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Can Dobermans Be Left Alone? Separation Anxiety Explained

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

a brown doberman with a red dog collar

Whether dogs can be left alone and for how long is a common question for new or prospective dog parents. Suppose you’re planning on getting a Doberman but know you’ll have to be out of the house most days due to work or other commitments. In that case, you’ll be pleased to learn that Dobermans can be left alone for a certain amount of time as long as they have everything they need to be comfortable while you’re away.

That said, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to how long your Doberman can be left alone as this depends on their age and personality. Stay tuned to find out more.

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How Long Can I Leave a Doberman Alone For?

This depends on whether your Doberman is a puppy, adult, or senior dog, but it’s also important to consider your dog’s character and healthcare needs when deciding how long is the maximum.

When you leave your dog alone, make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable and mentally stimulated while you’re away. If you’ll be gone for a longer period of time, consider asking someone to check in on your dog, like a family member, friend, neighbor, or pet sitter.

If you’re looking for a rough estimate for a healthy dog, according to the American Kennel Club, the guidelines for leaving a dog alone are as follows:

Up to 10 weeks: 1 hour
10-12 weeks: 2 hours
3 months: 3 hours
4 months: 4 hours
5 months: 5 hours
6 months: 6 hours
Over 6 months: No more than 6–8 hours

What If My Doberman Has Separation Anxiety?

Every dog is an individual and has unique needs. While some have no problem being left alone for a few hours and make themselves quite at home, others suffer from separation anxiety, which can range from mild to severe.

Signs of separation anxiety include howling, whining, or barking when you leave, becoming distressed when they see you pick up your keys or put on your shoes, and peeing or pooping inside the house. Affected dogs may also pant, pace, and/or drool or engage in destructive behaviors like chewing or scratching furniture or objects around your home.

Any dog can suffer from separation anxiety—adopted dogs in particular. If your Doberman is adopted, past trauma like being abandoned may have left lasting emotional scars which make it difficult for them to spend time away from you. The good news is that you can work on separation anxiety, ideally with a professional behaviorist.

doberman pinscher dog sitting with owner on the living room floor
Image Credit: gemphoto, Shutterstock

Treating Separation Anxiety

For more severe cases of separation anxiety, treatment often involves gradually desensitizing the dog to being left alone by desensitizing them to certain triggers at first, like picking up your keys or putting on your coat. If your dog shows signs of distress when you do these things, this is a good place to start.

You can try putting your coat or shoes on and picking up your keys but not leaving. Sit on the sofa and watch some TV or read a book instead. Repeat this several times per day until your dog is no longer anxious about these triggers.

When you reach this point, you can start leaving your dog in another room for short periods with the door closed, then coming back. Start by doing this for only a few seconds at a time and gradually increasing the length of time you’re out of the room.

For moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety, it’s always best to work with a professional if possible, to make sure your dog is getting a management plan tailored to them. Also, get your dog checked by a vet to make sure a medical issue isn’t behind the behavior. In some cases, vets prescribe medication to help relax dogs with this kind of problem.

Here are some extra tips for dogs with separation anxiety:
  • Act normally and don’t make a big fuss about your dog when you leave and come back.
  • Offer a toy stuffed with treats (Kongs are great for this) to keep your dog busy while you’re away.
  • Leave something that smells like you to comfort your dog.

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Final Thoughts

So, adult Dobermans can be left alone during the day for a period of no more than 6–8 hours. Puppies have greater needs so have a lower threshold for the length of time they can be alone. Senior Dobermans may have health or bathroom needs that affect how long they can be alone.

The key is to remember that every dog has individual needs, so base your decision on the length of time your Doberman can spend alone on this rather than just going by rough guidelines.

Featured Image Credit: Tanika, Pexels

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