Cockapoos are highly sociable animals, like many other dog breeds and crossbreeds. They love being around you and when you are home. When you and anyone else in your household aren’t at home, it can make them a little upset. Some cockapoos don’t handle being left alone, as well as others.
If you know, you will always be leaving your dog alone; you should ask yourself some serious questions about whether your home lifestyle is compatible with having a dog. Sometimes you can’t avoid leaving your cockapoo alone for a few hours.
There is a lot of debate about how long you can leave your dog alone, and we’ve discussed the subject in greater detail here, mainly focusing on the cockapoo puppy years. The general rule we tend to follow here at CockapooHQ is the Dog’s Trust’s suggestion of no more than 4 hours.
When you really can’t avoid leaving your dog alone, how can you stop it from stressing your dog out? To give you a helping hand in this area, we have put together our top 10 tips for leaving your dog alone for short periods of time.
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Ten Tips For Leaving Your Dog At Home
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Build Up The Time
The worst thing you could do is throw your cockapoo into the deep end by leaving them for a long time on their own. If they are not used to it, it could have devastating effects on their mental health, and they might howl the place down, which would be unpleasant for any neighbours you have and suffer from separation anxiety.
It is best to build up the time by leaving your dog alone for a relatively short time—even 10 minutes from when they are a cockapoo puppy. This way, you can listen to see if they are barking.
Each time, reward your cockapoo and give him lots of love when you return to show a positive side to it all. As you slowly and gradually extend the time, they will be able to adjust better.
As we’ve already discussed, we wouldn’t extend the time you leave your cockapoo alone any longer than 4 hours, though some people do for 6 hours.
Hire a Dog Walker
A few friends of ours have a dog walker that comes in once a day at lunchtime. The dog walker takes the dog out for about an hour, which helps because their dog is not left for long periods and helps with their separation anxiety.
One thing that might work for you is crate training your cockapoo. Your dog might feel comfortable being left home alone if they are in its own safe space.
Have a Family Member Check-In
If you can’t afford a dog walker, but need to go out for a long time, then see if a family member can come in and check on them.
Leave Some Background Sounds On (TV, radio etc.)
When you do leave your cockapoo alone, please don’t leave them in quietness. Remember, cockapoos are very friendly animals and will feel more secure in a home that doesn’t feel empty. Leave the television or the radio on in the background. It will give them something to focus their attention on.
If you have neighbours directly next door at either or both sides of your property and the walls are not especially thick, will their noises bother your dog? Leaving the television or radio will also help if they do.
Install a Camera
When you leave your house, you can never tell what your dog gets up to when they are alone. You can make guesses and predictions, but why not find out if you are concerned about their welfare? You can do that by installing a camera, setting it to record, and watching to see if they make any escape attempts.
While in the past you would have to wait until you got home to watch back the footage, it is now very easy to set up a camera so that it records and streams the footage in real-time. There are apps you can use to access and watch the footage wherever you are.
That way, you can identify if there are any problems when you leave your cockapoo alone.
Will They Have Free Roam? If They Will, Take Appropriate Precautions
Different cockapoo and dog owners have different approaches to leaving their cockapoo home alone. While some restrict their cockapoo’s access to their house, to say, the kitchen or a small section of the home, other owners prefer to allow the freedom to roam around the house in the hope it will give them a greater choice of places to sit and nap.
If you take the latter approach to leaving your dog alone and want him or her not to feel restricted or trapped, you need to take the appropriate safety measures. That includes:
Make sure all wires and cables are tidied away and can’t be accessed to avoid your dog chewing them, as this can be one of the separation-related behaviours.
Putting other items, like clothes, shoes, bags, and gadgets, away for the same reason.
Each individual dog is different, Luna can be trusted to be left alone in the lounge and has never chewed anything or caused any issues, but other dogs might be different.
Do You Have a Routine In Place? If Not, You Should
Dogs are creatures of habit and respond well to training, boundaries, and having a solid routine. Therefore, it is a good idea to try and stick to doing the same thing each time you leave your dog alone. Perhaps you could have them sit on a chair or their bed and give them a treat on the provision that they stay sitting as you walk out the door.
You will have to spend some time training them to do that, but the effort will pay off when they feel less stressed when you leave the house.
Dogs who do not have a strict routine are more likely to be jittery and restless while you are out if left alone.
What Room Should You Leave Them In?
This totally depends on your house and if they can be trusted. For us, it works that Luna is left in the living room. Most of the time, she loves to sleep on the sofa and lies there looking a little bored. She does look towards the window or front door most of the time, but I think most dogs do that anyway.
Answer The Call of Nature Before You Go
This is a basic tip and something you should already know to do, but it is worth highlighting, nonetheless. Not only will it reduce the chances of your cockapoo having ‘accidents’ while they are home alone, but by making sure they go to the toilet before you leave, you could help ease and settle them. Like humans, animals don’t handle needing the toilet and being unable to go. So do your bit to help lower the chances of that. Make it part of the routine of leaving the house before you use the tip outlined above to let them out for the toilet.
Fill a Robust and Durable Toy (like a Kong) Full of Their Favourite Treats
One way to keep their mind occupied while you are not there to give your cockapoo attention is by getting a Kong or their favourite sturdy and durable toy and filling it with their favourite treats and snacks. They’ll be too busy trying to get the tasty goodies kept inside to notice you are gone and are less likely to feel stressed and anxious.
Hide Their Favourite Treats Around The House/Room
Whether they have free roam of the place or a restricted area, you should also think about laying treats for your dog to find. Be careful not to hide them anywhere you don’t want their paws, claws and teeth ripping or damaging as they try to rummage for the goodies. Like the above tip, this will help keep them so preoccupied with their mission to follow their nose that they’ll barely notice you are gone.
Leave Them Their Favourite Toy
Does your cockapoo have a favourite toy? You know, a special one they snuggle up to or like to fight with and tussle? Make sure you leave that out where they can get to, as the familiarity of the toy will help them deal better with the unfamiliarity of you not being there in the house. The kong below is one of my dog’s favourite toys. We fill it full of treats before she goes out, and she loves to spend time hitting this.
- Instinctual Needs: The KONG Classic red rubber toy...
Make Sure They Have Access to Fresh Water
This is more about their physical well-being than your dog’s mental health, but you should always ensure they have access to fresh and clean water. Even if it’s not a particularly hot day, your dog needs to have the opportunity to keep him or herself hydrated. You wouldn’t want to be left alone for the day without access to any drinks, would you?
Should dogs have alone time?
I believe all dogs should have some time alone as there will be times, such as emergencies, when you need to leave them. Cockapoos don’t cope as well as many other dogs, but it’s important to get them used to it.
There you have it, folks, some great tips for leaving your cockapoo alone. There’s no guarantee that all of the above will work with your dog, as it will depend significantly on their personality and the dynamic you have with them. However, we hope one or two calm your dog or take the edge off their nerves enough that you don’t feel you can have a life outside your home without your dog in tow.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.