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Work all day - but can I still have a dog? : Why is That? What's That? How Do I ...
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Work all day - but can I still have a dog?

Why do dogs do what they do? Howling, licking, sniffing, etc. etc. What is the weird thing your dog just did? How do you get a dog to do this and that? How do you stop a dog from doing that and this? Post here stuff you can't fit anywhere else in the "Puppy & Dog Training Obedience - Behavior" Category.

Work all day - but can I still have a dog?

Postby new guy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:38 pm

Hello all,

I owned a dog my whole life - but a "family dog", and sadly she had to be put down 2 years ago at the age of 17.

I have now purchased my first home all alone, and am VERY eager to have another dog in my life, but am worried about my current living situation as not being ideal for dog ownership and wanted your thoughts.

I work 8 hours a day. I am only 15 minutes from home to work, but sill in the end 8.5 hours of every day my dog would be alone. I have ruled out the possibility of getting a puppy, as there is no way I would ever be able to housebreak a puppy and be gone 8.5 hours aday, so I thought about adopting a dog who is hopefully housebroken and crate trained, but here are my questions.

The dog would be in a crate for 8.5 hours every day M-F. I would be with it all day Sat and Sun, but is this enough time?? I want a dog, but more then that, I want to be fair to the dog, and not just get one because I want one so bad. I know how to care for a dog - hell, I was my last dogs primary care giver - and she lived to be 17; but I really want some input before I go ahead and do this.

Your thoughts??
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Postby kimc » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:46 pm

There are a lot of dog owners who work and have happy contented dogs. I agree with you on not getting a puppy, they need lots of attention and time. Adopting is a great idea. There will be a dog that will suit you just fine. May take a while to find the ideal dog but I am sure adopting is the way to go. I would recommend that take some time off work for the first week when and if you acquire a dog. This will give you and the dog a chance to really get to know each other vs getting a dog and off to work the next day. There are going to be some adjusting and settling in time. But I think we who have to work, can successfully own a dog. and you are only 15 minutes away from work, you can visit him/her during lunch.
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Postby newguy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:50 pm

Thanks for you input, but I have some follow up questions.

1.)What breed(s) do you suggest - meaning are there any breeds that do better left alone then others? Are there some I should automatically rule out because they do not do well?

2.)How old of a dog should I consider - I'm thinking like 2-3 years old, and hopefully find one that is housebroken etc

Please let me know.
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Postby uptowndogs » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:05 pm

newguy, I would suggest you consider what type of dog you want (large, small, long/short hair, etc.) and then research some different breeds on Breedinfo.com Once you find a breed you like I would check into a breed rescue, the dogs inr escues like this are usually housed in foster homes until adoption, thus they are more likely to be housetrained etc... That's not to say you won't find the perfect dog at your local shelter, you'll just have more of a coin toss in whether the dog is already housetrained. Good luck!
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Postby suebgone » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:17 am

wow! I sure wish lots of people were as intelligent as you are. People write in all the time complaining that they can't get a puppy housebroken & they work all day. You sound like a very caring responsible person.

Have you considered hiring a dog walker? How about Doggie Day Care?

Just about any dog you get other than the toys, should have at least 2 20 or 30 minute walks a day for optimal health. Will you be able to provide that?

Will you be able to come home at lunch & take the dog out as well as spend some time with it?

You really don't have to get a purbred dog. lots of nice mixed breeds out there.

I would say you may want to go older by a couple years. And something small that won't require so much exercise.

You will want to consider how much grooming the dog will need too - many of the low shed dogs require professional grooming every 6 to 8 weeks. Taking & picking up may be a problem for you.

Of course short haired dogs shed like crazy - some more than others.

Why not go to PetFinder.com & type in your zip code & just window shop.
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Thanks Kim C

Postby newguy » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:18 pm

For all your input - been really busy, and this is the first opportunity I've had to check the site. Buying a new place for the first time is A NIGHTMARE.

