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Our black lab, Lily, will be able to come home at the end of September, when She's 8 weeks old. We have a fairly large laundry room that is empty right now, and plan on gating her in there while we work, and bedtime..... We have the first few days home with her, but then she will have to be alone for 6 ish hours a day sometimes. The thought of that breaks my heart. Any tips on how I should make this easier for her? I read about giving her treats in her room, and building up time in there. Anything else?
 

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First, congratulations!

Second, I would recommend keeping her in your room at bedtime. Brand new puppies are like infants, and when they go to a new home they are scared, in a new place, being taken from mama and siblings, in a place that smells different, sounds different, and has different people.
Lots of new puppies are comforted just be the simple fact of being in the same room with their people. They can see you, smell you and hear you breath, and that can be a big deal for them. You can put a crate in your bedroom. It doesn't have to be forever, you can transition her out to the laundry room as she gets older.

On to getting her used to being alone...
- try building up time, like you say. For the first few days, try to put her in her "room" and leave for 1-2 minutes. Yes, seriously, that short of time. But, do 1-2 minutes a LOT. Like 20 times a day. So it becomes normal. Then, the next day, try 5 minutes. A LOT, as often as you can. You get the idea.
- even with the building up time, she's still probably gonna be upset, since a few days doesn't give her much time to get used to it.
- even when you are home, still put her in her room, so she doesn't just associate being in her room with you leaving. You can put her in her room when you shower, or when you eat, or just randomly.
- some pups don't mind. They sleep most of the time they're alone anyway.
- tire them out before you leave. Exercise her before you leave, really get her good and tired.
- you can leave a frozen, stuffed kong for her. We use peanut butter in ours and freeze them overnight. It keeps our dogs occupied.

Good luck!
 

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I agree with the previous poster. I would also cover her crate entirely with a light sheet at night so it's den like. I would keep her crate covered with a sheet during the day but just top and sides..not entire thing. I would begin the leaving alone training immediately. We got our dog at 3 months and the next day we went out for dinner and walks around town. We didn't really work up to the minutes but it depends on your dog but it worked for us and she got used to it really quick.
 

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Expect the pup to be lonely and to whine when alone for the first 3 nights. You must be hard hearted... you can take the pup in the backyard to pee and poop, but don't play with her after bedtime... just bathroom duty. If she needs to pee, then she'll pee in the first 30 seconds or so...

These two free downloads will help: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
 

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Congratulations on your new lab. They are great dogs. The hardest part is the 1st year or two, but so worth it.

Agree with the above. I just want to add, crating is important with Lab puppies; as they get older, they get bored and with boredom comes chewing and destructive habits that can be life threatening and costly. Most labs adapt well to crating. Those that don't, eventually adjust.
Quick tips:
Have a variety of safe toys with different shapes and textures
Teach him/her "mine"/"yours", leave it, drop it and come
Never chase them, especially when they have an object they shouldn't have; instead teach them to trade up for a better object/treat

I'd also suggest you have a puppy sitter, friend, or neighbor come in (every 2 hours) for the 1at few weeks to take the puppy out for a potty break. Pups at 8 weeks can hold their bladders for up to 2 hours, (add an hour for each month they age). I typically give them a break every 2 hours and increase the span in between breaks incrementally so that by 20-24 weeks, they can hold their bladder for 6 hours. Good potty habits start early. It is worth the effort to set them up for success, early.

Eagle-eye supervision is key. If you need to leave the room, either crate your puppy or tether him/her to your waist. Ask any lab owner what the most interesting thing their dog has ingested is and they will have at least 1 or 2 interesting stories to tell!


Enjoy your new pup.
 

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Since you've got a month to plan before she comes home, I suggest finding a dog walker who can come in once while you're out to take her out for a potty break and some socialization time.
 
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