The Samoyed is an exceptionally social and highly intelligent breed of dog. Because of these traits, Samoyeds rarely cope with being left alone, even in their home environment. As well as being pack animals, Samoyeds were bred to work alongside communities of people, so they are more sensitive than some other dogs to being left alone. Samoyeds are physically strong, active, working dogs who need a very high level of stimulation, so if left alone they will dig, chew things, bark, escape, and develop separation anxiety symptoms.
Can Samoyed be left alone? No, Samoyed’s security is based on their family, so three or four hours is generally too long to leave a Samoyed alone, and they should never be left alone during an eight-hour workday. For a Samoyed to be happy and healthy, companionship is vital.
In this article, I will outline the most important needs of Samoyeds compared with other dogs, due to the fascinating history of their interaction with humans. Samoyeds hold a unique place in human history and culture, and their strengths of outstanding sociability, playfulness, intelligence, and loyalty, combined with their speed, muscular strength, and agility, meaning they are considered by some to be the pinnacle of dog breeds.
However, you need to understand their unique traits to be successful as a Samoyed owner! In this article, I will show you how to enjoy training and living with your Samoyed to create a loving bond.
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Can Samoyed be left alone?
Bred by the Samoyede peoples of Northern Siberia, Samoyeds slept with their masters and families and worked with them every day pulling loads on sleds and herding reindeer. Today, they are still effective working dogs and competition dogs. Their strongest desire is to be a core part of the family and community, love to play with people, and to give and receive affection and attention.
Can Samoyed be left alone? A Samoyed is not a suitable dog to be left alone for significant lengths of time. Samoyeds can quickly become destructive dogs, and if they are tied up, ignored, or under-stimulated, they will use their intelligence to get your attention – in negative ways.
Specific training may assist your Samoyed to cope with being left alone for shorter periods. Each individual dog will respond differently to this. Some can be left alone for some hours, while some cannot.
If you become the owner of a Samoyed, they will require a significant amount of your time and energy. You must have a place in your lifestyle and family situation to give them what they require to thrive: positive attention, affection, play, exercise, and the company of people and other dogs.
They will require your time to give them ongoing training to keep their high intelligence stimulated; active exercise to keep their body and coordination engaged; ongoing grooming for their dense, long-haired coat; and, most importantly, your company for extended hours each day.
A Samoyed who is receiving lots of quality time will give back a great amount of affection and entertaining play, and will show great sensitivity to the emotional needs of the family.
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How long can a Samoyed be left alone?
Puppies should not be left alone, for their safety as well as their emotional security. For a mature Samoyed, the amount of time they can be left alone will vary, but they are not a breed of dog which can tolerate a lot of alone time. I recommend making a judgment based on your individual Samoyed’s traits and temperament, and then actively training them to tolerate being left alone.
Training a Samoyed to tolerate your absence at home needs to begin in small time increments of just a few minutes.
Set up the home by providing beds and comfort items, chew toys, a treat-dispensing toy, and one or two new, mentally challenging toys. Put the TV or radio on. As you leave, try not to alert the Samoyed. Come back in before they show any sign of being distressed.
When can Samoyed be left alone? If your dog is tolerant of the training, and if they are older than a year, you may begin leaving them for short periods.
If you find that your Samoyed dog develops bad behavior while left alone, do not punish them for their actions, as it will make their anxiety worse. Consider what’s realistic to achieve with your individual dog and with the Samoyed breed: even with training, Samoyeds may always struggle with being left alone.
If you must be away from home, adding some support options can increase your Samoyed’s ability to tolerate being left alone, perhaps by breaking up the time with some contact with others.
This could include hiring a dog walker or taking the Samoyed to periods of doggy daycare, which can make a difference for some dogs. A relative or friend may also be able to assist.
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Do Samoyeds get separation anxiety?
When considering the question “can Samoyed be left alone?” in regard to your own dog, you should carefully observe your Samoyed’s behavior to note whether they are showing signs of separation anxiety.
Rather than being just a passing feeling, separation anxiety in dogs is serious and can be detrimental to their physical and mental health in a number of ways.
Samoyeds with separation anxiety may become destructive to furniture, bedding, and fencing. They are strong diggers and can dig under fencing and run away, which is dangerous for them and for the property of others, as well as being very worrying and potentially expensive for you.
When you return to a Samoyed with separation anxiety, there may be obvious signs. The Samoyed may have urinated or defecated indoors, vomited, chewed at their own fur, or been destructive.
Other signs are harder to know about: they may have continually barked, whined, or howled; they may have been pacing, trembling, scratching at the door you left through, or become obsessed with repetitive behavior.
A Samoyed may look happy when you return, but according to the RSPCA, may still have suffered from separation anxiety. The RSPCA recommends videoing your dog’s behavior while you are out, especially in the early days.
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Also, consider how much positive input you are giving your Samoyed. They need enough play, exercise, and socialization to equip them with the self-calming resources they need to be left alone for short periods.
You may engage the support of a behaviorist or a vet in treating separation anxiety. However, dogs of the Samoyed breed may never tolerate being left alone for a significant period, and this should not be expected of a breed with high interaction needs and high intelligence.
Are Samoyeds indoor dogs?
Samoyeds can weigh from 35 to 65 pounds, stand 23 inches high at the shoulder, and are strong, agile, muscular dogs.
The herding instinct as a working, running dog is still very present in the breed. They will need to be able to run and play using their agility, in order to feel good and to work off their high level of physical energy. It is hard to imagine a Samoyed behaving well in a life which is strictly indoors, or to imagine that their behavior would be very enjoyable for you!
I always recommend having a sizeable yard for a Samoyed to run and play in. Fencing should be very sturdy, and if your dog is a digger, the fencing should extend some way under the ground.
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Samoyeds also need the change of scene afforded by daily walks and runs in different areas and walking, running, and playing interesting games together will build the relationship between you, as well as keep your Samoyed engaged in having fresh experiences.
Having been a fast-running herding dog, Samoyeds need to feel the freedom of a large space in which to run. Find new areas where you can take your Samoyed, even if these are a short drive away – your Samoyed will likely love the stimulation of the passing scenery in the car ride too.
Grooming and shedding are also a part of Samoyed life and would be a factor if a Samoyed was kept mostly indoors. Their long, thick, white fur needs daily attention, and less of shedding will occur indoors if they have an active outdoor life.
Their thick coats also make them susceptible to heatstroke, so Samoyeds should never be confined indoors in hot weather.