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Leaving puppy alone all day(139 Posts)
My puppy is 6 months now. We got him at 8 weeks. I took the first 2 weeks we had him off work completely to help settle him in, and then returned part time either working in the morning or the afternoon for 4 hours. He was good as gold and the half a day he was left alone I would always get home to him playing with his toys or most of the time, fast asleep.
It's been a great few months with him but unfortunately couldn't afford to not return to work full time. I've been back full time for one week, to try and make the transition easier I've been going home for an hour at lunch and walking him and then popping home again at about 3pm for 15 minutes just to check up on him.
There's been a pretty obvious pattern of we leave him in the morning, he's good as gold and we return at lunch time to find him quite happy and no damage. However when I've been popping home mid-afternoon (where possible) or getting home from work at 5 we've been getting home to a complete mess. I'm talking wallpaper ripped off the wall, furniture chewed, ripped up toys. He's obviously reaching his threshold for being alone and getting bored and destructive.
DH and I didn't get a dog for a long time as we felt too guilty about our hours, so once we'd saved enough for me to take a few months part time we went for it figuring there's never a perfect time. We both have 2 days off a week, only 1 of those is normally the same day so puppy does get 3 days a week where he's not left alone, and if i go home for lunch he gets an hour and a walk, if DH goes home he'll get about half an hour and a run around the garden but not a walk. We leave the house about 9 and return around 5. Does anyone have any advice of how we can work around this? I don't want our pup to suffer but we need to work, we live rurally so hiring a dog walker isn't an option unfortunately.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Of the seven days, how many is he left alone?
@sofato5miles 4 out of 7 days he's on his own from 9-1 and then has an hour with me until 2, I pop home again at 3/3.30 for 15 minutes and then I get home around 5.
I won't be able to come back for 15 minutes mid afternoon for much longer, and as of a January onwards I won't always be able to go home for lunch everyday and DH will instead, but he only gets half an hour.
Was the plan always to go back to work full time? If so, then you made a big, very selfish, mistake, an older dog (8+) might tolerate it but a 6 month old pup is like a young teenager, he must be bored stupid, poor thing
If you can’t, or won’t, get a dog walker/day care then I don’t see how you can work round it.
Just seen your update. That’s totally unfair on your dog, I think the fairest thing is to return him to the breeder (provided they were reputable) or to a responsible breed rescue
@Costacoffeeplease I know countless people who have had dogs from puppies and work full time, great loving dog owners with happy dogs. I've done a lot more than a large amount of people taking as much time off as I have to try and make sure he's happy. I'm asking for recommendations of what I can do to make sure he's more comfortable so please do not come at me calling me selfish.
There is absolutely no way on this earth we are returning him to his breeder, he is so so loved and already an important part of the family.
he's on his own from 9-1 and then has an hour with me until 2, I pop home again at 3/3.30 for 15 minutes and then I get home around 5.
After which stage does he start getting destructive?
@Nesssie Between 3-5pm by the looks of it
I'd suggest doggy day care or a dog walker tbh. I agree with others, that's far too long for a puppy to be left alone.
I don’t know anyone who works full time and has a happy puppy
You have asked what you can do to make him happier, and I have replied, imho. I don’t think there’s anything you can do, especially from January. And you may not like it, but you have been very selfish - we’re you honest with where you got him from, that he’d be left so much? I’m surprised a breeder sold him to you, unless it was a front for a puppy farm tbh
Half an hour really isn't long enough at lunchtime, especially for such a young dog. A dog walker or doggy day care would be better. When ours goes to the walker we pay for an hours walk but he's always out for at least two hours and is shattered when he gets home.
My dogs are very happy alone and can manage 7/8 hours if absolutely necessary although I would always try and avoid that. They are two and it took a great deal of time and patience to get them to this stage.
One dog isn’t happy unless he’s in a crate he’s so unsettled and the other used to wee everywhere.
Have you actually looked into a dog walker? You might be surprised. Other than a dog walker what about doggy day care? Somewhere close by to your work so you could drop off and collect on your way to and from work.
The more you continue to leave him like this the more anxious he will be as like you’ve said he’s clearly reaching his limit. Are you providing mental stimulation while your out?
There is absolutely no way on this earth we are returning him to his breeder,
Even if it’s in his best interests?
First thing is to limit the things he has access to so he can't destroy them.
When you leave him at 3pm can you give him an interactive feeder, chew or frozen kong to keep him occupied? Or fill a box with scrunched up paper and treats so he cant chew/destroy that instead.
You might find the popping home at 3pm is over stimulating him, causing the destructiveness.
Jesus Christ I would rather default on my loan repayments and keep working part time than return him to the breeder. We are completely in love with him. Reading these replies is absolutely breaking my heart I'm going to talk to DH about finances and how I can continue part time I'm not losing him
I don’t know anyone who works full time and has a happy puppy - Me. Although at 5 years he isn't a puppy anymore.
Its all about routine and giving them things to do. You don't want to overstimulate on the walk, or make them thirsty, so maybe some mental games would be better.
Thank you so much for the suggestions @Nesssie I've been in tears reading the others I feel so hopeless I will try these
@Harrypotterfan1604 We've struggled to find anything but will have another look. Thank you
The ideal solution would be daycare or a walker but if this really isn’t possible do you have a secure garden?, normally our dog is not left for more than a few hours but on the odd occasion that we’re going out straight from work etc and it will be a long time between the lady who looks after him all day returning him home and us getting in from work he stays outside. We do however have a large secure garden with a sheltered carport he can access (he has a bed, food,water in here) if weather is bad.
I work in the office full time three days a week. My puppy has always gone to daycare as I know he would not tolerate being alone for more than around 3 hours in total a day. He is now 2 years old and shows no sign of tolerating any more hours being alone so I will continue to send him to daycare.
Rather than going back to part time why not look at daycare instead. Daycare is around £20-£25 a day here.
Were you honest with the breeder?
welshgal2 MN doesn't believe you can have a dog and work. You can - BUT it depends on the dog, and it takes time. The fact that he is fine for the first half of the day means you don't have a dog with severe separation anxiety. You've done the sensible thing by taking time off, popping home etc. Now you just have to build up the home alone time, all dogs have a different limit.
I find stuffed kongs, bones etc to be really good, freeze them to take even longer. Can you leave the tv/radio on so he can hear that?
I would try and block or even remove the furniture he is destroying. Maybe buy one of those metal play pens and use the gates to block off the sofa/table whatever he is chewing.
Does he toilet in the house at all?
If you can pop home at lunch and so can your dh, then why dont you both go home each day?
dog left 9am. You return 12.30-1.30, give food and 30min walk. Then your dh return 3.30pm for 30 mins for walk etc. or the other way around
That way its only being left max 3 1/2 hours alone.
How long does it get for a walk in the morning? now its 6 months it probably needs far longer than it used to do. Maybe increase walk an extra 30 mins so it gets a good 60-90 mins am walk