Can German Shepherds be left alone - GSD Colony

Can German Shepherds Actually Be Left Alone?

Owing a German Shepherd dog isn't easy at all. They're a high-energy dog breed that requires a lot of work and attention. Also, this dog breed is very loyal, and there can easily become attracted to the pack (family).

So, does this mean that German Shepherds can't be alone? The simple answer to this question is no, they can be left alone.

German Shepherds can be left alone for 4 to 6 hours in one period maximum. The time that your German Shepherd can spend alone depends on their age and how well they are trained. For example, some senior German Shepherds can be left alone for up to 8 hours, while puppies shouldn't be left alone for more than 1-2 hours.

No matter how badly you're trying to spend all your time with your German Shepherd, one day you'll need to leave him alone at home, and we encourage you to train your German Shepherd to be alone for a long period of time.

Too much one-on-one time with your German Shepherd may cause separation anxiety or an unhealthy reliance.

Related blog post: German Shepherd Separation Anxiety

But before you decide to leave your German Shepherd alone, make sure that they're properly trained for something like that, and that their environment is "ready" for something like this.

Exercise before leave alone your German Shepherd

In this article, you'll discover all steps that you to follow in order to leave your German Shepherd alone safely.

How much time German Shepherds can spend alone?

The time which German Shepherds can spend alone is determined based on their age, health condition, and how well they're trained. Well-trained, adult German Shepherds can be left alone for up to 8 hours, without any problem. If you have a puppy, or your dog has some health issues, you want to check them more frequently, once every 1-2 hours.

Below you can find a table with some general recommendations for how long you can leave your German Shepherd dog alone.

Age of the GSD Time spent alone
Puppies 2 hours a day is the limit
Adolescent 4 - 6 hours a day
Adult 4-8 hours
Senior 4-8 hours 

 

German Shepherd Puppies

German Shepherd puppies should not be left alone for extended periods of time. While adult German Shepherds can typically handle 4-6 hours or up to 8 hours depending on their health and training, puppies should not be left alone for more than 2 hours at a time. This is because puppies are still developing and need attention, guidance, and supervision.

Adolescent German Shepherds

Adolescent German Shepherds are in the stage between puppyhood and adulthood. During this time, they are quickly growing and developing both physically and mentally. It's important to remember that during this stage, your dog is still learning and understanding its environment. They need plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, social interaction, and training to ensure they reach full

At this stage, your German Shepherd should not be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time. Even if they have been well-trained and are healthy, adolescent German Shepherds still need supervision and attention while they are developing.

Also, don't forget that this dog breed has plenty of energy that you need to burn out. If you don't do that, and they're alone for most of the day, they can easily become destructive and make a huge mess.

Adult German Shepherds

Adult German Shepherds typically reach maturity between the ages of 18 and 24 months. During this time, they become more independent but still need guidance, exercise, and training.

At this point in their lives, adult German Shepherds are physically and emotionally mature enough to be left alone for long periods of time (4-6 hours) without any issues. However, if your adult German Shepherd is left alone for long periods of time frequently, it may start to experience anxiety or boredom.

Senior German Shepherds

Senior German Shepherds are dogs that are seven years old or older. These dogs typically have a slower metabolism and less energy than younger German Shepherds.

When it comes to leaving senior German Shepherds alone, they are similar to adults and should not be left alone for more than 4-6 hours at a time. However, due to their age and slower metabolism, you may want to check on them more frequently during the day to make sure that they are doing okay.

How to leave your German Shepherd alone? (Pro Tips)

Leaving your German Shepherd alone can be a difficult and emotional process, but with proper preparation and training, it can be done safely.

After hundreds of hours of researching and studying, we found these tips most effective! Here are some tips for leaving your German Shepherd dog home alone:

  1. Follow a schedule
  2. Leave the TV on
  3. Hire a dog walker
  4. Hire a dog sitter
  5. Enroll them in training classes
  6. Play classical music
  7. Crate train your dog
  8. Get another dog
  9. Use smart home technology
  10. Make a min-day visit home
  11. Ask someone to check your dog
  12. Tire your dog before you left him alone
  13. Don't make saying goodbye special

Follow a schedule

German Shepherds thrive on routine and structure because it helps them feel secure and know what to expect. Having a regular schedule for meals, walks, playtime and bedtime will help keep your dog calm and content. It also allows you to better plan out your own activities.

