Can Dobermans be left alone
Every dog, even of the same breed, is an individual. Whether your particular Doberman can be left alone will depend on their personality and character, age, health, and whether they are used to be left alone.
Dobermans can be left home alone as long as they are well trained and have everything they need. Even though they love human company they do tolerate being left alone better than many dog breeds.
Dobermans are often referred to as a velcro breed. This means that they want to be near you whenever possible. Leaving your Doberman home alone is possible, but it will require planning and effort especially initially.
What to do with a Doberman while at work
If you think your Doberman can’t be left alone or isn’t really to be home alone while you are at work, there are many other options you can consider. Here are potential things you can do with your Doberman while at work or out for extended periods of time.
Taking your dog to doggie daycare may be a good option if your dog is creating problems being left home alone such as barking all day or destroying everything. They may also suit dogs that suffer from some form of separation stress or anxiety.
To learn more about doggie daycare as an option for your Doberman see here.
Leave your Doberman with friends or family
If you have any friends or family you can leave your dog or puppy with while you are at work it would be ideal.
Hire a pet minder
There are many good pet sitting services that can either visit or stay with your dog. Alternatively, some pet sitters will take your dog into their own homes.
Take your Doberman to work
More and more workplaces and offices are becoming pet-friendly and will allow you to take your dog to work. Many employers are adopting this policy due to the many benefits having pets at work have shown to have.
If you are lucky enough to work in a company that has a pet-friendly policy it would be a good option.
Mix of options
Perhaps a mixture of several options would be best for your dog and you. You may choose to take your dog to doggie daycare a couple of days a week and leave them at home on the other days. Doggie daycare is fun for your dog but if some dogs going every day may become overwhelming.
Or you could leave your dog home alone and arrange for a pet minder or someone you know to pop in your a visit and spend time with them. If you work for a company with a pet-friendly policy doesn’t mean you have to take your dog every day. Maybe you can take your Doberman to work some days and take them to doggie daycare or leave them at home on other days.
You can choose any combination of options that are best suited for your dog and yourself.
How long can a Doberman be left home alone
If you work full time or have obligations that require you to be away from the home for extended periods you may be concerned about how long you can leave your Doberman. This will depend upon the individual dog.
For a Doberman that is well trained, you have provided everything they need and is used to being home alone, can be left home alone for up to 8 to 10 hours. Longer than this would not be ideal.
A Doberman that has severe separation anxiety or behavior issues may not be able to be left at all. See above for other options to consider.
How long can you leave a Doberman puppy home alone
The needs of a Doberman puppy are different from those of an adult dog. Ideally, the longest amount of time you should leave a Doberman puppy is up to 4 hours.
A Doberman puppy will need to go to the toilet more often and require more meals in a day. They also need more attention and social contact. This is crucial for them to form a bond and connection with you.
They have recently left their mother and siblings and everything is new to them. It is an important time in their development.
If you are using a crate to confine your Doberman puppy, the length of time will depend on their age.
As a general guideline here are the recommended lengths of time for crate confinement.
8-10 weeks up to 1 hour
11-12 weeks up to 2 hours
13-16 weeks up to 3 hours
Over 4 months up to 4 hours
Do Dobermans hate being left alone
Every Doberman is an individual but in general, they don’t really enjoy being home alone. However, it is something they can learn to be accepting of and not be stressed about.
They obviously never be like teenagers who can’t wait for the parents to leave you they can get up to no good.
Separation anxiety in Dobermans
Although most Dobermans can adapt to being home alone, some can suffer from anxiety and stress. Dobermans attach closely to their owners and like the company of people. Separation anxiety is a general term used to describe this. However, true separation anxiety is a condition when the dog is in a state of extreme panic and anxiety. There is a high risk of them hurting themselves in this situation.
Although this is not that common it is a condition that needs to be dealt with by a professional dog behaviorist.
What most dogs that don’t want to be left alone suffer from is separation stress or isolation anxiety or stress. A separation issue is that the dog doesn’t want to be away from a certain person or group of people. An isolation issue is more a case of them not wanting to be alone. They will be happy with the company of any other person.
To learn more about anxiety in dogs left alone see here.
Confinement for a Doberman left home alone
One of the first things to take into consideration when leaving your Doberman home alone is where they will be kept. If your Doberman is well behaved and you truth them not to get up to no good you can give them the run of the house. Otherwise, you may want to restrict them to a small area. Options for confining your Doberman include;
Crate confinement (Puppy only)
Crating a puppy is like a den for them and can make them feel safe. A crate is only really suitable for a short period of time. If you are going to be out for an hour or two putting your Doberman puppy in a crate is fine. I don’t recommend leaving them in a crate for more than four hours at the most.
Playpen (Puppy only)
Using a playpen is a good way of keeping your dog confined while giving them more space to play. You can even set up their crate in the playpen or attach to the outside of the puppy pen so they have a safe area if they are feeling anxious. For more information on confining a dog in a playpen see here.
