Are you a current or future vizsla owner and asking the question “can vizslas be left alone”? Perhaps you are returning to the office after working from home and want to know how long can you leave a vizsla alone at home.
Hungarian vizslas have a reputation as velcro dogs that thrive on human companionship so it is a valid question for responsible vizsla dog owners to ask. Caring for a vizsla if you work long hours outside the home can be tricky.
So if you are researching the breed, want to train your vizsla puppy to be left alone or you are spending more time away from home than in the past read on. We address your concerns about leaving your vizsla home alone, list issues to look out for and share tips to keep them happy until you return home.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
Can Vizslas Be Left Alone?
With the right training and a suitable environment Hungarian vizslas can be left alone. However the frequency and length of time they can be left alone will vary depending on their age and individual personality.
Vizslas are a sociable and energetic dog breed and are happiest in the company of their human owners. They don’t call them velcro dogs for nothing!
Unfortunately when left alone for long periods of time day after day with little human contact, vizslas can become easily bored and lonely and resort to destructive behaviors such as digging, chewing and barking.
Which is why they are often listed as a breed of dogs that can’t be left alone. However this is incorrect and most dog breeds can be left alone if trained appropriately.
So now you know they can be left alone, let’s take a look at the more important question of how long can vizslas be home alone.
For How Long Can A Vizsla Be Left Alone?
In an ideal world you wouldn’t leave an adult vizsla home alone for more than 4 hours at a time, particularly if they are crated while you are out.
However we all live in the real world where many of us have jobs and time alone for pup is inevitable.
There are plenty of vizsla owners with full time jobs and happy dogs – so how long is too long?
The length of time vizslas can be left alone for will vary depending on:
- Their age
- Whether they have been trained to be home alone
- How often they are home alone
- Where they are left alone
- The personality of the dog.
Vizslas tend to be slower than other breeds to mentally mature, with most reaching maturity by age 2.
For the first 6 months it can be difficult to leave a vizsla home alone for more than a few hours at a time.
We cover puppies specifically in the next section, but you will find the older your dog the easier it is to leave them home alone for anything from a few hours up to 8+ hours.
Home Alone Training
This takes time as you will need to build their tolerance to spending time alone gradually over many months using positive reinforcement.
We cover how to do this in the sections below and our vizsla puppy training planner has a checklist to track time alone so you can track their progress.
If you work long hours every day of the week and cannot dedicate the time morning and night to physically and emotionally support your dog, a vizsla is not the best choice for your lifestyle.
Unlike other dogs like vizslas, time spent together is very important for vizslas.
On the other hand a few days a week spent alone for 6 – 8 hours will not harm your dog.
When training your dog to be left alone you may need to experiment with different locations to see what works best.
Some vizslas are happy to spend 4 hours in their crate, others will howl the house down every time they are crated during the day.
A lot of vizslas do not like to spend all day outside and may annoy the neighbors with incessant barking.
Many adult vizslas are perfectly happy sleeping on the couch all day – popping outside through a doggy door when required.
However if your vizsla can’t be trusted inside on their own, access to a garage may be needed instead.
Tip for new vizsla owners: A dog door is mandatory if you plan to eventually leave your dog inside at home for 6 or 8 hours. If you don’t have a dog door and can’t put one in, you will need someone to let the dog out during the day as they cannot hold on all day.
Personality Is Key
For every vizsla owner who tells you they shouldn’t ever be left alone there will be one who successfully leaves them alone for 8 hours a day.
The thing is every dog has a unique personality and what works for some will not work for others. Some will suffer from separation anxiety, others won’t.
How Long Can A Vizsla Puppy Be Left Alone?
Unlike adult vizsla dogs, vizsla puppies should not be left alone for many hours at a time during the day, especially for the few few weeks after you bring them home.
They are not reliably housetrained for several months and do not have the mental maturity to be left alone without the risk of suffering separation anxiety.
If you work outside the home and cannot take time off work you will need to find helpers nearby to drop in and spend time with your pup in the early months.
Below is a general guide to how many hours you can leave a vizsla puppy alone during the day.
|Age Of Puppy||Max. Time Alone*|
|8 – 10 weeks (2 – 2.5 months old)||0 – 1 hour|
|10 – 12 weeks (3 months old)||1 – 2 hours|
|13 – 16 weeks (3 – 4 months old)||2 – 3 hours|
|16 – 24 weeks (4 – 6 months old)||3 – 4 hours|
|6 – 12 months old||4 – 5 hours|
*Note this guide is dependent on progress with potty training. I would not recommend leaving them alone for more than 2 hours until consistent housetraining is achieved.
Common Issues When Leaving A Vizsla Home Alone All Day
When vizslas are left alone for long periods of time they can get bored and will look for ways to keep themselves busy.
Ideally they choose sleep, but often when given the opportunity they start to engage in destructive activities such as:
- Counter surfing
- Barking, whining and howling
Not only that, when left outside, boredom can often result in constant barking. On heightened alert, they react to all the neighborhood noises and passers-by.
