Advice On Raising A Puppy When You Work Full Time

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In this article we are going to look at what is involved in successfully raising a puppy when you work full time.

Leaving a puppy alone while at work is something you’ll probably be concerned about and you’ll want to be sure that your puppy is safe, happy and healthy if you plan to do this.

We’ll talk about how long a puppy can be left alone during the day, what to do with your puppy while you are at work, how to crate train a puppy when you work and much more.

Can I have a dog when I work?

Raising a puppy while working can be done, but you need to do it right

This article is not about whether or not people that work ‘should’ have a dog, we tackle that tricky subject in another article!

You’ll find lots of information there, so if you haven’t got your dog yet, head over and check it out.

Solving problems that can arise with a puppy while you are at work

I am often asked questions in the comments section,  by new puppy owners that are leaving their puppy alone in the house all day.

They are not sure what to do with their puppy while at work. They are having problems with house-training.

Or problems with him chewing stuff, and with barking or howling while they are gone.

Let’s look first at some of the problems that can arise, when people attempt to combine a full-time job with a puppy.  And at how we can help you to avoid them.

Labrador puppy bed wetting

A common problem in home alone puppies is ‘bed wetting’.   The owner has read that crate training is a good idea,  which it is,  but has not read the part about the puppy’s bladder capacity.

combining a labrador puppy with full time workDuring the day, many 8-10 week old Labrador puppies have a tiny bladder capacity that can hold around an hour’s urine.

Maximum.

Of course, there are some that can last much longer.  But they usually belong to someone else.

Some puppies will last not much more than twenty minutes at certain times of the day during the first week or so.

As you can see, it is not possible to leave a brand new puppy in a crate for longer than an hour at most (during the day) without risking accidents.  This doesn’t mean you can’t crate train your puppy, and we’ll talk about that in a moment.

Does it matter if a puppy wets his bed?

Does it really matter if the puppy wet’s his bed at this age?  Won’t he just grow out of it?

kong gyro dog  toyWell, yes it does matter,  because once a puppy has wet his bed a few times, he’ll stop minding.

He’ll also stop trying to hold on for a bit longer.

This can delay the house training process considerably and even create a long term bed wetting problem.

Which is of course, the opposite of what we want.

Where is the best place to leave a puppy while you are at work?

So, if you are out at work for several hours, you can’t leave your puppy in a crate

Nor can you give your tiny puppy the ‘run of the house’.  He’ll pee and poop everywhere, and chew up your things.

This means you’ll either need to puppy proof a safe room for him, or provide him with a playpen

A puppy proof room

Many people realise this, and just leave the puppy in their kitchen, because, sensibly, it has a washable floor.  Depending on your home, even this arrangement may not be ideal.

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Unfortunately, many puppies left alone for hours on end, will chew things up.

This includes the cable on your refrigerator,  the kitchen towel you left trailing over the edge of the unit, and the Puppy Pads you put down for him to pee on.

So you can see you will need to ‘puppy proof’ your chosen room quite carefully.

Some puppies are ‘extreme chewers’  and may destroy table legs, floor covering, and even the skirting boards which you thought were firmly attached to the wall. For this kind of puppy, you’ll need a better solution.

Which brings us to puppy pens.

Puppy pens and barriers

In order to control the area to which your puppy has access, one solution is a sturdy puppy pen.
51PN3zkZc6L  These come in sections and can be assembled to fit most rooms.  You will need one in addition to your crate.

The flimsier ones are not robust enough for older puppies to be left in unsupervised.

You need one like this (illustrated here): Heavy Duty Puppy Pen

There is plenty of room here for the puppy to stretch his legs, and empty his bowels and bladder away from his sleeping quarters.

This helps to preserve his natural instincts to keep his den clean.   Later, your whole  home will be his den, so we want to keep this instinct nice and strong.

Howling and barking

Puppies get lonely if left on their own for too long or too soon, and before they feel safe in your house. Puppies that are lonely will often howl, and scream.

Small puppies have surprisingly large voices.

