Rottweilers love being around you and can get lonely when you leave. This is why many Rottweiler owners wonder whether they can actually leave their Rottweiler alone. In this article, you will discover why they can and how best to manage their time alone.
A Rottweiler can be left alone for up to six hours at a time, provided they been exercised and have access to food, water and entertainment. This prevents destructive behaviour. If leaving a Rottweiler for an 8-hour working day, you should consider a dog-door for toileting and some form of company.
Below are a number of ways you can work around leaving your Rottweiler alone, including what works best. Keep in mind that the rules may change depending on the age and history of your Rottie.
Can a Rottweiler be Left Alone?
A Rottweiler can be left alone. Although your Rottie will absolutely love it, you should not feel pressured into taking him or her everywhere you go. In fact, that is impossible for most working individuals.
How Long Can You Leave a Rottweiler Alone?
Rottweilers can be left for up to six hours before becoming too lonely and destructive. If you are working an 8-hour day, you can find ways to make this work further down.
Leaving Your Rottweiler Alone: The Basics
Whenever you leave your Rottweiler home alone, you should always ensure they are comfortable and not left with too much energy to burn. Below are basic requirements for leaving your Rottweiler for longer than an hour.
Depending on when you are leaving, make sure your Rottweiler has been fed before you leave, or that you will be back before their mealtime.
You must, at the very least, provide easy access to water. Without water, your Rottweiler may become stressed, dehydrated or overheat. One large bowl is usually enough, but two bowls will make sure your furry companion doesn't run out.
One key to preventing destructive behaviour is exercise. Exercising your Rottie before you leave will tire them out and release endorphins (happy hormones). This will keep them calm and ensure a large portion of their time alone is spent resting.
If you are leaving in the morning, consider waking up 30 minutes earlier to take your Rottweiler on a walk. Alternatively, you can also play a 15-minute game of fetch. Running will tire your Rottie out quicker before you need to leave (click here for more information).
Rottweilers are one of the most intelligent dog-breeds (in the top-10) and can therefore become bored and lonely when left alone. They are also a large breed that will not be content sleeping all day.
For this reason, it is important to provide entertainment for your Rottweiler. Chew toys can help relieve stress and keep your Rottweiler occupied while you are gone. Slow-release treat toys can also be handy to both entertain and feed your Rottie.
Can a Rottweiler be Left Alone for 8 Hours?
If you are leaving your Rottweiler for more than six hours (ie. for an 8-hour working day) you need to put more measures in place to protect your Rottweiler's physical and mental health, and also to protect your property.
Without these measures, you may experience the following issues.
- Destruction of furniture, doors or walls
- Escaping (jumping the fence)
- Toileting inside the house
- Development of separation anxiety (see below)
- Antisocial behaviour (biting, growling, barking)
These are all things that can be avoided if you carefully plan your time away. Below are a number of ways you can help prevent these issues and behaviours when leaving your Rottweiler for eight hours. You do not have to do all of them, but they are each worth considering.
Install a Dog-Door
Assuming you usually leave your Rottweiler inside during the day, installing a dog-door will allow your Rottie to travel freely between inside and outside the house. This will give them more space to explore and allow them to address their toileting needs when required.
Don't Make a Fuss
You should always say goodbye when you leave and hello when you return, but don't make a big fuss when leaving your Rottweiler alone. This will raise their stress levels. If you remain calm, your Rottie will learn that this is normal. If your Rottweiler does not calm down after your initial hello, ignore them until they do.
Add More Entertainment
Being left for a longer period means your Rottweiler might get bored of the games you have left them. Provide a variety of toys and activities for your Rottweiler. Below are a few examples of things you can try.
- Keep toys around the house/garden
- Have a slow-release treat ball/puzzle
- Add more plants and trees to the garden for sniffing. This will also attract more wildlife.
- Fill up a kids pool to play in (just consider limiting where in the house they can access when wet)
Reinforce Your Fence
Make sure your fence can contain your Rottweiler. Usually a 6ft fence will work, but there are ways Rottweilers can scale a fence this high. If your Rottie is outside during this long time away and becomes bored, they will have plenty of time to practice jumping the fence. Take a look here at how Rottweilers handle different fence heights.
