Having a dog while working full-time

(17 Posts)
aurynne Sun 28-Feb-10 07:57:43

Hi all,

My DP and I are considering adopting a dog. However, we are soon going to be working full-time (I start in a week). I know there are lots of people owning dogs and working full-time out there, so there must be a way.

To the ones of you in the same situation, how do you do it (especially through the puppy months)? Do you leave the dog alone all day? Pay a dog-minder to check on them and give them a walk? Do you live them at dog day-care? Do you leave them with a friend during the day?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

aurynne Sun 28-Feb-10 07:58:57

"leave them"... I should re-read before I post...

i think that you shouldnt get a dog if you work full time, especially during the puppy stages. Your puppy needs to be socialised, fed 3 times a day and toilet trained. how can you do that if you arent there?

That is just irresponsible and the first 3 months are crucial for getting to know your puppy and doing gentle training.

How can you do that when you are at work? The only way it might possibly work is if you work shifts and one of you would be there.

Oh and any animal shelter or breeder worth their salt wouldnt let you adopt a dog/puppy if you work full time.

I have a slightly different view, which is that a home (whether empty for some of the day or not) is a much better place for a dog to be than in a cage in a rescue centre.

Agree that a puppy is a bad idea if you're planning on leaving it, but a dog aged 3 or above should be fine. I say "should" because of course many dogs from rescue centres have uncertain pasts and can be destructive. This is usually something which calms down when in a loving environment, but could wreck your home in the first few months of settling in.

I do speak from experience. I adopted my lovely dog aged 3 from a rescue centre. I worked full time. She would wee when seperated from me and howl/whine. Thankfully she did not destroy anything.

She had other behavioural problems which calmed down after a year or so.

I used to take her to work with me and leave her in the car for the morning (in the early days) - then tak her for a walk at lunch and drive her home for the remaining hours of the day. It worked for us - though I'm not recommending this as a permanent way of life.

nowadays (9 years on) I work part-time as I have a child, and my dog is happy to be left. On work days we always walk her in the morning, pay a neighbour to let her out at lunchtime and (when she was younger) walked her at night too.

Good luck. Dogs are great

MrsL123 Sun 28-Feb-10 10:01:08

We have two dogs and work full time - although we only work five minutes away so they're never left for the whole day. We leave just before 9am, are back home between 12.30 and 1.30, and then I get back home at 4 or 5 o'clock (depending what time I finish). During the day they have free access to the garden via a doggy flap, but this only works because we have a very secure garden with no access from the back, so no chance of anyone stealing them. At the moment the younger dog has to be crated for most of the day because she's recoving from an operation, so DH comes home mid morning and mid afternoon for 20 minutes to take her out for a wee. If we're going away for the whole day, they go to MILs. And they usually get an hour's walk in the morning and another hour at night.

When we got the second dog last year, I was off work for a month so was home all the time during toilet training etc, and then when I went back to work I was only doing 3 days a week (2 of which she went to MIL - other day DH was home). Now I've had to go back to full time because of finances, but the dogs are now older and are OK to be left for a few hours at a time. Plus they have each other for company, and are not locked in the house. I wouldn't leave a dog locked in the kitchen for hours at a time, especially on it's own, as it's a sure way to get destructive behaviour and a miserable dog. I know lots of people do it, but that doesn't mean it's OK. And a puppy would be out of the question - they have to be let out every few minutes to help with toilet training and need to be watched constantly, and definitely can't be left while you're at work. And the problem with doggy daycare is that the dog wouldn't know if it was coming or going, and would probably bond with the carer more than you (especially if it was a puppy).

An older dog might work, but again, not if you're going to be out of the house all day. I think it's different if you have a dog and then have to go back to work full time, of course you can't be expected to get rid of your dog, and have to find a way to make it work. But personally I wouldn't consider taking on a dog knowing I wouldn't be home all day.

CountryGirl2007 Sun 28-Feb-10 15:37:45

A pair of older dogs should be fine if you can find somebody to call in around lunchtime to let them out and also give them a short walk in the morning and a long one in the evening.

flowerybeanbag Sun 28-Feb-10 15:48:56

I doubt you'd be allowed to get a rescue dog if there's no one at home. You couldn't leave a puppy either. When our dog was a puppy I wasn't working and had no DC to look after. I spent all day with him basically, outside every half an hour to encourage toilet training and watching him like a hawk all the time for signs that he might want to go to the toilet.

Older dog plus dogwalker/friend might work though.

bunglecat77 Thu 04-Mar-10 12:31:20

I used to work at a dog rescue charity, and their standard policy was that they wouldn't let a dog go to anyone who planned to leave the dog at home on its own for more than 4 hours on a regular basis. Could one of you work from home a few days a week maybe?

Some breeds need more company and more activity than others, too. For instance, a border collie is a working breed, and lots of them will go insane if they're not out and about for most of the day so they're best suited to people who work outdoors. Labradors don't need as much activity as collies, but they get very miserable on their own for long periods and often develop destructive habits.

That said, there are some people who manage fine. I know someone who has a dog flap for their miniature schnauzer, for example. But they all work shifts, arrange daycare or get a pet minding service or neighbour to come to their house each day and spend time with the dog. You need a service that does more than just toileting and walking.

