Can a Coton de Tulear be Left Alone for Long Periods? 

Let's tackle a big question: Can a Coton de Tulear be left alone for extended periods? The straightforward answer is a resounding NO. But, as with most things in life, it's not quite that simple. This question is layered and depends on various factors.

Illustrated Coton de Tulear with toys

Are you thinking about welcoming a Coton de Tulear into your life? It's crucial to understand their unique needs, especially when it comes to alone time. Like many of us, you probably have a job or other commitments that mean you can't always be at home.

There are countless dog owners who balance work and pet care seamlessly! With a few lifestyle tweaks and daily habits, you too can ensure your dog is happy, healthy, and thriving, even as you manage your busy work schedule.

I worked full-time when I had my dog, Luc. I was fortunate to have family, friends, neighbors, and pet sitters fill the void when I couldn’t be home with him.

These days, I work part-time from home, so I'm with my Coton, Lucy, most of the day. I'm grateful I'm able to stay at home with her since she has health problems that require medications and therapy. 

But don't make the mistake I did with Lucy. Since I was always around, she never got used to being alone. This led to anxiety whenever I had to step out, even for just an hour. It took a lot of effort to help her adjust later on. If I had introduced her to short periods of alone time as a puppy, it would have been a smoother journey for both of us.

Many people who got puppies during the pandemic can relate. Your dogs got used to you being there 24/7 and had to readjust when your routines went back to "normal."   

It's important to understand that no dog should, regardless of breed, be left alone for extended periods of time regularly. Dogs are social creatures and need interaction and stimulation to be happy and healthy. While some breeds might be more self-sufficient and okay with longer stretches of solitude, the Coton de Tulear is NOT one of them. 

But how long is too long for a Coton de Tulear to be left alone? 

An hour? 4 hours? 8 hours?  

Every dog is different, and the time will depend on your dog's age, socialization, training, and what kind of support you have in place while you're away. According to the American Kennel Club, the guidelines on how long to leave your dog alone are generally as follows:

  • 1 hour for puppies under 10 weeks 
  • 2 hours for puppies 10-12 weeks
  • From 3 to 6 months, it's an hour for each month of their age (3 months old = 3 hours left alone)
  • Over 6 months:  6-8 hours

While these are helpful guidelines, it's important to understand your specific dog's needs.

Understanding Coton de Tulear Dogs

illustrated Coton de Tulear on couch

If you are considering whether a Coton de Tulear is a good choice for you, it is important to understand the breed's origins, characteristics, and temperament so you'll be well-equipped to decide if they're the perfect companion for your lifestyle and home environment.

The Coton is a rare breed that originated on the island of Madagascar. They are small dogs, typically weighing between 8 and 16 pounds. They have a long, cotton-like coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

They are playful and affectionate dogs that make loyal companions. They are known for their high energy and love of play, making them great pets for families with children. However, they can also be independent and stubborn sometimes, so early training and socialization are essential.

Cotons are known for forming strong bonds with their owners and family members. While this makes them great companions, it also means that they may experience separation anxiety when left alone. Separation anxiety is a common problem in dogs, and Cotons are no exception.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Cotons

Coton de Tulear in crate

If your Coton dog experiences separation anxiety, you may notice some of the following signs:

  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Destructive behavior, such as chewing on furniture or digging
  • Attempts to escape from the house, gate, or crate
  • Pacing or restlessness
  • Loss of appetite or decreased energy
  • Anxiety when in a new environment

If you notice any of these signs, addressing the issue as soon as possible is important. You can learn more about preventing and treating separation anxiety here.

5 Essential Tips for Leaving Your Coton de Tulear Home Alone

No. 1 - Consider your dog's stage of life. Before leaving your Coton de Tulear alone, it is essential to consider their age, health, and temperament. Puppies and older dogs may require more frequent potty breaks and attention. Dogs with separation anxiety may struggle with being left alone, and it may take some time and training to help them adjust. Additionally, the length of time you plan to leave your dog alone should be taken into account.

No. 2 - Create a safe space. To ensure your Coton de Tulear's safety and comfort while you're away, it's important to create a designated safe space. This space should be free of hazards, such as electrical cords and toxic substances, and provide access to food, water, and a comfortable bed. Consider using a crate or playpen to restrict your dog's movement and prevent destructive behavior. Provide safe toys and chews to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated.