Unless your home is separated from your neighbours by a good 50 yards, they will be able to hear your puppy screaming.  And they won’t like it.

The answer is to limit the time your puppy spends on his own to a reasonable and appropriate amount for his age.  And to provide him with entertainment.

Monitoring

If you want to know whether your dog is potentially making a nuisance of himself to your neighbours, or getting upset whilst you are away, you can consider investing in a monitoring system.

The best pet monitors allow you to interact with your dog, as well as watch him.
The best pet monitors allow you to interact with your dog, as well as watch him.

Pet Monitors use your WiFi signal to send video of your pet to you on your mobile device or to your computer at work.

You can then make sure that your pet is okay at home.

Some have  motion detecting, so it only switches on when your dog is moving around.

More comprehensive models even have a two-way microphone so that you can talk to your dog at home.

Other’s are fully interactive with treat dispensers and even games.

You can find out all about monitoring systems in our in-depth article here.

The first few weeks

Small puppies need help with toilet training and socialisation, and can become very distressed if isolated for long periods of time in a strange place.

Separation anxiety can be very hard to cope with and so it is important that a puppy is introduced to solitude in a gradual manner, and after he has settled in to his new home.

This means you will need to arrange more help in the early months of your puppy’s life, than you will when he is older.

Crate training a puppy when you work

You can still crate train your puppy when you work full time, but you’ll need to do the training when you are at home to begin with.

This is because early crate training involves leaving the puppy for very short periods of time, and because a small puppy can’t hold his bladder for very long.

So if you left him in a crate while you were at work all day, he’d soon learn to mess in his crate, which is not what you want to happen.

Check out our full length guide to crate training for more information

Keeping your puppy company when at work

As you can see,  if you work full-time when your puppy is very small, you will need someone else to be there in your place.

This is both to establish good toileting habits, and to introduce him to the concept of learning to be alone for longer periods.  There are lots of options for arranging this kind of care, and we look at them in our Day Care Options For Labradors article.

Entertaining your puppy when you work

Bored puppies are often noisy puppies.  One of the best ways to occupy a puppy whilst he adjusts to being alone is with food filled frozen puppy kongs.

You can read all about Kongs and how great they are, in this article. feeding2

Looking ahead to your older dog

It may be unavoidable in an emergency, but it is probably not reasonable, to leave any dog alone indoors for the entire working day, on a regular basis.

Depending on their temperament, some adult dogs may cope with the isolation, but many will become distressed, or bored, and get into mischief.

And it is never pleasant being denied access to toilet facilities for hours on end.

So, if you have to work full-time, you really do need to arrange for someone to visit your dog and take him out for some fresh air and exercise, at least once during the middle of the day.

For the rest of his life.

That is quite a commitment, and you need to consider this when arranging to buy a puppy.  But what about when your puppy is still small.  Just how long can a puppy be left alone?

How long can a puppy be left alone?

Here are some guidelines to help you figure out what kind of help you are going to need at each stage.

From 8-10 weeks of age:  The new puppy needs a lot of attention and companionship.  For the first few days your home is a stranger’s home.  And he may be very upset to be left alone there.

You need to either arrange for time off work to be with him for much of the day,  or for someone else to look after him whilst you are at work.

He needs to be taken out to his toilet area at very frequent intervals (see our housetraining articles), and gradually accustomed to spending longer periods of time alone.

He also needs to be taken on lots of outings to ensure he is properly socialised.  This is vital, and difficult (if not impossible) to cram into evenings and weekends.

If you leave him alone too soon and for too long,  he may get very distressed.

From 10-12 weeks of age:  Your puppy’s bladder capacity is increasing but he may still be unable to last the four hours until you come home at lunch time.

If you crate him, you’ll need to arrange for someone to come in and let him out mid-morning.  Or the equivalent for an afternoon or evening shift.

If you leave him alone for four hours, you’ll need a puppy pen to keep him safe and out of mischief. With his night crate at one end with the door open,  so that he can empty his bladder away from his sleeping quarters.

From 3-6 months of age: By the time he is six months old, your puppy will probably be able to last three to four hours without a wee, and he may be happy to sleep those four hours away in a large adult sized crate.

