Leaving the Puppy Home

You Feel Guilty When You Go to Work and Leave the Puppy Alone
You cannot give up your job for your puppy. Although the puppy may at times become bored, he does not feel bad. You are the one feeling bad. As long as the dog is confined properly so that he cannot get into trouble, has water, toys, and is being properly housebroken or paper trained, he will be fine. There is no reason to feel guilty.

Where to Keep Your Puppy When You're Gone All Day
A house with a fenced-in yard is fine (weather permitting), and so is an outdoor dog run. Inside the home, the laundry room, the kitchen, or a spacious hallway are all suitable areas, provided the dog can be confined with a see-through puppy gate. Do not place your dog, no matter what his age, in a room with a closed door. It is important for him to be able to see another part of the house from his area of confinement. A dog crate is useful for periods of confinement of four hours or less, but not for the entire day. That would be harmful and unkind.

When You Leave Him Alone, You're Worried He Will Destroy Everything
This is an important consideration, and the answer is to avoid giving a puppy (or a new dog) the run of the house. A puppy could be destructive until he's two years old (or longer), and you must place him in an area that is puppy-proof. A hallway, bathroom, kitchen, or a fenced-in yard or outdoor dog run (weather permitting) are suitable for this purpose. All you need is an appropriate method for confining the dog such as a see-through puppy gate or a dog crate.

When You Come Home, the Entire Yard Is Full of Holes
Your dog has a digging problem. Dogs have an instinct to create a den for themselves and consequently dig into soft ground, lawns, snow, sand, or anything they can sink their paws into.

There are various methods of "self-correcting" this problem. If the dog returns to the same spot to dig, as is often the case, place a large rock in the hole and cover it up with dirt. You can also fill the hole with a large quantity of aluminum foil, chicken wire, gravel, crushed pebbles, or combinations of these things. You can even place a large, inflated balloon in the hole. Then cover it up with the original dirt. The idea is to make digging that hole as unpleasant as possible.

When You Come Home, Your Neighbors Tell You He Wouldn't Stop Crying
Ask your neighbors when the dog was crying, under what circumstances he was crying, and where he was at the time. The answers to those questions will help you find the solution to the problem.

When You Come Home, You Find Housebreaking Accidents in the House
Do not get angry at the puppy because he has housebreaking accidents. When a puppy is not yet housebroken, or is only partially housebroken, he should not have the run of the entire house. The dog must be confined to one area with the help of a see-through puppy gate or a dog crate. (Never confine a dog to a crate for more than four hours, two or three for a puppy.) If your puppy is very young, he will not be able to control himself at this time, which means he must be walked more frequently to allow him to eliminate. You must weigh the dog's age against the housebreaking schedule he is on.

When You Come Home, You Find Him Sleeping on Your Bed
The dog should not have access to your bed. The dog should be confined in a room that has no bed or furniture in it. Wherever you confine the dog, make him comfortable with a dog bed of his own, a blanket, a towel, or even a carpet remnant.

When You Come Home and Find That He Did Something Wrong, He Will Not Come to You
This is always the result when inexperienced dog owners yell at their dogs for misbehaving. Punishing the dog for his misbehavior or even yelling "Bad dog" makes the animal nervous about approaching you. No dog is going to be happy to run to someone who is going to yell at him. We believe you cannot correct a dog unless you catch him in the act.

What to Do When You Cannot Be at Home All Day to Take Him Out
If you do not have a fenced-in yard, you will have to hire a dog walker or ask a neighbor, friend, or relative to take the dog out in the middle of the day. Young dogs, especially those being housebroken, must have a midday walk to relieve themselves and get a bit of exercise.

The Best Place to Keep Your Puppy When You're Not Home All Day
Ideally, the best places are areas that can be made puppy-proof, such as the kitchen, the laundry room, a long hallway, even a bathroom, providing the area is closed off with a see-through puppy gate. If the weather permits, a fenced-in yard or dog run is also suitable. Never keep a dog in a dog crate for more than four hours, two or three for a puppy.

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Revised Edition by Mordecai Siegal and Matthew Margolis.
Copyright (c) 1992, 2002 by Mordecai Siegal and Matthew Margolis.
Reprinted by permission of Fireside, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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