Organise a Midday Visit
If you have the opportunity, simply visit your Rottweiler in your lunch break to check on them and play a quick game of fetch. This will break up the time alone and give your Rottie their fix of attention and exercise. If you can't you may be able to organise a neighbour or friend to stop by.
Consider Another Dog
Rottweilers, as with any dog, are pack animals. This means that they like to live in packs and thrive in a social environment. If your Rottweiler is alone while you sleep and again when you go to work, the majority of their life will be spent alone.
Rottweilers are good with other dogs (even small breeds), provided they are socialised correctly and have been trained in good behaviour. Click here to learn more about Rottweilers and other dogs.
Once you have one dog, getting another is not double the work. Although there is still more effort involved, the added company and the effect on your Rottweiler's mental health will be well worth it.
Leaving a Rottweiler Puppy Alone
Leaving a Rottweiler puppy alone is very different to leaving an adult Rottweiler. Puppies cannot hold their bladder as long as adult dogs and will therefore need some way of going to the toilet. They are also more destructive because they haven't learned what they can and cannot chew.
How Long Can I Leave My Rottweiler Puppy Alone?
Puppies under 10 weeks old should not be left for more than one hour. However, after that, puppies can be left for one hour per month of age. For example, a 4-month old puppy can be left for four hours.
Similar to above, puppies can hold their bladder for one hour per month of age. Therefore, a 2-month old puppy will need to urinate at least once every two hours. By 12 months, your puppy should be able to hold their bladder as long as an adult dog because the bladder should be around adult-size.
Because your puppy's toileting needs coincide with how long they can be left alone, you should be able to let your puppy outside to relieve themselves. If you are leaving your puppy for longer (not recommended), toilet training becomes a harder and longer process and you should expect more accidents.
Puppies chew everything. This is part of their development in discovering the world and also relieves sore gums from teething. Leaving a puppy for extended periods of time will allow them to chew things they shouldn't, without correction. You need to be there to teach your Rottweiler puppy what they can and cannot bite (for more information, click here).
A Rottweiler puppy needs to be socialised with other dogs, people and environments in order to become a well-adjusted adult. Without proper socialisation, your Rottweiler may grow up to be aggressive towards other animals or develop other antisocial behaviours. The critical time for socialising a puppy is between 3 and 16 weeks of age.
Leaving an Older Rottweiler Alone
You can leave your older Rottweiler alone for as long as any adult Rottweiler. Your older Rottweiler will even sleep more and will be well-established in the rules of the home. However, you need to consider incontinence and reduced mobility.
The main difference is that they cannot hold their bladders (or bowels) for two long. This can result in accidents inside the house, which can then lead to desensitisation to mess. An older Rottweiler that cannot stop messing inside the house will start to learn that this is the new normal.
Some older Rottweilers will joint-related issues. In fact, conditions such as hip dysplasia are quite common in a Rottweiler. This means that your older furry friend may reach a point where walking to the water bowl or going up a set of stairs is too painful. When leaving an older Rottweiler on their own, make sure everything they need is close by.
Leaving a Rescued Rottweiler Alone
Rescued Rottweilers often have a history of trauma. This may be from any of the following experiences.
- Physical abuse
- Being kept on a chain
- Home tail-docking
- Dog fights
These traumas take a long time to overcome and, as a result, your rescued Rottweiler may feel anxious being left alone. Someone I know had a rescue dog that was so anxious when she left for work that it began hurting itself. This dog needed to be nursed back to a position of trust and contentment.
If you have adopted, or are planning to adopt, a rescue Rottweiler, you should not leave them alone until you know they can handle it. This is one of the many challenges of separation anxiety in a dog.
Helping your Rottweiler Stay Home Alone
You can help your rescued Rottweiler adjust to being alone by introducing the concept slowly. This involves starting with short trips away and gradually lengthening them.
I would start with a maximum of 10 minutes out of the house to start. If he or she copes well being alone, increase this time to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, try 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour.
Make sure not to go too fast through these steps. Your Rottie should handle being left alone for a set time a number of times before moving to a longer timeframe. Try moving on after five successful attempts. If they struggling with the next step, shorten the time again.
One thing that may help your own peace of mind is installing a surveillance system in your home or backyard so you can keep an eye on your Rottie. If they are not coping, you can always return home sooner.