Related blog post: The Best Things to do With Your German Shepherd Dog

Schedule Routine for German Shepherds

The daily routine is essential for leaving your dog alone! So make sure to plan out a routine and stick to it. This will help your German Shepherd feel more comfortable when left home alone.

Leave the TV on

German Shepherds may not always be entertained by what’s on the television, but they are certainly interested in it. Many studies have shown that dogs can recognize and respond to certain images, sounds, and movements that appear on the TV screen.

Dogs may not understand the plot of a movie, but they will often respond to familiar situations or other animals they see on television. Leaving the TV on can be a great way to keep your dog entertained and delighted when you’re away.

Also, if you leave your TV on, your German Shepherd will feel less anxious.

Hire a dog walker

Hiring a dog walker can be beneficial for German Shepherds, especially if they are left alone for extended periods of time. Many owners find that having an extra set of eyes and feet to take their pets out during the day is helpful in providing them with more exercise and stimulation.

Dog walkers can also help break up the monotony of the day and make sure your German Shepherd is getting enough physical activity.

Physical activity helps keep them physically fit and healthy, as well as mentally stimulated. Regular physical activity can help reduce a dog’s risk of developing obesity and other health conditions. It also releases endorphins that help boost their mood and reduce stress. Additionally, exercise helps to prevent anxiety in German Shepherds that are prone to being alone for long periods of time.

Hire a dog sitter

A dog sitter can be an invaluable asset to help owners maintain a healthy and happy relationship with their German Shepherd. Not only can they provide companionship and playtime, but they can also assist with potty training and basic obedience commands.

Dog sitters can also provide safety measures such as making sure your German Shepherd is never left alone outside in the yard and that he or she is always supervised.

Having a dog sitter will also help your German Shepherd become more comfortable with being left alone for long periods of time. If you plan to leave your pup alone for extended periods of time, a dog sitter may be the best option for them.

Enroll them in training classes

Sending your German Shepherd to training classes is a great idea if you want them to learn basic obedience and potty training while they are home alone. Training classes can provide an opportunity for socialization with other dogs, as well as important commands such as sit, stay, and come.

Additionally, an experienced trainer can help you identify any behavioral issues and provide tips on how to address them. Training classes can also help your German Shepherd become more comfortable with being left alone, as they will learn that you are not always present and it’s okay to be home alone.

Training Class for German Shepherds

These training classes can give your pup the skills they need to stay safe and entertained while you are away.

Play classic music

Studies have shown that playing classical music can reduce a dog's cortisol levels and help them relax in stressful situations. This type of music has been found to promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and even improve overall well-being in many dogs.

In addition to reducing cortisol levels, classical music can be soothing to German Shepherds that are home alone. It can help them feel less anxious and provide mental stimulation, as well as entertainment.

You may also want to consider playing calming pet CDs which are specifically designed to reduce stress in dogs. These tracks combine the effects of music with natural sounds that have been proven to have a calming effect on animals.

Crate train your dog

Crate training is an important and beneficial tool for dogs that are home alone. Having a crate can provide your pup with its own personal space to relax in while they wait for you to return. It can also provide them with a sense of security, as well as a safe place to retreat if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

When crate training your German Shepherd, it’s important to make the experience as positive and rewarding as possible.

Get another dog

This maybe isn't the best solution if you're a new dog owner, but if you believe that you can handle two German Shepherds at the same time, this can be a good solution for you.

The anxiety your German Shepherd has from being separated from you can be reduced by getting another dog that gets along with you and keeps them busy while you're away.

Before making a decision to get another dog, ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough time for two dogs?
  • Do I have enough financial resources for two dogs?
  • What is the deep reason why I'm getting a new dog?

Use smart home technology

Smart home monitoring systems can help owners have peace of mind when their German Shepherds are home alone. With video and audio surveillance technology, they can keep an eye on their pup while they’re away. Smart home monitoring systems can allow pet owners to check in on their furry friends from anywhere at any time with the use of a smartphone.

These systems can also provide useful information such as barking alerts, activity levels, and other useful data to help owners better understand their pup’s behavior.

Camera for German Shepherds

Also, with the help of smart bowlers, you can always be sure that your German Shepherd has access to clean water and food.

Make a min-day visit home

If you're lucky enough to work near your home, and you have enough time, maybe it's a good idea to check your German Shepherd during your break.

