Home Alone Checklist

Before leaving the dog home alone please make sure they’ve met these requirements. It’s extremely important that our dogs have been successful and well behaved when supervised before letting them stay home alone.

Independence in the house is earned with consistent and reliable behavior. It is not automatically given because the dog seems old enough or good. Independence should be given in small increments and by following the age appropriate parameters.

If you feel that the dog is struggling with house behaviors please contact your advisor or area coordinator. We’re here to help!

  • The dog is at least 9 months of age.
  • The dog has been recently exercised
  • The dog only has access to one room or area while being left alone
    • The area is clean and free of tempting items like shoes, paper items on the floor, full trashcans, and food items.
  • The dog has easy access to several chew toys
  • The dog is comfortable and relaxed on and off tie down when you leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
  • The dog does not vocalize in any way when left in the crate.
  • The dog is well behaved when given access to several rooms in the house when you’re home, even if you aren’t in the same room. This includes:
    • Staying off the furniture
    • No counter surfing
    • No investigating items like trashcans
    • No stealing or moving objects around other than their toys
  • The dog will come when you call their name when practiced intermittently with freedom in the house.
  • You have practiced seeding the floor at least once a week in the last month, and the dog ignores items other than their toys.

If you can check everything on the checklist, your dog is ready to stay home alone! Please follow these protocols when leaving them home alone:

Setting Up for Success

  • Leave the dog alone for only 5-10 minutes the first time.
  • Leave the dog in one area or room that is clean and free of tempting items.
  • When you leave, do not alert the dog. Simply walk out of the house, take a quick walk around the neighborhood, or run a short errand.
  • When you arrive back home, do not alert the dog. Simply walk in the home, say hi in a calm manner if they are at the door, and continue about your day.

You can continue adding 5 minutes of time when you leave, but keep leaving the dog in the same room to create consistency and continue their success.  After they have been alone for up to two hours you can move to different areas of the home.

Home Alone Twelve Months and Up

As the dog matures and proves trustworthy with their independence you can start testing their house manners.

  • Continue to practice seeding the floor with various objects throughout your home.
  • Once the dog has been proven reliable up to two hours in one room you can offer more of the house that is clean and free of tempting objects for up to two hours.
    • Remember to offer more time in small increments to ensure success.
  • One or two tempting objects can be left in the room while the dog is unsupervised if practice with seeding is continued to be successful. Trashcans with one or two items, a sock, or pieces of paper are good objects to start testing with.
    • Leave the dog in one room unsupervised with a leash attached. Return to the room two minutes later after walking away from the room or leaving the house for a short amount of time.
    • If at any time the dog chooses the forbidden object when you return the dog needs to be interrupted and you need to stop the exercise and return to a safe room free of forbidden objects on the floor.
  • Continue testing the dog unsupervised in different rooms of your home as the dog proves to be trustworthy with the current challenge.
  • When a dog is recalled for formal training the dog should reliably be left in a clean home for up to four hours.  They should also have basic understanding to avoid forbidden objects and display appropriate house behaviors.