Should I Separate My Dogs When I Leave? What to Know

Most dog owners love their pets equally, but that does not always translate to the dogs themselves.

Some pets (especially male dogs) dislike each other so much that leaving them alone without supervision seems extremely risky!

That’s why Mitchell’s team has received many reader letters regarding this issue, all of which revolve around the same question, Should I separate my dogs when I leave?

Keep scrolling to learn about our take on the matter.

Should I Separate My Dogs When I Leave Or Not?

should i separate my dogs when i leave
Should I Separate My Dogs When I Leave

Yes, but only when your pets vibe well with each other and always showcase friendly attitudes.

Otherwise, aggressive, hostile dogs that cannot wait to jump into each other for a fight must be separated even when you are at home.

When You Should Separate Them:

a. Your dogs barely know anything about each other. Let’s say one has just been recently adopted or only drops by for a short visit.

b. YOU yourself know little about these dogs. Have you just brought them home for a few days – or looked after them for a relative or friend?

Leaving them in separate rooms or different crates will be the safest bet if that’s the case.

c. Fighting risks are high; worse, you have seen them attack each other in the past. (And should I separate my dogs after they fight? Yes, obviously.).

d. One (or both) dog shows excessive possessiveness over its furniture, toys, bones, water, food, beds, or even the dog walkers.

e. One dog causes trouble for the other. Do both of them bark when staying together, or chase each other, wrestle, and destroy things in the process? 

f. One hasn’t had any proper training in indoor behaviors and tends to leave marks. Imagine the disasters that may ensure if the other pet also starts peeing around the house! 

g. They show super aggressive behaviors upon certain triggers (ex: mail carriers, doorbells, hearing other pets outdoors, etc.).

You certainly do not want this social aggression to be redirected to all the wrong places, do you? That can happen anytime.

And aside from the days you are absent (meaning the separation is a MUST), these dogs will benefit tons from their alone time even when you are home, too. How so? 

  • Your canine friend would bask in your complete, undivided attention. It will likely get more petting than usual, too.
  • Giving them the same training exercise is hard when there’s a huge gap between their ages.

Young dogs are more active and learn faster than older ones – all the more reason to separate them during these training sessions.

  • Some dogs demand absolute quiet and silence – which can only be granted in one-dog scenarios. They feel more at ease playing or training alone without any other pet disturbing the flow.
  • Observing the dog when it’s by itself opens your eyes to many behavioral patterns you have never noticed in the past.

Understandable; after all, the presence of other dogs often prevents them from carrying out their natural habits.

When You Can Leave Them Together:

Ensure they are comfortable with each other’s energy – especially if there are very young and very old dogs in the same household.

Not many senior dogs appreciate the crazy energy and vibe from their younger peers!

Also, double-check that they are no longer obsessive over personal items (resting places, toys, food, etc.).

Sure, resource guarding instincts are natural for every dog, but an excessive fixation on them is a different story: some dogs hate sharing things to the point that they can downright attack others!

If needed, ask a certified trainer or animal behaviorist for advice. Their positive and force-free behavior modifications will do wonders for your pets.

Lastly, start small with short separations (limited period of time) to confirm there are indeed no longer problems.

Increase the duration gradually until the canines are 100% comfortable with being left together under no surveillance.

My Dogs Only Fight A Couple of Times. Should I Separate Them?

should i separate my dogs after they fight
Should I Separate Them?

It’s hard to give an accurate answer if we know nothing about the triggers behind your dogs fighting each other.

Investigate and collect further details, then try to spot a consistent pattern. If you are not confident, turn to professional help.

Here are some helpful inquiries to ask yourself:

  • What were those dangerous situations about? Did the dogs lie under the dinner table? Or did one jump on the sofa to disturb the other’s sleep? 
  • Was anyone around when the fight happened? Or did I just hear them barking from inside my room? 
  • Which dog initiated the fight? Does one (or both) frequently avoid each other  – or my dog will not leave my other dog alone?
  • Is it usually difficult to stop the fights (especially between males)? 
  • What risk of injury is often involved?

Your answers (as detailed as possible) to these questions will help certified experts determine whether the pets’ relationships are broken – and, if yes, how difficult it is to mend them.

How to Train My Dogs to Stay Together?

how to keep dogs separated in same house
Way To Teach Dogs to Stay Together

To avoid further conflicts, the smart way to go about it is to start training your dogs immediately (right after you bring the new pet home, for instance).

Of course, each circumstance demands different types of methods, but this guide should easily apply to most situations: 

Start Neutral

The first meetings between your current and new dog should be in neutral territory.

The goal of training is to get them slowly warmed up to each other. A second helping hand is great, but trust us, you can totally do it yourself.

  • Take each dog (individually, not together) to neutral places like parks. Confirm that no other pets will show up – since they can be quite a distraction.
  • Introduce the two dogs to each other through barriers or fences. Do not have any of them on leash; leash pullings can increase aggression and separation anxiety.
  • Keep the social interactions positive and light-hearted. You yourself should stay upbeat, relaxed, and calm. Be generous with rewards if your dogs also follow your example and are friendly towards each other.
  • Keep track of the canine body language. Any signs of anxiety/ over-excitement will conclude the meeting session.

Otherwise, should it go on smoothly without any problem, you can let them meet without barriers for longer periods of time.

  • Let them play with each other – just not too intensely. Any unexpected trigger might turn their playful gestures into actual fighting.

Always Be Patient and Equally Attentive

There are no two dogs with similar relationship pacing. Some can be the best brothers in the world after two days, while others take months to tolerate each other.

Your pets probably fall somewhere between the two extremes.

Be patient; if things do not go as well as expected, that doesn’t mean they never will. Take several steps back, and treat the situation as a typical sibling rivalry.

Most importantly, remember to give them similar owner attention. This tactic will keep the first pet from getting jealous/aggressive toward your new dog.

Even if everyone in your family wants to give the new canine friend extra time and appreciation, ensure the treats and belly rubs are equitably divided.


Should I separate my dogs when I leave? How to keep dogs separated in same house?

Mitchell believes you have the answer in your mind after looking through our article.

Contacting experienced behavior specialists and trainers will always be the ultimate solution, but feel free to write to us for more advice anytime you need.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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