I have been looking at petfinder, and I love shiba inus, boston terriers, cocker spaniels, and although many hate them, I love pit bulls. I want something that is 45lbs or under, with minimal shedding, 2-3 years old, housebroken.

I took what you said and did some honest true reflective thinking. 2 20-30minute walks are not a problem, as with my old dog, I always walked her first thing every morning, and a nice "long walk" at night. It was excersice for both of us.

The coming home at lunch thing is nearly impossible. I only get 30mins for lunch, and live 15mins away from where I work, so its physically impossible, for by the time I get into my parking lot, I would have to turn around again.

I have looked into dog walking services, and doggie day care, but truly can't afford either. I have friends in the neighborhood, but heck, we all work together - LOL. I need to know true and honest feedback - if a dog has to be alone for 8.5 hours - is it fair to the dog? I hate cats, so I won't consider them, and I am GREAT with dogs - even when they are not mine, and I want one very badly. I just don't want to be getting one selfishly, which is why I'm hoping for some honest input - good, bad or indifferent. I just want the dog to be taken care of, and everything I'm reading online makes it seem like I wouldn't be a responsible dog owner by leaving him/her home 8.5 hours a day waiting for me to come home.

Your thoughts anyone?
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Postby kimc » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:49 pm

I am sure many will disagree with me on this, but I don't see anything wrong with leaving a dog alone while one works. I would see something wrong with a dog being crated for this length of time, and once home being crated again at night for another 6-8 hours. That is strictly my opinion and there are many opinions on this subject. I have 4 dogs (3 of which are in the house) while I work. They are not crated, they have access to the outside in a double fenced yard. The 3 inside dogs have a doggy door (and I know, many don't like that idea) that leads them outside in a fenced in area for them. My entire yard is fenced but I have them in a seperate 14' x 12' chain link area. These are pekinese and hate a lot of exercise due to their smushed snouts. They are prone to over heating and shortness of breath when exercised a great deal. They all are happy when I come home actually they are very excited when I come home and we immediately go for our 15-20 minute walk around the neighborhood to calm them down and for me to wind down after being gone 8 hours. Once home, I stay home and my pups are quite content. They have their routine. Early morning risings with a lot of playtime and their morning walk, then they sleep most of the rest of the morning and play well during their waking hours. (I know this because of how they are on weekends). But this is how my dogs are. In their beginnings, I was fortunate to have my husband home for their first couple of months. (I wouldn't get a puppy unless someone was home for those first crucial months with us.) They began training very early and learned much during those first few months. But again I stress this is my opinion and how I have done with my dogs. Not many will agree I am sure.
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thanks

Postby newguy » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:53 pm

My plan was to get a 2-3 year old dog from rescue - preferably housebroken and crate trained. I wanted to start off w/crate training, then leave him in the kitchen only w/baby gate, then maybe give access to lr/dr and kitchen and just close the BR doors, and finally give run of the house while I'm away.

Essentially, as I gain trust that there won't be an "incident" while I'm not home, then I will give free reign of the house.

Do you think this will work. I know I'm asking a lot of questions, but I just want to know if I'm the only one who thinks this may work. You seem to agree w/me, which is reassuring.
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Postby kimc » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:22 pm

I have never crate trained so I can't answer that question for you. I look at this way, We live in a must work society, we have to work (even married couples - the majority have to have 2 incomes to survive and live a little better than poverty level). Why can't these hard working people enjoy a furry companion when they are home. I see nothing wrong with owning an animal and having to work. My animals are treated well beyond just having them as pets. They are much loved, treated like royalty and are happy very contented animals. True they could probably have a better life if someone was home 24/7 but it isn't possible in my home. If you are willing to take an animal into your home, your heart and love them unconditionally, take the responsibility for being a pet owner, then go for it. Only you can decide if this is the way you want to go. I applaud you for thinking of the animal first before your own needs but if you will be comfortable knowing you have a dog waiting for you at home that is going to love you unconditionally and you will love it just as much, then be true to your desires and get a dog that is worthy of your attention.
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I have 2 dogs alone 9 hours 5 days / week

Postby Juniper Daughter » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:29 pm

In August of this year I "inherited" my best friends two rescue dogs when he died unexpectedly. One is a 4-5 years old Siberian Husky and the other 3-4 years old Shepherd / Rottie mix. They are both outdoor dogs, very active and playful with each other (or, er, always trying to get pole position, anyway).

