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Leaving 10 month old dog alone because I have to go back to work. Any help?

(24 Posts)
gonetoflower Sun 15-Jan-17 19:25:16

When my DM died suddenly earlier this year, we inherited her beagle who was 6 months old at the time.

He is now 10 months old and has settled in well, though doesn't like being left alone. I have filmed him when we all have left the house for one reason or another, and he cries for a minute and then settles down to watch things out of the window etc.

I have been able to give him a lot of time because I have been a SAHM, but now I'm going to have to go back to work due to unforeseen financial difficulties.

DH will be able to give him a 30 min walk in the morning (can be more if needed). I will be working a 5 mins drive away and will be able to give him a 45 min walk at lunch time, and then will be back for the day at 4pm. We can give him an hour-long walk at night.

Basically, he will be on his own between 8 and 4, apart from lunch time and I feel awful thinking about how he will cope. Obviously, we'll keep him well-stocked with a treat ball, kong, bones, toys etc.

My DM got him from her elderly friends who couldn't cope with him so we're his third household; I think that's what's made him not like being alone.

I thought about a Thundershirt but he hates having his harness/ coat on so I don't think he'd like it.

Is there anything else we can do? Do you think we need to find someone else to pop in during the day or is lunch-time enough?

KinkyAfro Sun 15-Jan-17 19:46:06

It's far too long to leave a puppy on its own, it will be lonely and bored. I think unless you can have more people popping in during the day, I'd seriously think about rehoming

Holz657 Sun 15-Jan-17 19:48:59

Hire a dog walker? Not fair on the poor dog being left alone all that time. My friends work but have a lady coming in twice a day to walk their dog. Works out great

Redazzy Sun 15-Jan-17 19:49:32

Let me get this straight, he will be left from 8 until lunchtime when he will have a 45 minute walk, then from lunchtime until 4pm. Doesn't sound unreasonable to me at all.

Skinimum Sun 15-Jan-17 19:52:21

I'm a responsible dog owner and would happily leave a dog for as long as you are suggesting. Is he in a crate? Make sure he can't chew anything if he is bored.

Don't stress, he's a dog. He'll get used to it.

Laineymc7 Sun 15-Jan-17 19:56:08

If the is walked in the morning and again at lunch time he will be ok. Leave toys out, a Kong with food a block of wood to chew, and maybe leave radio/tv on. He will probably sleep while you are out. 4 hours is ok. I don't know when you are starting back at work but build it up a couple of hours a day leaving him on his own so he's used to you coming and going.

missyB1 Sun 15-Jan-17 20:00:19

I think it sounds reasonable, he's never going to be more than 4 hours on his own by the sounds of it and he will get 3 walks a day.

applesareredandgreen Sun 15-Jan-17 20:03:09

My dog is similar age to yours and has been left 3 - 5 hours most week days (depending on shifts) since 14 weeks. We had him at 9 weeks and after first 2 weeks we gradually left him a bit longer until it was time to return to work. He is absolutely fine - as long as we leave some background noise (preferably tumble dryer, he likes the warmth) and put a kong down as we leave he just sleeps. Obviously this will depend on your individual dog and I understand some dog breeds are generally better at being left than others ie more independent.

Are you able to phase in your return to work eg do just mornings the first week to ease him in and see how he gets on?

tinymeteor Sun 15-Jan-17 20:20:27

It's not the end of the world in the long term, when he's older. Beagles are pretty sturdy characters and while they thrive on company they can cope alone, especially if it's a familiar routine and there's a window to look out of. They may bark though, so your neighbours might complain.

However, at 10 months he'll have a lot of energy to burn and could get destructive or stressed. Can you afford doggy daycare for a while, even for a couple of days a week to tire him out?

Otherwise can you make arrangements for someone to go in and play with him during the day? Willing neighbours maybe? is a good source of students and homeworkers who would love to teach a cute puppy some tricks.

gonetoflower Sun 15-Jan-17 20:20:48

Thanks, everyone.

I honestly don't think rehoming is best for him; he's been through so much change already. I think it would just make him an anxious wreck, KinkyAfro.

I'm so glad others seem to think this is doable. I can't phase my return to work but I'm not starting for another few weeks and I could just leave the house for a while to get him more used to it.

He was crate-trained by his first owners but he seems happier in a basket, watching the world go by out of the window. We've child-gated a room so at night and when he's alone, that's where he's left.

Will put a radio in the room. I'm guessing a classical station is best?