As soon as you get home, play with your German Shepherd some games that will tire him fast. One of the best games in situations like this is fetch and tug-of-war games.

Ask someone to check your dog

If you have good neighbors, or you have a good relative who lives near you, you can ask them to check on your German Shepherd while you are away.

Just make sure that you and your German Shepherd have trust in that person. You don't want to send a person who doesn't know your dog!

Tire your dog before you left him alone

A good way to tire out a German Shepherd quickly is by going on long walks, jogs, or runs. This will not only tire them out, but it will also help them burn off some of their excess energy and reduce their stress levels.

In addition to physical exercise, mentally stimulating activities such as interactive toys can also help keep your pup entertained while you’re away.

Suggestion: check our collection of Interactive Toys for German Shepherds

If you sometimes don't have enough energy or time to tire your German Shepherd, you can follow these steps easily and super fast tire your dog in just 5 minutes!


Don't make saying goodbye special

Dramatizing the goodbye is not a great practice. Also, don't make a big scene when you come back home. It is better to leave and come back in a quiet manner.

If you want your German Shepherd to feel good when you’re away from home, it would be better to ignore your dog for a little while before your leaving.

We know that this sound a little bit cruel, but if you always make a big scene when you leave, this can by the time become a trigger for separation anxiety, because your dog will know that you leave him.

Is it cruel to leave a German Shepherd alone?

It is generally not recommended to leave your German Shepherd at home alone for long periods of time, as this can be cruel and cause distress to your pet. German Shepherds are social creatures that need companionship and stimulation, so being left on their own for extended periods of time can cause them to become anxious and depressed.

However, leaving your German Shepherd alone for a short period of time will not have any negative consequences on your dog.

Should I feel guilty for leaving my German Shepherd alone at home?

No, you should not feel guilty for leaving your dog at home. While it is true that German Shepherds are social creatures who thrive in the company of humans and other dogs, they are also incredibly resilient and adaptable to spending time alone.

With the right strategies and mentality, you can ensure that your German Shepherd is not only safe and secure when you’re away from home, but also happy.

Many dog owners feel guilty when they leave their dog home alone, or they feel guilty because they "didn't spend enough time with their dog".

If your German Shepherd has enough exercise during the day (1-3 hours), and he has a good diet and their own "safe place", there is no reason to feel guilty.

Do German Shepherds get sad when left alone?

German Shepherds can get sad when left alone for long periods of time. Dogs are social animals that need companionship in order to feel safe and secure. When they are left alone without regular interaction, they can become anxious and depressed. This is especially true for German Shepherds, who have a natural instinct to be around their owners and other people.

But if you are confident that your German Shepherd is getting enough exercise and companionship, then you should not worry about that!

Sad German Shepherd dog

With the right amount of exercise, your German Shepherd will collapse and sleep until you back home!

As soon as you get back home, he will be ready to play again with you!

German Shepherds puppies can sleep 15 to 20 hours per day! An adult German Shepherd sleeps on average 12 to 14 hours of the day, and senior German Shepherds usually sleep 14-16 hours a day.

We are saying this in order to better understand that you have enough time for everything! If you think that you don't have enough time, you need a better organization and daily routine.

With a daily routine, your life, and the life of your German Shepherd will be much easier!

How long can a German Shepherd be in a cage?

Cages can be a great way to confine dogs when they are left alone, but it is important to know how long they can safely and comfortably stay in one. Generally, it is not recommended to keep a German Shepherd in a cage longer than 4-8 hours at a time.

It is also essential that the cage has enough room for the dog to move and turn around comfortably. If the cage is too small, this could lead to unnecessary stress and discomfort for your pup. Some of the benefits of crate training are:

Standard benefits:

  • Dogs feel safe and secure in a crate.
  • Crates can help with potty training.
  • Crates can help with separation anxiety.

Emotional benefits:

  • Crate training can help create a stronger bond between dog and owner.
  • Crates can become a positive part of your dog's daily routine.
  • The presence of the crate can help create feelings of comfort and security for your dog.

Crate training is not only beneficial to you, but it is also an invaluable tool in helping keep your German Shepherd happy and content when left alone at home.

What can happen if you leave your German Shepherd dog alone for too long?

