As social animals, Labradoodles do not like being left at home by themselves. However, we know life happens, and your Doodle can’t accompany you everywhere, regardless of our deepest desires. If you need to, then yes, you can leave your Labradoodle at home for up to 8 hours.
Let’s talk about how to safely leave your Labradoodle at home, including for how long, and when it might not be best.
How Long Can Labradoodles Hold Their Bladder?
For the first 6 months of a puppy’s life, you really have to be near them almost 24/7. They can’t hold their pee for as long as adult dogs, so you’ll need to stay close by so they can frequently relieve themselves. Plus, you don’t want to miss out on these pivotal first months because they grow up quickly and form much of their personality during this time. Puppies younger than 6 months old need to go potty every 2 to 4 hours, depending on how old they are.
After they’re 6 months old, you can gradually leave them for a little bit longer. By their first birthday, you can generally leave a Labradoodle in their crate or at home alone for up to 8 hours. However, you should never leave them alone for longer than 8 hours, and it shouldn’t be a daily occurrence. As your Labradoodle gains senior status, they may need to go potty more frequently than younger adults since they often become incontinent.
It’s Not Just About Their Bladder
Companion dogs such as the Labradoodle may suffer from separation anxiety if they’re left alone for too long, and this behavior often develops as early as puppyhood. You’ll want to make sure you never leave them for longer than you should, or it may increase their risk of developing anxiety since you’ve essentially broken their trust.
It should also be said that although you can leave them for up to 8 hours at a time, you shouldn’t come home and then promptly leave again. Your Labradoodle needs at least 8 hours a day with you, besides sleeping. They’re an energetic breed that would like to spend their days swimming, running, or playing fetch with you. Don’t worry, though. They’ll be happy to indulge you with a nap or a snuggle once the adventures are over.
The 7 Tips for Leaving Your Labradoodle at Home Safely
Adopting a puppy is a little like bringing home a newborn baby. You’ll need to make the environment as safe as possible, and for the first stage of their life, you have to be with them almost constantly. As they grow up, you can gradually begin to leave them for a little bit longer until they’re fully grown. Of course, with children, the eventual goal is for them to leave the house altogether, whereas your dog stays with you for their entire lives and can never be left alone for more than 8 hours.
Here are some things to help your pup’s transition into adulthood go smoothly.
1. Make their situation as safe and comfortable as possible.
We recommend crate-training puppies. After they’re fully housebroken, it’s up to you whether you want them to stay in a crate while you’re away or not. Regardless, their quarters should be as cozy as possible. Crates should be cushioned with a dog bed or a blanket. If you decide to leave your dog in the house, make sure there’s nothing hazardous that they could get into while you’re away, such as food or electrical cords. You might want to create a small section of your house where you know they’ll be safe, and preferably a space that’s not carpeted to avoid messes. Plus, it makes accidents easier to find later if they’re contained.
2. Start with small amounts of time.
Even if your puppy is old enough to be left for a couple hours, you should always start training them for a shorter amount of time. Start by leaving them in the crate or in the house alone for 15 minutes, and then gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable.
3. Always take them outside within an hour before going away.
Aim to take them outside within the hour, but not within 15 minutes of the time you need to leave. You want to avoid creating associations with your imminent departure. Otherwise, your intelligent Labradoodle may learn that when it’s time for them to go, you’re going too.
4. Give them access to water throughout the day.
If they’ll be out of their crate when you leave, be sure to leave them a small dish of water. It’s important for your dog to always have access to fresh water so that they don’t become dehydrated, especially during the summer months when there’s an increased risk of heat stroke. Even so, you probably don’t want to give them a water bowl in the crate. They might knock it over, which would make them very uncomfortable until you return.
5. Engage them with vigorous exercise before you leave.
If possible, try to arrange your schedule where their most energetic daily exercise happens before you leave. A tired Labradoodle is much more likely to sleep away the time that you’re gone, as opposed to a bored Doodle who might use their misguided energy to get into mischief.
6. Consider asking a neighbor, friend, or family member to check on them.
As a dog parent, it’s difficult to commute to a full-time job while caring for your dog. Your Labradoodle shouldn’t be left for longer than 8 hours, and unfortunately the average workday is much longer than an 8 hour shift once you add in lunch breaks, traffic delays, and any stops you might have to make on your way home. You might consider hiring a professional dog walker to come relieve your dog in the middle of the day if your friends and family aren’t able to help.
7. Enroll them in doggy daycare.
Labradoodles generally crave the company of other people and dogs, so they might enjoy going to doggy daycare. It gives them a safe outlet for their energy and lets them socialize during the long hours of the day when you’re not there. Plus, there’s usually mealtimes and nap times just like daycare for toddlers so you can rest assured that their basic needs are met. Doggy daycare can be expensive, but some places offer discounts, such as if you buy multiple days at once or are enrolling more than one dog.
Labradoodles can be left at home, but not for very long. Puppies can only be left for 2 to 4 hours, and even adult Labradoodles should never be left alone for more than 8 hours. These happy dogs thrive in the company of people and other animals and are likely to develop separation anxiety if their social desires aren’t satisfied. If you work long shifts, you might consider asking family or friends if they’d mind stopping by in the middle of the day to let them relieve themselves, or inquire about doggy daycare in your community.