Gah! I wish I didn't have to go back to work until he was a bit older.

tinymeteor Sun 15-Jan-17 20:20:57

Very sorry for your loss, BTW. flowers

Noitsnotteatimeyet Sun 15-Jan-17 20:29:12

I leave radio 4 on for my dog when we have to leave him on his own - I think the sound of human speech is quite comforting to him, certainly he just snoozes for most of the time we're out. On days when both dh and I are out from 8:30 we get a dog walker to come in at 12/12:30 and then he's out and about until 3-ish and then ds2 is home soon after 3:30, so fairly similar to what you're proposing. Maybe you could get someone to take him out for a bit longer a couple of days a week to help break it up a bit but rehoming in these circumstances would definitely be much worse for him

taptonaria27 Sun 15-Jan-17 21:57:14

I think it could be fine but you really need to start building it up gradually from now. Set up a camera (Presence app on iPad eg) and get him used to you leaving for increasing periods of time.

GinIsIn Sun 15-Jan-17 22:00:17

Have you got time to work up to it? I would ignore the PP's comment about crating - whilst it's just about OK time wise to leave him, it would be be far too long to leave the dog crated.

Wolfiefan Sun 15-Jan-17 22:01:44

How long is he happy being left for at the moment? If he's perfectly happy being left for three or four hours at a time that's fine. If the longest he has ever been left is half an hour then it's not going to work. Doggy daycare? Could a neighbour or friend have him? Dog walker to pop in and visit? Can DH or you start early or finish early and so leave him for less time?

roseteapot101 Sun 15-Jan-17 22:03:33

the radio not classical find a channel with lots of talking

SlothMama Sun 15-Jan-17 22:05:34

Is there anyway he can go to doggy daycare? Or arrange for neighbours or friends to visit him during the day?

If not you'll just need to see how he goes, my dog was left for that amount of time with his toys and games to keep him occupied. But he was fine being alone and we were the only household he'd ever known so it is a bit different.

If you decide that you can't keep him, I am involved with alot of dog rescues as a volunteer so would happily help you.
I do hope this all works out without rehoming

Empress13 Sun 15-Jan-17 22:11:43

He'll be fine OP. He's getting a wAlk in morning and then again at lunch so will prob sleep between then. It's well known dogs do a lot of sleeping during the day. The secret is to tire him out before you leave so he will just want to rest and ensure he has water and plenty of toys, kong etc.

As for rehomjng him FGS who's to say he'll go to a good home where he won't still be left? Poor baby has had enough upheaval in his short life.

It will be fine OP.

Blackfellpony Mon 16-Jan-17 06:06:33

I wouldn't send an anxious dog to daycare, get it wrong and it could make him worse.

Personally I would leave mine for this length of time. If I am going out I give them a really long run before I leave, give kongs and treats and leave the TV on. They sleep the day away until I get back!

MaynJune Mon 16-Jan-17 11:00:32

I did the same with a very nervous dog I had rehomed. She was only slightly older than yours at the time.
I had less time with her at lunchtime but a neighbour took her out about 11am with his dog, which helped too.
She adapted really well to my routine, as long as I got home sharp at 4pm. every day.

The other thing I had to do for the first couple of months was to go out without her for a bit each day at the weekend, just for an hour or two. If I didn't she was very anxious on Mondays. This gradually got better.

MaynJune Mon 16-Jan-17 11:04:00

And I agree with Empress. It would be awful for him to be rehomed again, and he might end up with someone who leaves him eight hours a day.
I hope it works out for you. He should be fine.

gonetoflower Mon 16-Jan-17 15:06:10

We've left him alone for about 2-3 hours every now and then, but he's not a fan. I left him today for 3 hours 45 min.

I left my old phone recording him and he sulked with his chin on the windowsill for about 10 mins, then went to play with his treat ball. The rest of the time he slept.

He always acts weirdly when we get back from him being left alone. Getting on his back (never does this at any other time) and doing stress-licking (just his face, not anything else) for about 15 secs. It makes me think he's been anxious? To look at the recording, he was properly asleep and snoring, though?

He's a very smart dog, although we all think that about out dogs grin; he only takes a short while to learn new commands so I do worry about him getting bored if he's not tired.

I've looked into those puzzle games you can get, but he's got the instinct to destroy his prey toys unless they're made out of something impossible to break. I wouldn't want him tearing a piece off and chewing on it.

I do think like Empress says, that tiring him out is key. We took him out for a 2 hour walk at the weekend and he was dead to the world from 5pm until 8am. Well, apart from when we rudely woke him up for a pee grin

gonetoflower Mon 16-Jan-17 15:11:41

Oh yeah, I meant to say I left Radio 4 on for him. I couldnt see that it made a difference but it's not going to hurt- he might've loved it for all I know!

TheCrowFromBelow Mon 16-Jan-17 16:30:21

My dog has 6music on.
I used to worry horribly but he just gives the house a once over to see if anyone's left any food around and then he sleeps.

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