Can American Pitbulls Be Left Alone?

cute pitbull puppy alone

As the owner of an American Pitbull, you’d love nothing more than to bring your cuddly canine along with you on every trip — but we all know that this isn’t feasible.

Life happens, and we all have jobs, errands, and other things to tend to where dogs aren’t always welcome. As such, there will come a time when you’ll have to leave your beloved American Pitbull at home alone.

Can you leave a Pitbull alone?

American Pitbulls can be left alone as long as they’re properly trained. During the adjustment period, however, adults shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours, and puppies no more than two. The best way to leave your dog at home without incident is to implement it into his training routine.

To help you better prepare for leaving your American Pitbull at home, I’ve created this article which outlines how long these dogs can be left alone, what you should do if you have to leave your beloved pet home for longer periods of time, and what you can do to minimize unwanted behaviors during your absence.

Read on to learn more.

How Long Can Pitbulls Be Left at Home Alone?

closeup on a pitbull's fur

We all have lives and responsibilities of our own — jobs, families, social lives, events, meetings — so it’s not always possible to bring your sidekick along. Therefore, it’s inevitable that you’re going to eventually be in a position where you’ll need to leave your American Pitbull at home alone, if you haven’t already done so.

Because of their high-energy levels, it’s not recommended to leave an American Pitbull alone for long periods of time, especially during the adjustment period (which can take up to three months).

So, don’t plan any long trips or events, and plan to be home as often as possible during this time. If you must leave for longer than four hours at a time (or two hours, in the case of an American Pitbull puppy) during the adjustment period, you’ll need to prepare in advance.

Leaving an American Pitbull Alone During a Short Absence

You can’t sit at home with your American Pitbull forever. Sometimes, we need to make a quick run to the grocery store or pharmacy, and it’s highly unlikely that your local businesses allow you to bring your American Pitbull pet inside to shop alongside you (unless it’s a service animal).

Fortunately, short trips are the easiest way to start training your American Pitbull to be home alone. It’s not as frightening as leaving them home alone for extended periods.

Even though you’re unsure of what to expect, you’ll be able to get back in time to ensure that they’re safe and not engaging in any negative, destructive, or dangerous behaviors.

With that said, it’s important that you not leave your American Pitbull alone until you’re in a good place with their crate training and housebreaking.

Begin with very short trips, such as walking to the mailbox or picking up the newspaper from the end of the driveway. Over time, slowly lengthen the amount of time you’re away — drive up to the gas station to fill your tank, or take a 15 minute walk around the block.

When you return, see how they’ve behaved. If they seem fine — there were no incidents or destroyed items (and your neighbors didn’t complain about excessive whining or barking) — then that’s a good sign.

However, if you find your American Pitbull in rooms that it’s not supposed to be in, or it’s stolen a snack off of the counter, then you may want to consider using the crate until you’ve established boundaries that your beloved pet understands and respects.

Six to Ten Hour Absence

pitbull puppy sad face

If you have a job outside of the home, then you’re most likely going to have to end up leaving your American Pitbull home for six to ten hours at a time, depending on your work schedule.

For most of us, this isn’t an option — it’s a necessity.

Therefore, if you have a job and your American Pitbull is still in the adjustment phase, try to find a reputable pet-sitter who can tend to your dog while you’re away.

Additionally, you’ll need to implement crate training during this time — and you should prepare yourself ahead of time, because crate training is not easy, especially at first.

You’ll withstand many nights of whining, crying, and barking, so grab yourself some ear plugs and melatonin. 

The best way to start is by putting your American Pitbull in the crate at night while you’re home.

Before putting your dog in the crate, make sure that they’re well exercised, they’ve had water, are fed, and have relieved themselves through urination and defecation within the past hour. 

After a few weeks, the whining and crying should subside, but it could still take up to six months to fully get your pup comfortable being in the crate.

However, as long as you’re consistent, you could see results in as little as a few weeks.

If anything happens while you’re at work that will keep you longer than usual, have a backup plan available.

Contact a trusted friend or family member (one that your dog is familiar with) that can enter your home and let your American Pitbull out of the crate to use the bathroom and get water. 

Extended Absence

If you’re ever in a position where you need to leave your American Pitbull home for periods longer than ten hours, it’s highly recommended that you either take the dog with you, find a pet-sitter, or pay a boarding facility to care for your canine while you’re away.

You cannot trust an American Pitbull (or any dog, for that matter) to stay at home for extended periods of time, as they’re unable to let themselves outside to use the bathroom, or to get themselves food and water.

