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Leaving Poodles Home Alone: 6 Tips All Owners Must Know

Leaving our poodles home alone isn’t something we like doing, but often needs to happen. As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to know how long your poodle can be left alone and the effects it may have.

Whether you have a standard, miniature, or toy poodle, this article has everything you need to know.

Poodles can be left alone but for short periods of time only. Some will handle being alone much better than others, so it’s important to find the sweet spot for your particular poodle.

How Standard, Miniature, & Toy Poodles React to Being Left Alone

Poodles, regardless of their breed variation do not do well when left alone for hours on end. Some breeds are quite capable of staying home alone for several hours at a time, but poodles are not one of them! Let’s run through each breed variation to see how they differ.

1. Standard Poodle

After speaking to many poodle owners it does seem that standard poodles cope a little better at being left alone than miniature or toy poodles. But as I mentioned, even though they can tolerate it, they certainly do not enjoy it.

2. Miniature Poodle

The miniature poodle tends to be a little more social than the standard poodle and requires more attention. This typically makes miniature poodles less capable of staying home alone compared to standard poodles.

3. Toy Poodle

The toy poodle is the smallest variation of the breed and they are by far the worst at dealing with being left alone. These little balls of energy require A LOT of human company and do not tolerate being alone for very long at all.

Is it the size that makes the difference?

Despite the obvious pattern between size and ability to be left alone. It’s likely not due to size. It’s simply a matter of just how much attention and human interaction each breed of poodle craves.

The truth is that even the standard poodle who is more capable of being left alone, still doesn’t want to be alone any more than a toy poodle does, they just happen to deal with it better.

The main takeaway is that being left alone is not ideal, regardless of what kind of poodle you have.

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How Long Can Your Poodle Be Left Alone?

Many owners want to know exactly how many hours their poodle can be left home alone.

It’s different for every poodle. Some poodles will be completely fine for 3-4 hours, and others may only tolerate 45 minutes.

This is why it’s important to spend a while testing and observing your poodle. Let’s explain this below.

How To Know:

The only way to know how long YOUR poodle can tolerate is to carry out a simple test.

Start by leaving your poodle for 1 hour home alone (of course don’t do this unnecessarily, wait until you need to run errands, and do the test then) record how long you’ve been gone and once you return home, check the following:

Observe your poodle’s overall demeanor (calm, sleepy, hyper, nervous, or surprisingly normal?)
Check the state of your house! (destruction, signs of agitation, chewing)
Is there pee on your floor?

If your poodle seems completely unphased, maybe she’s yawning, stretching it seems like she’s just had a nap, then it’s a sign that your poodle is fine being left alone for an hour. 7 Surprising Facts About Dogs Yawning.

Repeat the test, but this time make it 2 hours. When you return home, check exactly the same things you checked before. If all is well, try again for 3 hours and so on.

Once you start seeing your poodle become overly erratic, nervous, or perhaps there’s evidence of destructive behavior, you’ll get a gauge for how long your poodle can tolerate.

This test should be carried out over the course of a week or two for it to be accurate.

As all poodles are different, carrying out a test like this is the only way you will really know how long YOUR poodle can be left alone.

Why Poodles Shouldn’t Be Left Alone Too Much

If you often leave your poodle alone for many hours at a time, it won’t be long before she starts to feel very lonely and frustrated.

And if it continues, it could lead to even worse problems.

Poodles are a very social breed and they love human interaction as well as canine interaction.

So when they don’t have this, they can get very bored and unstimulated which usually leads to bad behavior, obedience issues, stress, and even depression.

Let’s explain two of the biggest issues that may develop from leaving your poodle home alone for too long, too often.

Isolation Distress:

Isolation distress is a condition described when a dog can’t handle spending any time alone without another human or canine.

As soon as you return, any nerves, bad behavior or negative effects will typically disappear. This is often confused for separation anxiety, which I’m about to explain.

Separation Anxiety:

Separation anxiety is more severe than isolation distress, and it’s not the same (despite being frequently mistaken).

Separation anxiety is when your poodle becomes extremely attached to one or two people, and can’t handle being separated from that person for any amount of time.

This even includes walking to another room of the house. Leaving your poodle alone too often can cause separation anxiety to develop and this a condition that can be very hard to fix.


6 Ways To Keep Your Poodle Happy When Home Alone

Even though you are now aware of the negative impacts, it doesn’t change the fact that you still need to go to work. So what can be done?

