Whether your Westie is a puppy or an adult, you may wonder whether you can leave it home alone. Leaving a dog home alone can be a big step, especially if it is a puppy. You want to make sure they adjust to the change in a healthy way.
You can leave a Westie home alone. When a Westie is properly trained, they can be left home alone for several hours. However, it is important to gradually introduce them to the experience of being alone so that they do not develop separation anxiety.
If you want to leave your Westie home alone, you just need to know the best way to introduce the experience to them. Luckily, Westies are intelligent and can adapt to a new normal. Read on to discover all you need to know about leaving your Westie home alone.
Can a Westie Be Left Home Alone?
I know it can be difficult to leave your Westie home alone. You hate to walk out the door with it looking at you, wondering when you will return. We have all been there. However, that does not mean it cannot be done. A Westie can be left home alone if it is taught that it is okay. However, if it has not been taught properly, it can become difficult.
|Westies That Have Been Taught:||Westies That Have Not Been Taught:|
|A trained Westie will sleep when you are gone.||An untrained Westie may exhibit signs of separation anxiety.|
|A trained Westie will play with its toys.||An untrained Westie may chew furniture and scratch carpets and flooring.|
|A trained adult Westie will last up to 6 hours, like most other adult dogs.||An untrained Westie may urinate in the house.|
|A trained Westie will go to their designated area in the house.||An untrained Westie will be restless and possibly scared and may try to escape the house.|
Understanding what happens when a Westie is not used to being left unattended is important because all these negative scenarios can be avoided.
I know it may seem daunting when we look at the list of things that could happen when a Westie is not ready to be left home alone. You may worry about whether you can properly train them. However, I know that it is possible because Westies are intelligent and many are left unattended every day.
The trick? We have to gradually ease them into this new routine. When Westies are puppies, they are overly attached to us. They want to be with us all the time, and we make that time possible because they are puppies. However, when they are adults, this behavior will not work.
Separation Anxiety and Westies
Separation anxiety is something that happens to many dogs all over the world, and it happens to Westies too. Of course, we want to think that it will not happen to our dogs. The reality, however, is that Westies are just as susceptible to separation anxiety as any other dog.
I know that the inclination is to think that you have done something “wrong.” However, it is natural for your Westie puppy to love you and want to be with you always.
Separation anxiety can come about when you begin leaving them on their own. If we do not take the right pathway forward, it can be difficult. This is why we should never leave them home alone for an entire day right away.
It is important to monitor our Westies for separation anxiety, especially when we first decide to try and leave them home alone. Some signs of separation anxiety include:
- Barking and panting excessively when you are about to leave the house.
- Peeing on places that you normally sit or spend time.
- When you return home, they cling to you.
I should mention that Westies generally handle separation anxiety better than other breeds of dogs. Some breeds can exhibit a long list of symptoms. However, Westies can exhibit a lot of them, too.
What to Do If Your Westie Has Separation Anxiety
If a Westie begins exhibiting separation anxiety, we need to take care of it as quickly as we can. The reason? If separation anxiety goes unchecked, it can get worse.
This will only continue to get worse as Westies get older.
There are several things you can do to avoid or lessen separation anxiety in Westies.
- Take them for walks to help exert built-up energy.
- Gradually leave them alone in small increments.
- Do not spoil your Westie too much, as this leads to dependence.
- Make sure to reward them only when they do something good.
- Make sure to discipline them when they do something bad.
When a Westie’s separation anxiety is not dealt with, it can be near impossible to “correct” it when they are full-grown adults.
It is natural, however, for a Westie to have some anxiety when we leave them for the first time. This does not mean they have separation anxiety. However, we should still take the same measures to avoid that anxiety from developing further.
Training a Westie to Be Alone
Luckily, we can train our Westies to be home alone. It is best to start this process early so that they do not carry with them bad habits into adulthood.
We need to consider the steps necessary to train them to be alone. We cannot simply leave them alone without teaching them first that it is okay if we leave the house.
- Teach them to be away from you even when you are home. This first step should be done while you are still at home. For example, train them to go to their bed or cage for a short period. This will get them used to being away from you without you having to leave the house.
- Train your Westie to “stay.” This classic command is a perfect way to train your Westie to be alone. Why? If we train them to stay, they will know that it is okay when we walk away from them. When they successfully follow our commands, we need to reward them.
- Gradually move out of the house. Each time you order them to “stay,” you should move farther away until you are outside the door of the house. Eventually, you can close the door behind you.
It is an easy process, but it does take some time to get a Westie completely comfortable with us leaving them alone.
If a Westie is okay for about an hour without us home, they will most likely fare well for longer periods without issue.
Preparing a Westie to Be Alone
Once we have trained our Westies to be okay with us leaving, it is important to take a few measures to ensure they are comfortable while we are away.
- Set up a pillow or cage. This is their designated area in the house. We should get them used to these areas while we are in the house with them.
- Put on the T.V. or radio. Background noise will distract a Westie when we are not at home. It is best to not leave the house completely silent as this may increase their anxiety.
- Take them for a walk. Before we leave the house, if we can, we should take them for a walk or play with them in the yard. This will help get any extra energy out of their system.
- Leave quickly. If we linger too long, it can increase their wanting us to stay.
If we take these precautionary steps, there will be nothing to worry about when we leave the house and our Westie is home alone. I know it may seem like a lot of work, but once we begin the process, it goes quickly.
A Westie can be left home alone when it has been trained to do so. If a Westie has not been properly trained to be alone, they may begin showing signs of separation anxiety. They may try to escape, chew furniture, or worse.
However, it is not difficult to train a Westie to be home alone, especially if the training begins when they are still relatively young.