As such, it’s irresponsible to leave them alone, especially longer than 24 hours at a time.

Additionally, you should never leave a dog in a crate for that long. At the very least, you should have a familiar friend stop by every five hours or so to let your dog out of the crate to use the bathroom, provide them with fresh water, and perhaps give them a walk around the block to stretch out their legs.

If it’s a puppy, the bathroom trips should be more frequent.

Don’t Leave American Pitbulls Alone Immediately After Adoption

If you’ve just adopted your American Pitbull, it’s important that you don’t start off by leaving them at home unattended.

American Pitbulls, like most dogs, go through an adjustment period when they’re first brought into a new home.

This is a scary time for them, as they decompress and become familiar with new people and their surroundings.

It’s important that you’re available to ensure that your dog is safe and secure.

This adjustment period is a critical period, and it’s necessary for both American Pitbull puppies and adults. As such, new Pitbull puppies should not be left home alone or outside of a crate for more than two hours at a time.

Adults that are new to the home shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours.

American Pitbulls Often Suffer from Separation Anxiety

As with all canines, American Pitbulls may suffer from separation anxiety.

This is a common reason why many dogs end up in shelters — anxiety presents in many ways, from destructive behaviors such as chewing, or other undesirable behaviors such as urinating, defecating, whining, or barking.

Separation anxiety can happen at all ages with an American Pitbull. Unfortunately, in many cases these dogs are labeled “bad,” when in reality, they’re just nervous creatures who miss familiarity.

Dogs do not have a concept of time. What’s five minutes to us may feel like a lifetime to them. They don’t know if you’re coming back — they may essentially feel as though you’ve abandoned them.

Additionally, because dogs have a pack mentality, they feel that their survival depends upon the pack — and you are their pack! In their minds, they may feel scared, insecure, and as though they need to fend for themselves.

If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, then patience is key. It’s important to, over time, slowly train them to be home alone. Start with very brief one to two minute trips.

Offer them chew treats, toys, and other mental stimuli while you’re away. Close the blinds to remove any distractions that may cause excessive barking. If needed, confine them to a specific room or space to prevent them from becoming destructive or excessively noisy.

Reward them when they do not produce any undesirable behaviors while you’re outside. Continue this training often and slowly space out the amount of time that you’re away until your pooch is comfortable.

How To Leave a Pitbull Alone

When you leave your dog alone, you probably worry about destructive behaviors, separation anxiety, or accidents in the home.

Not to mention, you don’t want your lovable, furry friend to feel abandoned or neglected. Therefore, it’s critical that you implement being alone into your American Pitbull’s training routine.

Once you believe that your dog is ready to be left alone, you can take steps to ensure that it doesn’t cause problems while you’re away.

  • Exercise your American Pitbull before you leave. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, they say. Before leaving your dog to his own devices, give him a good thirty minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise. Go for a jog, play fetch, or just run them around at a dog park for a while. Burning off that extra energy is an excellent way to ensure that your dog stays healthy, and reduces the likelihood of destructive behavior.
  • Give your dog a proper place to rest. If you don’t want your dog to climb on beds or couches while you’re away, ensure that your American Pitbull has a safe, comfortable place to rest. A dog bed or its favorite blankets placed on the floor should be enough to keep your dog happy.
  • Dog-proof your home. Once you’re ready to leave your American Pitbull at home, ensure that there are no chemicals, objects, or other items that he can get into that could potentially harm him. In other words, dog-proof your home.
  • Leave him fresh water. A dog should always have access to fresh water, especially in the summer, or when the weather is hot.
  • Know your American Pitbull’s limits. Sometimes, a dog may be fine by itself for several hours, but once it has to urinate, things may get out of hand. If you know your dog’s schedule and limits on how long you can be away, you can better plan. If you have to be away longer than you usually are, have a friend on call ready to let your dog out to avoid any accidents.
  • Provide plenty of stimulating toys. Help your dog fight boredom by offering treats inside of a food-dispensing toy while you’re away. These types of toys provide mental stimulation for your dog and may keep him occupied for longer periods of time. I recommend the Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toy on Amazon. It comes in four different levels, eight different size/color combos, and helps fight canine boredom.
  • Choose a pet-sitter or doggy boarding if you’re gone longer than 10 hours. Most dog experts do not recommend leaving a canine alone for more than ten hours. If that’s the case, it’s better to invest in a pet-sitter or doggy boarding facility.

Conclusion

Early on, it’s difficult to leave an American Pitbull alone. Fortunately, the process gets easier with time, especially as your dog grows to trust you and familiarize itself with your home and your routine.

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