Since the get-go I was very torn about my work situation -- and I modified it drastically when the dogs came into my life. I *now* work "only" 8 hours a day now with a 20-30 minute commute each way.

Here's what I have found helps enormously:

* Routine. As you were mentioning in your posts, 2 walks a day, every day. Great exercise for both of you and it is very reassuring to the dog(s) to know what to expect, when. You don't have to be slavish about exact times so your dog doesn't freak out if there is some delay, but decent consistency is key. For Nikita and Zoey and me, we go on our afternoon walk the first thing when I get home -- both the routine and the guided, structured activity very quickly calms down the "Ohmygodyou'rehomewemissedyousomuchwemustfreakoutnow!" factor.

* Dogs will take their cue from you -- if I feel guilty about poor, short-changed Keats and Zo-Zo and communicate that through my body language and tone of voice, they will also feel like something is wrong and bad -- the pack leader is unhappy about something, the world is no longer safe and secure! So, despite what I may be feeling inside, I try to project calm and confidence, an "Okay, you're fine." attitude, and the dogs very often follow suit, even if they've had a rough day (we live in Seattle, and this year, natch, is the rainiest, miserable-ist winter we've had in *years*). Some days the dogs are extra hyper when I get home 'cause it *does* puppy, sometimes, to be stuck without your person all day, even in a nice big fenced yard with each other for company and a rain/snow shelter! The walk and my attitude helps to erase the day's sucky-ness so we can all move on to a pleasant evening. :)

* Training, constructive, focused time spent together. I'm sure this helps, although I confess that while I do take time to train these two, I don't do it as often as I could or should -- it is tiring working with two! Sheesh!

* And finally... although this might sound crazy, you may want to *consider*, however briefly, getting two rescue dogs (a bit older, already housebroken, and, preferably, with basic manners training). Dogs, of course, are pack animals, and it *is* hard on them to be alone. The more intelligent and cuddly breeds feel this especially keenly, I think -- for example the sweet and gentle and mischeivous Siberian Husky! The reason my friend got Zoey in the first place is because we felt so awful that Nikita was alone while he was at work!

Two dogs solves some problems, like loneliness and a stay-at-home packmate, and introduces a whole host of others (more expensive all around -- not just in vet bills and food and whatnot, but in your time). But I have to say, I cannot imagine these two being separated, and it does ease the "alone all day" guilt complex I also carry. :)

Ultimately I think whether or not your (solo) dog is healthy and happy or not boils down to your stance as pack leader (calm and in control) and the exercise (and diet) factor... the rest is icing -- any dog you would rescue from a shelter is lucky to have you because you are already thinking about these things and obviously care a lot!

Just don't overthink yourself into a knot -- some sweet little misunderstood pitbull out there needs you. :)
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Postby suebgone » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:45 pm

You will have to decide if you can offer a dog enough to make his life interesting for 8 hours a day alone.

A radio on a talk station, several Kong toys - they now have a dispenser for Kong toys. Any other action toys you can find.

Make sure you don't get a dog (or mix) that require a lot of exercise or don't crate well - ie: herding breeds - hunting breeds northern breeds. You will most likely end up with a basket case dog.

would it be possible for a walker come in just a couple days or day care just a day or two?

In answer to your actual question, yes, IMO it is sel-fish to have a dog when no one is there for over 8 hours. Trainers usually recommend crating for no more than 4 hours at a time. But beyond that -- the dog is crated for 8 - 9 hours - you come home & have what - maybe 3 hours tops until you go to bed. Now figure in the time spent on running errends, laundry, grocery shopping, going out with friends etc. How much real time would you actually spend with the dog?
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