Leaving a German Shepherd alone for too long can have some serious consequences. Dogs are social animals who need companionship and stimulation, so being left on their own for extended periods of time can cause them to become anxious and depressed.

If left alone for too long, German Shepherds can develop behavioral issues such as destructive chewing, excessive barking, and even separation anxiety. They may also become escape artists, trying to find a way out of the house or yard in order to get your attention. Additionally, they can start to view people as potential threats, which could lead to aggression toward strangers.

Lastly, it is important to remember that German Shepherds are a working breed and need physical and mental stimulation on a regular basis. If they are not given enough exercise, this can lead to pent-up energy and possibly even more serious behavioral issues. By providing your German Shepherd with the proper love, attention, and exercise, you will ensure that he or she is happy and healthy for years to come!

How to leave your German Shepherd at home?

Leaving your German Shepherd at home when you go out can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With a few simple steps and some common-sense precautions, you can ensure that your pup is happy and safe in your absence.

  1. Leave your German Shepherd dog in the crate - Leaving your German Shepherd in the crate when you are not home can be a great way to ensure their safety and comfort. Crates provide a designated space for them to relax, safe from outside dangers, while also reducing the risk of destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging. Additionally, crates provide an ideal environment for potty training, setting up a routine for your pup.

  2. Use dog gates - Dog gates are a great way to safely and securely confine your German Shepherd when you are not at home. Dog gates are designed to keep your pup contained to a specific area in the house, while still allowing them plenty of room to move and play. This is beneficial because it allows your dog more freedom than being confined to a crate, while still providing a safe space for them to relax.

  3. Free your dog - If your German Shepherd is well-trained and your house is a safe environment for your dog (it has a high fence and there are no dangerous objects in the area), you can leave them free in your yard and house. If you decide to try this, it's a good idea to put some interesting toys in your yard (if you have one) such as old tires or long ropes!

How to leave your German Shepherd at the apartment?

Leaving your German Shepherd alone in an apartment can be difficult, but it does not have to be. With some creativity and the right tools, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your dog even in an apartment setting.

Most people believe that it's impossible to have a German Shepherd dog if you leave in an apartment, but they're wrong.

German Shepherds in apartment

It's true that is more difficult, but it's not impossible.

Before you leave your German Shepherd alone in an apartment, do some type of exercise with him, such as running, obedience training, or long walk, and put him in the crate and keep him inside until you come back home. If you do this properly, your German Shepherd will sleep all the time while you are away.

As soon as you get home, let your German Shepherd out of the crate, and start spending time with him playing his favorite game, training him, or simply just enjoying together!

Do German Shepherds like being alone?

No, German Shepherds do not typically like being alone. They are social animals that need companionship and interaction with their humans as well as other animals. Dogs who are left alone for long periods of time without proper exercise or stimulation can become bored and anxious, leading to destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture or barking excessively.

Additionally, they may develop a separation anxiety disorder, which can manifest in excessive barking or whining, destruction of furniture and household items, pacing, salivating, trying to escape through doors or windows, and/or becoming destructive when left alone.

Can German Shepherds be alone for 8 hours?

The short answer is yes, but it is important to consider multiple factors when leaving a German Shepherd alone for this length of time. Most experts agree that well-trained German Shepherds can be alone for up to 8-10 hours. Before you leave your GSD alone, make sure that he feels comfortable and safe.

But before you leave alone your German Shepherd for 8 hours, make sure that he's exhausted. If the energy level of your German Shepherd is at the minimum before you leave, there's a good chance that he'll sleep all 8 hours while you're at work, or anywhere else.

Conclusion

German Shepherds are an extremely loyal dog breed and their bond with their it's strong. This is one of the reasons why you should not leave your German Shepherd alone for a longer period of time.

Also, we understand that we all need to have a job. A job that will cover all our expenses, and the expenses of our dog.

Most jobs don't allow dogs (especially big dogs like German Shepherds) on the job, so the only solution is to leave our dogs at home.

The best solution for this problem is to tire your German Shepherd before you go on the job. This is something that almost every GSD owner does before they go on the job.

And don't feel guilty if you leave your German Shepherd alone at home, or in the crate. With the proper training, they see this as their safe place. A place where they feel comfortable.

Create a daily routine, and organize your day. Once you do that, every task that you have you'll do much faster, and the outputs will be better. This little hack will significantly improve your life and the life of your dog!

Back to blog