Few people can afford to spend 24 hours a day with their dog. School, work, personal life, and other obligations eventually take you away from time with your pup.
Being separated from your dog is inevitable. While it can be mentally taxing for you as a pet parent, it is also just as mentally and even physically taxing for your dog to be away from you, especially if they aren’t used to you being away. Some dogs handle separations easier than others, and others could develop serious stress, anxiety, and depression from such a change.
Pitbulls are seen as tough dogs that can withstand any situation, but in reality, they are very emotional and quickly develop a deep connection to things and people. In this article, we explore whether or not leaving your pitbull alone is a good idea and, if you need to, how you can do it most effectively.
How Long Is Too Long?
It depends on how old your dog is, what condition the dog is in while you are away, and how well the dog can manage itself while you are away.
One of the main concerns pet parents will have when it comes to leaving their dog is bathroom breaks. Leaving your dog alone for even a few hours means it doesn’t have anyone to take it outside for a bathroom break.
So if your dog is still toilet training, you can only leave it as long as it can control its bladder. You’ll also want to monitor their water intake and make sure you’re not leaving during feeding times so you can give them appropriate meal portions at the right time.
Additionally, remember that Pitbulls are large dogs that need regular exercise and activity to keep their body and mind fit. Boredom is something you certainly don’t want your Pitbull to succumb to. A bored dog can bark, whine, and even tear up your furniture. None of these situations are desirable, so have a solution to address the dogs’ needs.
It is best to start training your dog early if you go to school or work. This means getting them used to living at home while you aren’t around. The sooner your dog understands that being alone at home is normal and that you will always return, the easier it will be to leave the dog alone for longer periods.
If your dog is just a pup, it is recommended that you don’t leave it alone for more than 2 hours at a time. At a young age, the dog needs someone around for its mental and emotional needs.
Your dog is not yet independent or mature, so you must be around more often. Pups and young dogs are also much more prone to accidents, so you need to be there to monitor them.
With training from a young age, your dog should be comfortable with you being away for 8 hours per day as an adult and four consecutive hours as a pup. If you need to be away for even longer or are traveling, you’ll have to get a pet sitter.
Remember, dogs not only need to be fed, exercised, and bathed, but they also crave human interaction, so they can only be left alone for a certain time.
Problems with Leaving Your Pit Bull Alone
Leaving your Pitbull alone starts with training your dog to understand that being alone is nothing to be worried about, and you’ll have to show them that you’ll always come back. This is challenging as this dog breed tends to be very attached to its owners and craves human interaction.
Having people present in the household can be exceptionally comforting for a Pitbull, given that the dog knows and is comfortable with these people.
There are a few major concerns with leaving pit bulls alone. These include:
- Separation anxiety
- Destructive behavior
- Uncontrolled defecation and urination
In extreme cases where the dog is left alone for extended periods, the stress, depression, and anxiety can have long-term effects on the dog’s behavior, psychology, and even physical health. The dog can develop physical ailments due to the mental stress that it is put through when being alone.
Managing Your Pit Bull When You Aren’t Available
There are three main approaches to leaving your dog alone at home, and they are related to the dog’s age and how long you plan on leaving the dog.
- Young Pups – Small Intervals
When the pup is young, you don’t want to leave the dog alone for 30 minutes when the pup is young. This is mainly to ensure the dog isn’t doing something it shouldn’t be doing. During this time, you should start crate training and leave your dog in the crate while unavailable.
- Young Dogs – Medium Intervals
With slightly older dogs (8 months and above), you can consider leaving them alone for 2-4 hours. A dog of this age will not need to use the restroom, eat or drink for a few hours.
Moreover, you can give the dog toys like bones and other chewables to keep the dogs interested for a few hours while you are gone. If your dog still has the potential for accidents, leaving them in a crate is a good option, but not for long periods.
- Adult dogs – Long intervals
Adult dogs (older than one year) can be left alone for a full day, given they have food and water available. At this age, your dog should be quite good with potty training, and they should have learned basic house rules. Again, you don’t want to disappear for 8 hours straight suddenly, but gradually increase the time you are away so your dog gets used to the process.
If you need to be away from the dog for more than 8 hours, get a pet sitter or leave the dog at a pet daycare facility where professional dog trainers can care for your pooch. Remember that you will still need to give the dog some time for exercise after you return from a full day of work or school.
As a rule of thumb, the more affectionate a dog is, the more severely it will be impacted by separation anxiety. Pitbulls are one of the most loving breeds of dogs, and they love to show (and receive) affection. As a pet parent, you are the leader of the pack that the dog looks up to, and without you, they don’t have the structure and discipline they crave.
Before leaving your dog alone, ensure it knows what to do while you are away and is familiar with being alone. Create a positive environment for the dog, so it understands that your leaving is not bad and you’ll always be back.
Lastly, note that a tired dog is an obedient dog. So giving your dog lots of exercise and playtime will prevent it from becoming destructive with your belongings out of boredom and pent-up energy.