You can confine your Doberman to a small pet-safe room. The best places for a confinement area are the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or an empty spare room. It doesn’t have to be a large room as they will feel more secure in a smaller space if they have any type of separation stress.
Garage or basement
A garage or basement can be a good space to confine your dog when home alone, but ensure that you remove any potential hazards that may be toxic or cause harm to your dog.
Outside in yard
If you have a fully fenced secure backyard you can keep your Doberman outside while at work. There are some factors you must take into consideration if leaving your Doberman outside. We will look at this more below.
I don’t recommend chaining your Doberman up. This is not fair on them and can have negative psychological effects on them. Dogs that are chained up can become aggressive and territorial.
Leaving a Doberman outside when home alone
If you are planning to leave your Doberman outside while at work or away from the home there are some things to take into consideration. These include:-
It is crucial to ensure that your dog is not able to escape your property. A bored and frustrated dog can very resourceful at finding ways to get themselves out. This may include jumping or climbing the fence, digging under the fence or even breaking the fence.
If they do manage to make an escape it is important that your dog is microchipped and registered with the local governing body that oversees animal management. It is also a good idea to use a GPS collar so locating your dog is much easier.
If your dog is trying to dig under the fence to escape you can find a solution to this problem here.
This is more of a concern than many people realize. Unfortunately, there are some horrible people out there and dogs are often stolen as a bait dog for dog fighting. Some dogs are stolen simply because someone likes your particular breed of dog to keep themselves or to sell for money. Take precautions to ensure your property is secure such as putting a padlock on your gates to stop access to the property.
Other behavior issues
A bored, frustrated or lonely dog can act up which can cause you trouble with your neighbors or the local dog ranger. This can include nuisance barking, charging the fence at people and other dogs passing by or as mentioned above escaping.
Whether or not it is a good idea to leave your dog outside while you are at work will be dependant on the weather. Dobermans are not the best breed to leave outside in either hot or cool conditions.
Dobermans have a short thin coat that is not the best for coping with the cold. They also are a very lean dog with low body fat. Body fat gives insulation against the cold.
Dobermans are also not best suited for hot weather. Their dark-colored coat absorbs heat and being well-muscled they can become dehydrated quickly.
In cold climates consider a heating pad for their kennel or provide them with a warm coat.
You will need to plan how you are going to keep your dog confined to your property. Do you have a fully fenced section? Ideally, it is best to keep your dog in the backyard. This is to prevent your dog barking and fence charging at people who are passing by.
If your section is not fully fenced there are a number of other options to keep your dog in. This may include keeping them in a dog run with a kennel, confining them to the garage or using an electric dog fence system.
For a guide to keeping a dog outside while at work see here.
What your Doberman will need when home alone
It is important to ensure that you provide everything thing your Doberman will need while being left alone. You will also need to provide ways to keep your Doberman entertained. See below for ways to entertain a Doberman home alone.
Provide your dog with an area that they can go to sleep or feel safe and secure if they are anxious. This ideally will be their kennel or shelter if they are to be kept outside. If they are inside when home alone this can be a corner of the room or a crate with the door left open. In this comfort zone should be their bed and blankets and favorite toys.
For a dog that is outside, you need to provide for your dog shelter where they can go to sleep and get protection from the weather. This may be access to a garage or a kennel. The ideal size for a dog kennel is high enough for them to be able to stand and wide enough for them to be able to turn around comfortably. If a kennel is too big a dog is less likely to use it as it doesn’t give them a feeling of being snug and secure.
If confining your dog to the garage make sure they don’t have access to areas in your garage where there may be toxic chemicals for your car such as antifreeze, gasoline, or sharp tools that could seriously injure or kill your dog. Also, be aware of the temperature in your garage gets high on hot days.
Ensure that you leave food for your dog especially if you are not going to be home at their mealtime. It is a good idea to have food available even if you are likely to be back in time just in case you are held up. Dogs like routine and structure to make them feel secure. It is best not to just leave their food in a bowl for them to eat whenever they want. Most dogs will just eat it all up at the beginning of the day even if they are full. Many dogs simply don’t know when to stop until all the food is gone. If you have a puppy they are probably being feed three or four times a day.
Free feeding is generally not a good practice to get your dog into for a number of reasons
- it puts your dog at risk of becoming overweight.
- free feeding can make it difficult to monitor your dog’s appetite and eating habits.
- having access to food whenever they want can lead to resource guarding and food aggressive behavior.
- if they are eating just as much as they want they are likely to produce more pooh.
It is best to use an automatic dog feeder with a timer so their meals can be available at the right time.
View automatic dog feeders on Amazon
It is important to ensure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water at all times. A standard bowl can accidentally be spilled or run dry.
This is a problem as you don’t want your dog not to have access to water all day leaving them dehydrated, especially in hot weather. It is important to use a non-spill water bowl for your dog. My personal recommendation and the bowl I use for my own dog is the Torus water bowl.