If your dog doesn't get enough company, he's very likely to:
be slow to learn training
urinate and defecate in your home
chew anything and everything - I've known dogs that have even chewed walls
become agitated, seeking attention when you're at home
become unfit and listless
bark when you go out
try to escape from your house and garden
generally drive your neighbours nuts

All of this goes double for puppies.

Dogs make great pets, but I'd honestly suggest you get cats instead.

iggypiggy Thu 04-Mar-10 12:37:57

Ok - I work full time and a have a dog that I have had from a puppy. it is do-able grin but not cheap..

With my now 3 1/2 yr old adult dog - this is his routine:

Walk with me at 7am for approx 40 mins
I leave for work at 8.30am
Dog Walker arrives at 11.30am and takes him for first walk with her - she keeps him with her until 3.30pm (approx - he is sometimes back at 4- 4.30pm depending on what else she is doing) and he gets 2 walks in that time - the rest of the time is at her house/ in her garden.
I arrive home at 5.30pm (sometimes my husband gets home earlier, but his job means he works random hours).
I take him out on a road walk/ wander at some point in the evening too.

As a puppy - the routine was differnt - I can share that with you if you like. Basically I never leave him for more than 3hrs at a time.

So it can be done, and I think my dog is v. happy. smile

iggypiggy Thu 04-Mar-10 12:42:45

Incidentally - I do wish people wouldn't say you can't have a dog and work full time - you can BUT you need to have a good dog walker/ minder and you need to be able to afford to pay for that.

I also work 10 mins drive from home - so if for any reason the dog walker can't make it - I pop back and walk him/ let him out during the day - which my job allows me to do as it is so rare.

Another thing that is important is to spend alot of time with your dog when you are there - eg. i do gundog training with mine (classes at weekends and practice at home)

I do really hate it when people leaves dogs all day when they go out for work tho sad - I just don't think it is fair. And i know a few people that do this...

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 04-Mar-10 14:09:34

iggy, what do you pay your dog walker/carer for the 5hrs orso that she has him every day?

iggypiggy Thu 04-Mar-10 14:19:21

blondes well... this is an odd answer - cos technically she is only paid for 2hrs of dog walking - she just likes to keep him with her for lunch... so I pay £6 per hour - so £12 per day or £60 per week (I know you can work that out - but never mind!)

She charges only £10 for a full day of looking after a dog tho - which i have told her is silly...

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 04-Mar-10 15:39:04

wow that is cheap smile

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 04-Mar-10 15:42:41

My DP would have loved to get a dog, however as we work FT we had to say no. It simply wouldn;t have been fair to leave the dog all day (no chance of getting back home at lunchtime).

People who leave a dog all day on its own are cruel and mad.

GypsyMoth Thu 04-Mar-10 15:44:04

my neighbour works full time....totally oblivious to the fact her dog barks all day constantly from the minute she leaves and stops the minute she returns.....and its us and the other neighbours who had to suffer this

we had to contact council in the end....and rspca....after popping note after note through her door

but its still going on

iggypiggy Thu 04-Mar-10 15:45:35

GerOrf - you could get a dog walker grin

Blondes - I know - I feel a bit bad that is so cheap.. but she is also excellent, fully insured and loves the dogs (and they love her) - However if she could no longer do it, I would pay more if i had to, just to get someone as good.. I spoke to alot of local dog walkers/ get refs etc. before picking her.

ASL Tue 09-Mar-10 15:01:57

<<People who leave a dog all day on its own are cruel and mad. >>

Oh, give me a break. Own two pugs... Was home to puppy train them and home for I say 7 years of their life.

Went to work full time. And they are fine.

It is not cruel or mad to do this. they are left 8 hours a day. No dog walker with full run of the house.

And yes I have been approved my rescues even though I worked full time. And currently have another rescue dog because one of our pugs died. And yes my vet gives me glowing references because we are willing to go to great lengths taking care of our dogs.

So, with in reason if you are conscious of your dog being a pack animal you can leave them home 8 hours a day.

Meaning if you ignore the dog or no time for the dog when you come home then I say yeah, probably should not have a dog at all. They do need some attention.

But overall 16 hours a day they have to spend with you. that is 2/3 of the day.

And even when I was home, my first pug puppy was depressed after a while because he had no play mate. So we got a second pug puppy.

So whether you are home or not, it is really up to each individual dog about how well they handle being the lone dog/animal in the house or if they need a companion.

I know from expereince someone being home and working there does not always help a dog from being lonely.

Some dogs need other animal companionship, some human companionship and some dogs are fine being home alone.

Do research, be conscious of the commitment because it is like having a child. It does require attention and love.

Overall, if I was you I would stagger your work day. For istance if I got another puppy I would ask to work from 10:30-6:30 and hubby would work from 7:00-3:30.

Thus needing to fill the 5 hours inbetween with a dog walker once a day.

And you could search out a day care that you could take the puppy to tuesday and thursday instead of a dog walker for socialization.

Mind you this schedule and need does not need to be permament just until they are old enough.

And this does take money.

Or as someone mentioned adopt a 2 year old or older dog. After they have gotten past the puppy stage and only need some re-enforcing of potty training habits.

That is my two cents. But by know means do not let people make you feel guilty.

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