunch break. If you’re not available to do so, request your neighbor or hire a pet sitter to monitor him until you get back.

Can a Dog Be Left Alone For 8 Hours?

Yes, most dogs can be left alone for up to 8 hours, but they’d probably prefer to be left for less time.  

So whenever possible, try and reduce the amount of time that you’ll be away from your dog. This is because even the most well-trained dogs develop anxiety if they’re left alone for an extended period. 

This brings us to our next point, “how long is too long to leave a dog alone?” This depends primarily on your dog’s age. 

If you have a puppy, the longest he should be left alone is 2 hours per day. Adult dogs- those that are at least 18 months – can be left alone for 4 to 6 hours per day. Older dogs shouldn’t be left alone for longer than 6 hours. 

Since puppies aren’t accustomed to being alone, they’re the most likely to suffer from separation anxiety if left alone. Besides, most of them need to pee every couple of hours. So you may want to hire a sitter if you’re dealing with a puppy. 

Adult and senior dogs have already adapted to your routine. Hence, they can be left alone for a little longer. That said, this will depend on their health status. If they’re suffering from any condition, make arrangements to have them monitored more frequently. 

How to Train a Puppy to be Alone

Schedule your puppy’s arrival over the weekend

If you’re introducing a puppy to your home for the very first time, you’ll want to schedule it over the weekend. 

This way, you’ll have ample time to help him get settled as well as to train him on how to be alone. Puppies can sleep for up to 20 hours a day, so leaving him alone for about an hour or two won’t be hard. 

While you’re helping him get settled, try not to bring him with you to every place you go. This is to prevent him from getting too attached, as this would pose a challenge when you start training him to stay alone.

Introduce him to his crate

You should begin crate training your puppy as soon as you bring him home. 

The easiest way to do this is to transform his kennel into an inviting and cordial place where he’ll love spending time. 

For instance, if you want to offer him treats, then do it while he’s inside the crate. Similarly, you can stock it with his favorite puzzle toy and prepare a cozy area where he can nap. By doing so, you’re letting him know that the crate is a place to relax and play rather than a confinement zone. 

On that note, you’ll also want to leave the crate’s door open initially. This way, he’ll have the freedom to come and go as he pleases. 

Start the training

Once your pup has gotten a feel of the crate, it’s time to start training him to stay alone. Start by closing the door for short periods at a time, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then gradually lengthen the duration you lock him in. 

As soon as he gets used to having his crate locked up, start leaving him alone for brief periods at a time. Initially, even leaving him for 2 to 5 minutes is okay. 

Then as he gets accustomed to being alone, leave him for longer and monitor his reactions. If you get back and find him sitting calmly in his cage, reward him with praise or a treat. 

Carry on with the training over 3 to 4 days or until he gets used to being alone for an extended period. 

Keep your comings and partings low-key

A grand mistake that pet owners is to make their exit a big deal. If you’re always wearing a sad expression when leaving, he’ll catch on to that. He’ll start perceiving your departure as a sad event. 

What you should do instead is leave him on a positive note. Give him his favorite treat, lock his crate and say, “Catch you later buddy!”

The same applies to when you get back home. You don’t need to make a grand entrance when you see him. 

He will already be excited to see you so don’t take it too far. Greet him calmly as you still have the rest of the evening to show him how much you care. 

Invest in a dog monitor

You don’t have to be physically present to monitor your dog. Thanks to security cameras, it’s now possible to keep an eye on your puppy remotely. 

One that comes highly recommended is the Furbo dog camera. It’s equipped with a 2-way audio technology, allowing you to speak to your dog even when you’re away. If you see your pup chewing on your highly-prized furniture, you can quickly ask him to stop.

Can I Leave my 8 Week Old Puppy Home alone?

It is not advisable to leave very young puppies- those aged 8 to 10 weeks- all by themselves. If you have to leave, then you shouldn’t be away for more than an hour. 

Young puppies just aren’t wired to hold their urine for longer than 60 minutes, and even then, getting to the 1-hour mark is stretching them beyond their ability. 

Sure, you can potty train them. But this doesn’t mean you can leave them for long stretches as they’ll wet their bed. If you have to be away, make arrangements for a pet sitter, neighbor or friend to constantly check on them. 

How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone in a Crate?

If you plan to leave your dog in a crate, then don’t keep him confined for more than four to five hours at a time. 

Even if he’s trained, keeping him confined for too long may cause him to develop separation anxiety. There’s also the risk that he’ll start to resent his kennel, which will make it difficult to leave him inside altogether. 

Can I Let My Dog Roam Free in the House?

It depends on the mannerism of your dog. If your dog is the kind who will start chewing up your shoes and clothes, then you should keep him confined. 

But if he’s well-behaved, then you can allow him some freedom by letting him roam around the house. If you choose to do this though, don’t leave him alone for too long as he may be tempted to engage in destructive behavior. 

How do I know if my dog is lonely?

It’s not always easy to determine how your dog is feeling. So here are some telltale signs 

that indicate your pup is feeling lonely: 

  • If he follows you constantly when you’re at home
  • If his energy levels start waning
  • If he starts licking or biting his own fur
  • If he sleeps longer than usual

How to make my dog happy when home alone

There are a couple of things you can do to make your dog feel comfortable when he’s home alone. 

As we mentioned earlier, you should start by creating a safe place for him. Next, give him tons of toys to keep him entertained. These include chew toy, interactive puzzle games, balls, mats among others. You can also look for external distractions like leaving the radio or TV switched on. 

Lastly, don’t feel guilty splurging on a cozy dog bed. The more comfortable his bed is, the more likely he is to spend some time napping. 

Final Thoughts

Dogs are pack animals, and as such, they’ll always prefer to be in the company of others. However, it’s not always possible to spend time with your canine buddy. If you have a full-time job, you should consider training your pet to be alone. 

If you own a breed that’s particularly people-oriented, consider hiring a dog walker who can take him out for walks and feed him. Or, you can look for a doggy daycare nearby and drop him before you leave. 

For pet owners who have to leave their pups confined, be sure to offer a safe place for them to hang out. Look for an interactive toy and set up a dog camera to keep an eye on him remotely.