It is important here to consider the journey time to and from work.  People often say “I only work four hours” but in reality, the dog is left a good deal longer than that because of the travel time involved.

If you are going to leave your dog any more than four hours, then he really would be better off with a puppy pen arrangement.

Bear in mind that some six month old pups can jump quite high, so if he starts escaping the pen you will have to re-think.

Bear in mind also, that this is the age at which some dogs become very destructive, especially if they are bored.  So you probably will not want to give him the run of the house just yet.

These are broad guidelines of course, and every dog is different.

Do be prepared to ask for support and advice from your vet, breeder and other experienced dog professionals, if you are concerned about how long to leave your puppy at any particular stage in his development.

Your back up

It is worth considering that things can change.  Dog creches can close, dog walkers get sick, etc.

So you really do need a back up plan.

You need a friend or relative who will step in if your arrangements are interrupted or if someone lets you down.

Combining work and dog ownership can be done, with thought, effort and often not inconsiderable expense.

Sadly, it is not unusual for dog welfare to be compromised in homes where everyone works.

But this does not need to be the case, if proper arrangements are put in place, with provision made for emergencies.

How did you cope?

Do you combine working full time with raising a puppy?  How did you cope, and what arrangements did you put in place to keep your dog happy?   Share with our readers in the comments box below.  And don’t forget to join the forum for support and advice from other working puppy parents.

More information on puppies

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

Published in April 2014, the Happy Puppy covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

 

This article has been revised and updated for 2016

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

40 COMMENTS

  1. This article does a great job of explaining the importance of proper early stage training and interaction with puppies. My wife and I had a Labradoodle we brought home at 9 weeks. I took the first week off of work to help ease him in to the house. It was not a vacation:) We started crate training immediately as the breeder was already getting them used to a crate for a few weeks with their mother. During that week I was home I frequently gave the crate command and got him inside with a treat, walked away, waited for him to relax or be silent, then came back in and praised him calmly for a job well done. I increased time away and went outside to work on the yard etc. and came back in. In order to help the transition being away from his litter I set up a cot next to his crate at night so I could sleep next to him. We also placed things that smelled like my wife and I in his crate to get him attached to our scent. Surprisingly, he slept like a rock from the first night on. I’d have to wake him up every 2-3 hours in the middle of the night to potty. Another week in and he was sleeping through the night and going into his crate without command.
    Against the advice given in this article I’d say by about 12 weeks in we were leaving him in his crate for ~2.5-3hrs at a time. We never heard a peep when we’d leave but that’s primarily because we explored, ran, trained with commands extensively before we left. Again at Lunch when we came home. And again at night. It’s exhausting, but worth it. at about 4-6 months old we started letting him graduate from crate to crate and laundry room, to kitchen, then to whole house. Not one accident in the house! If we had an accident we would have moved a level of freedom back and work back up to total free roam. I’d love to say it was our expert training but he was an extremely smart dog. Not every time will it work out like this but stay determined and stay calm. you’ll want to get ultra excited when your dog does well but a firm but gentle hand is key.

  2. We need some advice. We just brought an 8 month old chocolate lab home on Sunday. We both work full time leaving the house at 7:00 AM and returning at 5:00 PM. During the day my boyfriend will go home at 11:00 to let him out and play and I will go home at 1:30 to do the same. We leave his crate open in the kitchen and that’s the only area he has access too. We put puppy pads down all around. When my boyfriend went home for lunch today he had pooped three times once on the pad, twice on the floor and peed twice, once on the pad, once on the floor. We hope this is temporary. I know it’s not the ideal situation but we don’t have any other options. I was hoping to find someone who is in this same situation, or has been to talk ideas over with. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • I would look at what you are feeding him, I have a 7 month old puppy and he never has accidents. I work full time and he has a morning poo, I call home at lunchtime and he has another poo, and again after work at 5pm. So three poos in such a short space of time is a bit worrying. I would also take away the puppy pads as this is allowing him to go in the house, and at that age he should be able to go 5 hours without the loo, but obviously needs to learn this gradually. Lots and lots of praise when he goes outside to do his business.