Barking is a particularly tricky one as you aren’t home to witness it and the first time you know your dog barks when left alone is when you get a complaint from a neighbor.
For some dogs like Vizslas and Weimaraners a lot of time alone can result in separation anxiety – noticeable with behaviors like those listed above plus others like excessive shedding, drooling, weeing and pooing inside, pacing and attempts to escape.
So what can you do to prevent your dog getting bored? Read on to find out how to train your vizsla to be left alone.
How Do You Train A Vizsla To Be Left Alone?
It is important to spend the time training your vizsla to be happy when alone, as there will be many instances when you will need to leave them alone.
It’s not only when you go to work, but to run errands, go out for dinner or spend the day at a non-dog friendly place.
The key is to start early and build their tolerance up gradually to reduce the risk of them developing separation anxiety.
1. Short Bursts Of Time Alone
As soon as you bring puppy home, start to integrate micro periods of time where the puppy is alone. The time alone could be in their pen or crate.
- Leave the room for 10 – 30 seconds
- Ideally you return before they start crying, barking or whining
- Gradually lengthen the time you are out of the room
- Each time you return reward them if they are calm and not barking.
If your puppy cries when left alone or they bark, scratch at the door, wee or poo inside the house, it has been too long. You need to go back to a shorter time and build up again.
2. Lengthen The Time
Continue this process, gradually building up to an hour.
You could go into another room, leave the house, check the mail, walk around the block.
Once they are happy with an hour then continue to train up to two, then three hours until you get to 4 hours. Then keep working up to longer times if required.
Tip: Use a baby monitor to listen out for what they are doing when you are out, or invest in a pet camera to help monitor their behaviour while you are training them to be alone.
3. Trial Different Locations
When they are a puppy they should be contained to either a crate, pen or puppy proofed room when alone to stop them getting into trouble.
For some vizslas they may need to be crated for up to 2 years or until they stop destroying things around the house! Some are not destroyers however and can be trusted inside from as young as 9-12 months.
Once they can be trusted out of the crate trial different spots such as the lounge room, yard, garage or other area.
Tip: Vizslas aren’t really outside dogs, so you will need to find some spaces where they have access to outside and inside the home or garage or invest in crate training your vizsla.
Tips For Leaving Your Vizsla Alone While At Work
If you work outside the home, here are some expert tips from experienced vizsla owners to make leaving your dog at home easier.
A tired dog is a happy dog so always exercise them well off leash before you leave for work.
A good session to tire them out could mean they sleep through the morning.
Also allow time to exeHungarian Vizsla Exercise Needs [The Facts + Ideas]rcise your dog when you get home plus give them plenty of attention to ensure their emotional needs are being met too.
Pop Home During The Day
If you work close to home, try and come home at lunch time to play.
Alternatively try and organise for a friend or neighbour to come by and take them outside to play and burn some energy mid way through the day.
Adjust Your Work Hours
If you have flexibility, try to stagger your work start and finish times with others in the household to shorten the overall time the dog is on their own at home.
Or if there are several people in the home working part time, try and alternate days off so there is someone at home most days.
Toys And Distractions
If your dog is prone to barking, leave the radio or tv on to mask outside noises.
Also have a rotation of different toys on hand so they have new and interesting toys to play with when you are out.
You can keep your vizsla entertained when you are out with some puzzle toys and slow food entertainment such as licky mats, snuffle mats, frozen kongs.
Safe chews for adult dogs are good too to keep them busy and tire them out. Just be sure they always have access to fresh drinking water.
Pay For Care
There are several ways you can pay for help to care for your dog while you are at work:
- Organise a dog walker to come some days to take them out during the day.
- Book them in to doggy day care one or two days a week.
- Look into pet sitters who come to your home or you can drop the dog to their home for the day.
- Join your local vizsla club to find other vizsla owners who may be interested in helping out.
Keep It Interesting
To prevent boredom, try and mix up what happens each day.
Perhaps some days they stay home alone, others they go to doggy day care, and some days a dog walker visits to take them out.
Frequently Asked Questions
For the first few weeks it is a good idea to sleep close to the puppy to help them settle in to their new environment. After that it is fine to leave a vizsla puppy alone at night if they are sleeping in a crate or are contained in a puppy proofed room. They should not be left alone in the house overnight if you are not home.
No, vizsla puppies should not be left alone for 8 hours. Puppies under 6 months old are too young to be left alone all day. If you work long hours you will need to find neighbors, friends and family who can pop in during the day to play with your puppy.
Vizslas shouldn’t be left alone all day, every day. They are a high energy dog that need regular human companionship and can become destructive when bored. Occasional long days left alone are fine, but spending every week day home alone is not recommended.
Have a vizsla puppy? Get our vizsla puppy training planner to stay organized and track their progress.
More Vizsla Care Guides
- Guide to cutting vizsla nails
- Why do vizslas whine
- Do vizslas need grooming?
- Are vizslas good family dogs?
- Do vizslas and cats get along?
Or, browse all the vizsla care guides here.
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