See Torus water bowls on Amazon
The Torus bowl stores up to 2L of water in its reservoir walls and filters it to remove any contaminants. Each time your puppy takes a drink, replacement water automatically flows from the storage area into the drinking well. The enclosed water storage area also aids to keep the water cool. There is no power or batteries required.
If you are leaving a puppy home alone for eight or more hours while you are a work they will need to go toilet. An adult dog can hold its bladder for up to 24 hours, but this is not possible for a young puppy. The best option for a toilet area is to use either puppy pads or an artificial grass puppy toilet.
Grass pad potties may be a good option if your puppy goes to the bathroom outside sometimes, or if they will be doing so in the future. These are trays containing a layer of removable fake turf. Since they resemble the grass your puppy relieves themselves on outdoors, it helps reinforce the appropriate potty surface. They are usually on a plastic tray base that does also help with misses and spillage.
See options for grass pad potties on Amazon
Puppy pads are absorbent and usually lined to protect your floors. But they do have some shortcomings. The underside lining makes them slide across surfaces however some types do come with adhesive tape on the bottom to prevent this. They are also easily shredded which may be a fun game for your puppy but does defeat the purpose. They lack raised edges to prevent misses and spillover. You can get a plastic tray to put them on much like the fake grass potties.
See options for puppy pads on Amazon
Training a Doberman to be left alone
All dogs should be able to be alone some of the time. Ideally, it should be something you teach your dog from a puppy. However, you can teach an older dog to like being alone or at least tolerate it.
Start by leaving your dog or puppy in their confined area such as a selected room for between 30 minutes and an hour each day. They will gradually learn how to be alone and also come to the understanding that you always return.
Make this time alone pleasant for them by ensuring they have everything they need. This will include food, water, and toys. Toys that can occupy them such as a Kong for dogs or a puzzle toy are best. Alternatively, give them a chew toy.
Practice leaving your Doberman alone when you are there. Even when you are home you can practice alone time for your dog. Put them if their confinement space such as a selected room and get on with doing your own thing without them around.
Keep leaving and returning low key. For your dog to be calm and comfortable about being home alone they must see that it is not a big deal. When leaving a simple “bye and be good” is sufficient. Making a big fuss with lots of kisses and cuddles will send your dog the wrong message. Dogs are masters at reading our energy and emotions.
Monitoring your Doberman while home alone
If your Doberman is going to be alone for an extended period of time it is a good idea to check up on them during the day. There are two ways you can do this.
Arrange to have a neighbor, friend or family member pop in for a visit to check how your Doberman is going and to give them some company. Even if you are unable to have somebody check up on your dog it is often a good idea to speak to your neighbors and give them a contact number if there are any concerns.
If you are able to pop in yourself during your lunch break your Doberman will be pleased to see you. Alternatively, there are many pet minding services that can provide this service for you.
Monitor them with a pet camera
With a pet camera, you can check in with your dog and even have direct interaction with them. Many pet cameras have two communication so you can speak to your dog. They also have a microphone and can send notifications to your phone if your dog is barking. Other dog cameras can provide even more interaction including giving your dog a treat. For the best pet camera for dogs see here.
Entertaining a Doberman while home alone
Provide ambient noise
Leave a radio on to provide background noise for your Doberman. This not only provides them company but also helps to mask outside noises that may make them excited or scared such as car horns, noisy neighbors and even thunder.
You can even get music that is designed to be calming and soothing for dogs. Alternatively, leave the television on. Some dogs really do enjoy watching television especially if there are dogs for them to watch. If your dog is interested in watching a bit of TV consider leaving it on for them. Maybe a good dog movie or Animal Planet may make good viewing for them.
Dobermans are smart and need to have their mind challenged. Interactive puzzle toys are one of the best ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment for your dog.
These generally involve your dog having to work out how to get a treat or food stuffed inside out and can keep your dog busy for a long time. For the best puzzle toys for dogs see here.
Dog enrichment box
To make an enrichment box you simply need a larger cardboard box, some smaller boxes, empty toilet rolls, and newspaper. Put treats the toilet rolls, smaller boxes or wrap in newspaper and fill the box up. You can also put in a chew toy or stuffed Kong so they have something to settle done with when they are finished.
You may have a mess of shredded paper to clean up. But what are a few minutes of tidying for hours of fun and enrichment for your dog?
Watch the video to see how to make an enrichment box for your Doberman.
A final tip for leaving a Doberman home alone
Exercise, both physical and mental is essential for a dog to burn off pent-up energy and to prevent boredom. If your schedule allows take them for a walk before leaving.
This will also give them the opportunity to toilet before being shut up inside for the day. Alternatively, play a game of fetch or similar to help tire them a little before you leave.
Even if you don’t have time to exercise your dog before leaving for the day it is still important that they do get their required exercise. For a guide to exercise for a Doberman see here.
Also, Dobermans love your attention and spending time together. If your Doberman does spend time home alone, make sure you give them lots of love, cuddles and play when with them.
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