    • Just adopted our 12 week Whoodle home (1/2 standard poodle, 1/2 Wheaten Terrier). Husband took him to work entire 1st week. Worked well for pup but not husband because pup would howl every time he’d step out of his office. So now we’re into our 2nd week. I worked 1/2 days first few days and then full days. Pup is alone 9 hrs in laundry room and seems ok so far. There’s a window so he gets light and I leave soft music playing for him, toys, bed, blankets, pee pads, etc. He tears up the pee pads and doesn’t pee/poop til I get home. I take him out just before I leave and immediately when I return. So far, so good. I am annoyed when people say you can’t have a dog when you work full time. I want a walking companion in the mornings and we plan to camp and backpack with him. He will have a fine life and be well loved. It’s all in the planning.

  3. We brought our puppy home over the Christmas holiday break so had 2-3 weeks settling her in, toilet training and getting used to being left alone for small periods.
    She is now 15 weeks and spends her time in the backyard, and not in the house whilst we are at work.

  4. Hi!
    I was a stay at home dog mom until my puppy reached 4 months of age. By this age, I had him potty trained and he minded very well. He had lots of toys and didn’t manage to tear up my things, so I decided to get a part time job. When I went to work for a 4 hour shift I would come home and walk him and care for him. Once he reached 5 months I got a full time job. I work for 8 hours a day but in the middle of the day I come home and walk him and take care of him. Now my puppy is 7 months old and he does a great job at minding even though I work!
    Thanks

  5. Suzy Reilly.
    When my home arrangements changed and we were both in full time employment with a young male Airedale (around a year old), we arranged to have a very large whelping cage in the house that was made very comfortable and like a den. We also had dog walkers to take him out twice a day, an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon. The most that he was on his own after we had left for work, was probably three hours. However, this worked out to be very expensive and so we negotiated with our walkers and found that if they kept him with them for most of the day, a much better deal for us financially; they didn’t have to do four journeys only two and therefore the time involved to collect and deliver was halved. Thus saving them petrol and time for the rest of the dogs in their care.
    This was a win win situation for us and them; our dog was stimulated, very well exercised and socialised, for just a little more cost than the two walks. On top of that he was in safe hands and as far as we could tell ‘happy’.
    The reason for my telling you all this – I love my dogs but they are no less a commitment than a child. We wouldn’t dream of expecting a toddler to cope alone for more than a minute, so why a dog?
    Our situation changed and we had to make sure that our dog was ok. Sometimes you do have to let your head rule your heart and if you cannot put ‘dog care’ at the top of your agenda on a daily basis, then you must really think through why you have a dog and act accordingly, with your dog’s best interest at the fore front.
    Having said all this, you still need a plan B, just in case!

  6. Hi!
    We got an 8 week old lab puppy while both working full time. I live 5 min from work so go home for 1h on lunch and my husband comes home at 4. I walk my dog after his lunch, my husband walks him in the morning and then again after work. We take him out again in the evening, we have a backyard so we play there. But it is breaking my heart that he is alone once for 4h and once for 3h. We really wanted him and would not give him away and i hope it will get better as he grows older.

    • Hi I’m doing some research before I decide if I want to bring home a puppy. If you don’t mind, I have some questions for you. Did you take time off work when you first got your puppy? Do you train your puppy when you and your husband get back home? Do you find it harder to bond with your puppy because you’ve been away most of the day? How do you have time to socialize your puppy? Thank you in advance.

  7. Isn’t a large crate and a puppy pen considered the same thing? I have been let down by people that said they would help me out with my puppy and have since pulled away. Tis has put me in a difficult situation because I work shifts and my puppy stays home alone.

    I have been looking for other options at the moment but I cannot afford a care centre where I can leave him while I am at work, nor are there any that will work around my shift. Nor can I afford a dog walker. I was relying on two neighbours that said they would help but have since changed their minds because they have their own responsibilities.