Fortunately, there are a handful of ways that will help you keep your poodle happy and as relaxed as possible for the times you need to leave the house.

1. Leave quietly and quickly

We love giving our furry friends BIG juicy cuddles before we leave, but it’s best to save them for later.

Making a big scene when you are about to leave simply draws attention to the fact that you are leaving. And this is likely just building up anxiety and nerves in your dog more and more as you keep doing it.

It’s best (although it’s hard) to just leave without drawing attention to yourself or what’s happening. One of the classic triggers of separation anxiety is when you pick up your keys.

For dogs who suffer from anxiety, this is the worst moment of the day. So try your best to leave quietly.

2. If you’re gone for more than 3 hours, get help

This does depend on your poodle’s own personal tolerance, but as soon as you start pushing past the 3-hour mark, it’s already getting a long time for a dog.

It’s time to enlist help from family, friends, and if they aren’t an option, hire a dog sitter or dog walker.

It may be impractical to ask family members or friends to pop around your house every day so getting a dog sitter could be a better option.

Dog sitting/walking is a well-established service nowadays and you can find them easily with a simple Google search.

It seems drastic, but there’s literally nothing better than having someone go round to your house to check up on your poodle, let her outside, talk to her, and play with her.

This will break up the time you are gone for and will make her considerably happier.

This is without a doubt the best thing you can set up for your poodle, other than having yourself there.

3. Give her an unwashed t shirt of yours before you leave

The sense of smell in dogs can be upwards of 10,000 – 100,000 times more powerful than ours, and what they can or can’t smell significantly affects their behavior and how they feel.

As long as your poodle isn’t a known chewer, then your old t-shirt will act as an excellent comforter. To your poodle, It’ll be like you’ve never even left.

This is a very good trick to implement, but you have to keep in mind safety. If you have a puppy who loves to rip things, then this isn’t appropriate. But for calmer adults, this can be a game-changer.

4. Leave the radio, TV or a recording of your voice playing

Noise is another big factor in keeping your poodle calm.

Outside noises like building works, neighbors, and other animals in the distance can all cause a great deal of stress for your poodle. She doesn’t know if she is safe and this can be very agitating.

It’s always recommended to leave dogs in a room that’s protected from external noises.

After that, leave a radio or TV on, or better yet, a recording of your own voice playing. This will help to reduce her overthinking and will keep her calm while you’re not there.

5. Provide interactive toys

Interactive toys or otherwise known as “puzzle” toys are great at keeping dogs entertained for prolonged periods of time. As well as consuming time, they also stimulate the brain to keep them feeling worked and mentally challenged. Much like training exercises do.

When we leave our dogs home alone, boredom is a catalyst for many other negative behaviors.

A good interactive toy will keep boredom at bay and help your pooch feel more relaxed and content.

Interactive toys can come in many different styles and can be easy or even quite challenging and this will no doubt change the amount of time they are useful for.

It’s always good to start with simple interactive toys like this one and work your way up as your poodle becomes more competent.

6. Two way cameras with audio

You may not be into your gadgets, but this one is really cool. As the name implies, these are cameras that you can set up inside your home in a safe place with a screen that you can remotely access from your smartphone, with two-way audio!

Although your poodle can’t exactly speak back to you, at least she will be able to hear your voice. This may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but I’ve actually seen one in use with my friend’s labrador, and it works great.

This camera is highly recommended and very well priced, check it out on Amazon. If you are due a new gadget, make it one of these!

Will Getting Another Dog Solve The Problem?

This is also a very popular question, should you get a second dog to keep your first dog company when left alone?

Although this does technically work to some extent, it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. What you’ll end up with is having TWO dogs who are craving to see their owner instead of just one.

Another dog for your first dog will likely improve their life, as long as it’s a compatible breed, but getting a second dog is a huge commitment and it shouldn’t be considered any less important than when you got your first.

If getting another dog is something you’ve wanted for a while, then absolutely, go for it! Just remember that leaving two dogs alone isn’t better than leaving one dog alone.

Last Thoughts

The only true solution to this issue is to reduce the amount of time your poodle is left without having company.

Whether you’re able to change your work schedule or have friends, family, or a dog sitter help you, the only true way to keep your poodle happy is to keep her company.

Other resources
Psychology Today – How Long To Leave a Dog at Home?
Separation Anxiety | ASPCA


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.