With Dobermans being a highly social and sensitive breed, I receive many questions from owners asking me how long their Doberman be left alone, if at all!
Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear many different answers. This article simplifies everything and gives you safe guidelines to ensure your Doberman remains happy and stress-free.
All Dobies are different though, and individual tolerances can vary a lot, so it’s important to keep this in mind. When it comes to puppies and seniors, the advice changes a lot, which we will cover below.
How Long Can Dobermans Be Left Alone?
In short, most adult Dobermans can be left alone for 4-5 hours without issues.
However, most Dobermans will get bored, frustrated, and stressed when you get to the 6-7 hour mark.
After speaking to many owners who have tested their Dobie’s tolerance, the 6-7 hour mark seemed to be the turning point at which most Dobermans would start getting stressed or causing trouble.
Whenever owners would come home after about 5 hours the house was intact and their Doberman seemed calm and content. But from 6 hours onwards, their Doberman looked visibly agitated, nervous and there may have been evidence of destructive behavior (chewing, ripping, scratching).
What About Doberman Puppies?
Quick answer: Puppies at 8 weeks old should not be left alone at all for one month until they settle in their new home. Puppies under 1-year-old should not be left alone for more than 2-3 hours.
When it comes to puppies the advice changes a lot. To start with, pups that have just come home at 8 weeks old shouldn’t be left alone at all for at least another month while they settle into their new environment. This can be a daunting time for pups when they leave their mother and siblings, so we should be there at all times.
After this, puppies up until 1-year-old shouldn’t really be left alone for more than 2-3 hours at a time. Puppies just don’t have the mental tolerance to be alone this long, and with their extra energy are more prone to getting bored and frustrated quickly.
What About Older Dobermans?
Quick answer: Dobermans over 8 years old shouldn’t be left for more than 3-4 hours at a time. The older they get the less time they should spend alone. Health issues will also reduce their tolerance.
Senior Dobermans (over 8 years old) shouldn’t be left alone as long as adults either. While they do have a greater tolerance than puppies, older dogs need more emotional support and company in their golden years.
Most elderly Dobermans should be okay for about 3-4 hours at a time. And the older your Doberman gets, the likelihood of this time tolerance decreasing.
When it comes to older dogs, you may not come home to a path of destruction, but it’s more about preserving their mental and emotional states into their old age. Being alone is stressful for dogs, and this is something elder dogs can definitely do without!
Interesting: 10 Signs of Doberman Affection (Must Know)
Why Dobermans Don’t Like Being Left Alone
As well as being excellent working dogs, Dobermans are also highly social and crave having plenty of interaction with their owners and family.
Dogs that have high social desires often have low tolerances to being left alone. While a few breeds can go several hours without a fuss, social breeds like Dobermans are not like this.
Dobermans develop strong bonds with their owners and family and expect to be around them for most of the day.
And let’s not forget that dogs are still in-tune with their ancestral behaviors and instincts. Dogs never lived alone in the wild, they were always in packs. Being alone in the wild often had serious consequences… Still to this day, despite domestication, most breeds are not comfortable being alone for hours on end.
Negative Effects When Dobermans Are Left Alone
Now we know that Dobies aren’t really suited to being left alone, let’s explain the effects of too much isolation.
Why Dobermans shouldn’t be left alone too often:
- Increased stress & anxiety
- Separation anxiety
- Increased aloofness & aggression
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Decreased quality of life
Those are some pretty serious consequences from being left alone too much.
Of course, all Dobermans are different, and it’s not guaranteed that all of these negative side effects will happen every time… But just keep in mind, these are the potential outcomes of too much isolation. Even if one of these were to happen, it could cause owners some real problems…
After knowing this, it’s easy to see why it’s essential to minimize overall time left alone. Let’s move on to additional ways you can keep your Dobie happy and content for when they are left alone.
Keeping Your Doberman Calm & Happy When Home Alone
Let’s run through some helpful tips that will keep your Doberman calm, content, and stimulated for the duration you are out. Although these aren’t a cure to the overall problem, they should certainly make it easier for every Dobie.
1. Early morning exercise
I raised by eyebrows too when my friend told me about this! Even if it means waking up earlier than usual, prioritizing your Doberman’s exercise before leaving is HUGE. By providing 45 minutes of running around first thing, you’re expending a good chunk of pent up energy that most dogs have every morning.
Making this change alone will be a big help for your Doberman, and will more than likely result in them being able to nap for at least some of the hours you are out.
2. Create a dedicated space
Whether it’s a specific area of a room, or even their crate, making a little area that your Doberman is super comfortable in can be another game-changer.
Dogs are denning animals, meaning they love to create small dens for them to hide in, sleep in, reside in, and feel safe in. We can do the same thing at home for our canine buddies, and this allows them to feel extra relaxed and content.
After deciding whether this will be their crate, bed, or special blanket, work on spending extra time in that location with your Doberman. Play with them there, give them treats, praise, and new toys there. It’s all about building positive associations with one particular place. After a few weeks of this, your Dobie will naturally feel a heightened sense of comfort and safety in this area, making it a perfect place for them to rest when alone.
3. Background noise
It’s true that leaving the TV, music, or radio on helps dogs when they’re alone. The reason these works isn’t because dogs particularly love Beyonce or the sound of your local radio host, but because it drowns out the noises coming from outside.
For those that live in slightly noisier areas, outside noise from cars and passers-by will keep your Doberman on high alert and prevent them from being able to rest. Drowning out these noises will definitely help here.
4. Puzzle toys
Puzzle toys are an extra toy to add to the collection. Puzzle toys like the KONG and the StarMark (our favorite) are great at keeping clever dogs entertained for about 30-45 minutes.
The StarMark is essentially a hollow ball that can be filled with treats. There’s a small adjustable opening that allows a treat to fall out when your Dobie rolls the ball in the correct direction. We find that this works better than the KONG.
While it won’t keep your Doberman entertained for hours, it will certainly keep them stimulated more so than without it.
5. Unwashed t shirt comforter
If your Doberman does not have a bad chewing habit or destructive tendencies, then this tip will work great.
Leaving an unwashed t-shirt in their bed will provide your Dobie with a strong supply of your scent. As a dog’s sense of smell is so incredibly powerful, some experts believe that by being able to smell you so easily, it almost tricks dogs into thinking that you are still there at home…
Whether or not this is true has not been proven. But regardless, having a fresh supply of your scent will help your Dobie feel more relaxed and calm.
Could Dog Sitters Work With Dobermans?
While we always recommend dog sitting as a great option, it could be difficult to do this successfully with a Doberman…
Unfortunately, there is a public perception that Dobermans are “scary”, and although we know these are friendly giants, many others are extremely wary of them. This could prove difficult to get a client.
However, there are many fantastic services out there all across the country.
If something like this is going to work with your Dobie, it’ll need to be someone who has had a lot of experience with large dogs, isn’t afraid, and is willing to start walking your Doberman alongside you, so they get familiar with one another.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to invite any random dog sitter in and leave them alone with your Dobie on day one… Yikes.
While this option could be a little hard to figure out in the beginning, if you can make it work, then you’re laughing! There is absolutely nothing better than to have a dog sitter come and step in for an hour or two, to break up the time you are gone.
I know it’s a stretch, but it’s definitely worth considering.
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