Being a dog owner is very rewarding, but it’s also a big responsibility.
How time-consuming is it really? How long can dogs be left home alone?
Most importantly – will you be able to be a good dog owner if you work full time?
It takes a lot of time, energy and will to raise a puppy – no doubt about that! But is it impossible to achieve that if you work full time? Some believe that it’s selfish to get a dog if you don’t have that much time on your hands, while others believe you can achieve both.
You can’t make up your mind? Read this article and see what you think! We’ll answer your most common questions on this subject as we continue.
Can Dogs Be Home Alone?
This is probably the first question you ask yourself when trying to decide if it’s a good idea to get a dog. Dogs are social animals and most of them love spending time with their family. So, will they be able to stay home alone while you’re at work?
This largely depends on the dog breed. Some breeds hate being alone while other dog breeds are much better at being left alone and can stay home without company for longer periods of time. Check out what breeds can be left alone in this article.
So, if you’re away for eight or more hours, you should inform yourself beforehand what breeds can be alone longer.
What Do Dogs Do When Home Alone?
The big question is – how do you keep your dog busy while at work? You’ve probably heard that some dogs can be really destructive when home alone and bark and howl a lot. This is not an ideal situation for you or for your neighbors!
And while some dogs seem to create nothing but problems when home alone, other are really calm and sleep a lot in order to save their energy for when you come home. Naturally, you would prefer your dog to be in the second category. The best way to achieve that is to provide a lot of exercise and activity when you come home from work and during weekends. If you do that, your dog will probably enjoy napping and resting during the day. Leaving stimulative music on is also a great idea!
It’s all about making your dog feel comfortable when home alone!
How Do You Make Your Dog Comfortable Home Alone?
Instead of asking yourself if it’s possible to raise a dog when you’re working, you should think about how to make your dog comfortable when staying home alone. Here are a couple of tips on how to achieve that:
1. Break Up The Day
Nowadays, there are a lot of things you can do to break up your dog’s day. For instance, you can hire a professional dog walker to take your dog out while you’re at work. That way your dog gets both exercise and some company.
You can also come home during your lunch break, if you have the possibility, and take your dog for a walk and spend some time together with him/her. And if you have a friend or neighbor who’s home during the day, you can naturally ask him/her to swing by your home. It doesn’t have to be a long visit, but it will break up the day and make time fly by faster.
Finally, there are a lot of daily boarding facilities where you can leave your dog during a day or two, if you feel that your dog has been home alone a little too much lately.
2. Provide Toilet Area
As you can imagine, it can be really difficult to go 8 or more hours without a toilet break. This is why you have to make sure you solve this issue before you start leaving your dog home alone for longer periods. As mentioned above, there are different ways you can solve this. And it goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave your dog in a crate while you’re away for such a long period of time.
3. Make Home A Comfortable Place
Make sure your home is a warm and safe place for your dog. Naturally, there are many different ways to establish that as every dog is different. However, we can all agree that dogs need space and that you shouldn’t leave them confined in a room, or even worse in a crate. You can also leave around toys you know your dog likes and/or leave the TV or some music on.
Challenges With Raising A Dog While Working
If you’re planning on raising and training a puppy while working full time, you have to know what some possible challenges include, so you can handle them properly. Let’s take a look at what they are!
House training is a very important part of training a puppy. It can be a challenge even when you’re at home during the day, not to mention when you’re working full hours!
Apart from having to teach your puppy where it’s appropriate to “go”, you also have to have in mind that puppies have much smaller bladders than adult dogs and that they don’t have as much bladder control as older dogs. Usually, puppies need to be taken out every hour or two. And if you’re working, that’s pretty impossible, right?
There are several things you can do in order to solve this problem, including hiring a professional dog walker or having a friend or neighbor drop by and taking your puppy out. However, most dog owners handle this challenge by paper training.
This means putting newspapers in designated potty areas, similar to a bathroom spot. Instead of newspapers, there are specially made puppy pads and other means nowadays, but the principle is always the same – getting your puppy to pee on that exact place. This teaches your dog that it’s not acceptable to go wherever and it also makes cleaning easier.
For more info on paper training read this article and check out the video below for more info on house training while working!
This is the problem most dog owners worry about. Will your dog feel lonely during the day? Will it lead to destructive behavior? How can you handle this potential problem?
As mentioned, not all dogs are equally good at being alone. While this has to be taken into consideration when choosing a dog, it’s the dog’s personality that also plays a role. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety more than others and can become really destructive when home alone. It’s not uncommon to come home and find destroyed shoes and furniture and traces of urine everywhere.
Besides potentially ruining your home, your dog can also disturb the entire neighborhood by its barking and howling. This is why you have to take step by step and not just leave your dog home alone for 8 hours without any adjustment time. Start slowly, so that your dog has time to get used to being alone.
It’s also important to provide distractions while you’re gone, so that your dog has something to do during those hours.
Not Enough Time For Training
As you probably know, you can’t exactly train your puppy whenever you want. There’s a so-called critical period, approximately from the time your puppy is 3 weeks old until the age of 12 weeks. During that time you have to train and socialize your puppy, as dogs at that age are the most perceptive and will form habits easily. If you miss this period for training, it will be very difficult later.
Naturally, you’re wondering if you will be able to train your puppy properly during this period while working full time. However, this isn’t something you should worry about as training isn’t the most effective when it’s done during longer periods of time. Instead, you should train your dog frequently, but in short intervals. Puppies, like children, have short attention spans which is why you should have short, but effective, training periods for 5 to 10 minutes.
This can easily fit into your working schedule. You can have a short training session before work and a couple of them when you come home. Even if you were home all day, there wouldn’t be any point in training your dog all day long. It’s only important that you keep your training sessions regular and that you do your best during the sessions.
Tips When Raising A Puppy And Working Full Time
As you can see, it’s possible to work and raise a puppy at the same time, but you have to make some compromises and think things through beforehand. Here are a couple of tips that can help:
- Do everything gradually. This really goes for most things. You have to adapt your dog to alone time gradually, instead of leaving him/her for several hours in the beginning. You also have to be patient about house training and other training aspects, as it might not go as fast as if you had more time. However, it’s important that you’re consistent and you will get there.
- Spend a lot of time together when home. It’s sometimes better to spend a couple of real quality-time hours, instead of just being there. So, when you come home from work, make sure to spend as much time together as possible and provide activities and exercise you know your dog appreciates. However, that doesn’t mean you should smother your dog when you get home, as the separation anxiety may become worse when left alone. Try to create a balance.
- Be realistic. Before you get a dog, you have to be aware of how much time and money you will have. Will you be able to take long lunch breaks sometimes? Will you have money to hire professional dog walkers or leave your dog at a day care some days? You need to take everything into consideration before you bring a dog into your life.
- Exercise or play with your dog before heading out to work. This way your pooch will be more tired when you leave, and have some extra hours to spend in napping and sleeping. It will make time run faster and make him less anxious about you not being next to him.
Good news – it’s completely possible to raise a puppy, all while working full time! Which is a great things, as most of us have to work during the day, but would still love to have a dog.
However, you have to think things through beforehand and be realistic about what challenges could come up and how to handle them. The most common are separation anxiety, difficulties with house training and possibly not much time for training. These are all important issues and you should try to find a solution for them the best you can.
You should also try to find a breed that tolerates being alone more and make home a comfortable place, by leaving out distractions while you’re away. Remember – it’s important to be consistent and make an effort and you will do an excellent job at raising your puppy!