No. 3 - Importance of Early Training. Training your Coton de Tulear at an early age is crucial for their development. Puppies are like sponges and can absorb information quickly, making learning new things easier. Starting training sessions at a young age with positive reinforcement will help your dog understand what is expected of them and how to behave appropriately.

No. 4 - Socialization is criticalSocializing your Coton de Tulear with different people and pets is essential for their social development. Introducing your dog to a variety of people and environments is like giving them a passport to confidence and comfort in any setting. This approach not only enriches their world but also prepares them to happily interact with pet sitters or doggy daycare staff when you're away.

Socialization is about turning every new encounter into an opportunity for your dog to shine and feel at ease, even in your absence. If you get your Coton from a reputable breeder, the socialization process will start immediately weeks before you even bring your puppy home.

No. 5 - Get help!!!!!!!!! Asking for help is, by far, the most important thing you can do if you have to leave your dog alone. The Coton de Tulear is a low-maintenance dog, but they still require daily care, such as a daily walk or two, regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling, physical and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored, and love and affection.

So, what are the best ways to get help?

What are the Best Ways to Get Help if You Leave Your Dog Alone?

If you get anything from this article, I hope it's that while the Coton de Tulear is a breed that's all about companionship and isn't a fan of being alone, you won't let that deter you from adding this little dog to your family. If you're up to making some lifestyle adjustments and ready to give your dog lots of love and support, they can make an excellent addition to your family.

Coton de Tulear sleeping next to laptop

Family and friends support network.   If you're lucky to have family members, friends, or neighbors willing to help, they can be a great support network for your Coton de Tulear. They can provide extra care and attention while you are away, and your dog will be more comfortable in a familiar environment with someone they already know. Make sure to discuss your dog's needs and routines with your family members or friends, and provide them with any necessary instructions or supplies. I am deeply grateful for all the generous people who helped me with my dogs over the years.

Professional dog walkers, pet sitters, or doggy daycares. What if you don't have a support system to help you care for your dog while you're gone? According to this Forbes article, there are over 65 million dog owners in the United States. As a result, numerous businesses provide services to pet parents who need assistance.

A professional pet sitter can come to your home and provide your dog with extra care, attention, and exercise. Doggy daycares offer a social environment for your dog to interact with other dogs and receive attention from trained staff. Daycare is usually a more affordable option than a pet sitter. 

When choosing a pet sitter or daycare, do your research and choose a reputable and experienced provider. Ask for references and read reviews to ensure your Coton de Tulear receives the best care possible.

Change your work routine. If possible, come home for lunch to take care of feeding, walking, and playing. If you have a flexible job, can you work remotely for part of the day? 

Take advantage of technology. Once your Coton de Tulear puppy is older and can be left alone for longer durations, a pet camera is a great way to check in on your dog when you're not home. These cameras allow you to see and talk to your pet through your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Some cameras even have a treat dispenser so that you can reward your dog for good behavior.

Having a way to monitor your dog's comfort, safety, and well-being while you're away is invaluable. I would have loved to have a camera when my dog, Luc, was a puppy to discover how he cleverly escaped from his doggy gates. 

Interactive Toys and Gadgets. Interactive toys and gadgets can help keep your dog entertained while you're away. Puzzle toys, for example, can provide mental stimulation and encourage your dog to problem-solve. A bored dog left alone is a recipe for disaster. You can see Luc below getting caught exploring the trash when I left hime alone for too long.

luc-guilty in trash

Cozy Environment. Leave your dog in a dog-friendly environment with their favorite toys and blankets. Turn on the radio, TV, or App to play soothing music. 

Coton Companions. Many site visitors swear that having two Cotons is better than one, as it provides constant companionship. More Cotons equal more love.

Dogs can develop a very special bond with one another. If you have the time, money, and love for another pet, you won’t regret getting your Coton a new companion. Read what our visitors say about having more than one Coton here.

Don't be absent when you're home. Being physically home is great, are you truly present when you are home? The secret to a thriving dog lies in the quality of time you spend together. So, when you're back from work, make every moment count! Make up for your absence when you get home - go for a long walk, play, and give plenty of love, attention, and affection.

I know you're tired from a long workday, but your dog's been waiting for your attention ALL DAY.  Get in the habit of taking your dog with you when you can - when you run errands, go on family outings, or when you're just hanging out with friends.

Cotons LOVE being with you.

Cartoon Coton de Tulear

See What Other Coton Parents Have to Say

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Are Coton puppies okay being left for extended periods?

Escape Artist Coton de Tulear

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