    So, coming into this I had a plan, I thought about what needed to be done, I set up those plans and after I got my puppy, the wall came crumbling down on me.

    So, for the past week or so, he has been home alone while I work. Fortunately enough, I only live 10 minutes drive from my work, so its a quick drive home.

    In this week, I have had to leave my puppy in a crate but he is left with plenty of toys and chews and a Kong with frozen food and he seems to be fine with it. I haven’t come home to any mess and he seems to happy to wait. When I get home he is straight out to relieve himself. He gets a good 30-40 minutes walk and exercise before work and after work.

    I am not considering other options which can only happen within the next two weeks or so, which is to convert my loft into a large puppy pen. I have a few things to do up there and sort out an area for him so he has a place to roam and be more free during my work hours.

    I have learned that you cannot rely on people and you have to do it yourself sometimes. I will take it a day at a time and see how I get on. But, so far so good.

  8. My husband worked from home when our lab was tiny but then changed jobs. Fudge is now 3 and we manage working full time by making sure he has lots of exercise in the morning and evening (off lead play with his best buddy!), he goes to doggy day care for one full day a week and most weeks I can work from home one day and my husband another. I also only have a 20 min commute. He sleeps when we’re not here and never shows any signs of separation anxiety (we have a camera and can check up on him on our phones). I’m not sure if this is luck or because we gradually left him for longer and longer periods of time, starting with just a few minutes, when he was young so he was never worried that we wouldn’t come back. I still feel guilty every time I leave him!

  9. Hi there, me and my family (mum and dad) have recently bought a Lhas Apso puppy, she’s almost 9 weeks and luckily I’ve been out of work for a week so I’ve been able to keep an eye on her and get her comfortable but I go back to work next Monday and she doesn’t like to be left alone for any period of time (because she’s been so used to me always being here). Could anyone give me any advice on what I could do to get her more settled? On a regular basis she’ll be left from 9am till 12pm (lunchtime) then till 3-4pm. I’ve got her a play pen which is spacious where she has her bed, her food and water and some toys. Would this be an okay arrangement to leave her in for 4 hours tops? I hate to leave her crying and I hope there’s a way to help her! I would appreciate as much response as possible as I’m sure you can imagine, this is giving me quite a lot of anxiety.

    • Firstly you need to slowly introduce her into short periods of time of being separated from you. So a half hour to begin with then a bit longer the next day. Also leave her with a Kong toy – filled with food for her to keep her stimulated and associate be left alone as a good thing. (I think these are some ideas I’ve gathered from the articles of Pippa’s :))

  10. We have a 15 week old labrador puppy we brought home when he was 11 weeks. We spent the first few days with him, switching on and off with our schedules. He was never left alone longer than 2 or 3 hours for the first week and a half, until gradually, we are now doing 4 hour intervals. We hired a dog walker who takes him out for bathroom breaks, gives him his lunch and plays with him. It is an extra expense, but I could never imagine leaving him alone in his crate for 7 hours! My husband is a teacher, and is home earlier in the day which is an added bonus, because he doesn’t go back into his crate until bedtime, unless he’s really sleepy and goes into it on his own accord. On the weekends, he’s an absolute delight, and has really taken to our home. I’m amazed that he will just “lay around” hanging out with us, almost like a grown up dog. He of course has spurts of play mode and will test his teeth on certain things, but overall, he’s very well behaved thus far. He did have the odd accident in the beginning, but has gotten much better and hasn’t had one in weeks…though I’m sure if we weren’t diligent, he wouldn’t be as good as he is. It gives me hope that he could possibly have the run of the house before he is a year old. *Fingers crossed* … I felt bad about crating, even though I know that if used properly, it is a great way of house training. Thanks for all of the info, I feel much better about our choice to crate train as well as hiring a puppy sitter when we can’t get home enough during the day.

  11. I am contemplating getting a puppy. I am self employed and work full time travelling around in my van and I wonder if it is viable to take a puppy with me in the van each day. The longest I work at any particular site is about two hours but I could factor in a five or ten minute break midway through my schedule to check the puppy is ok in the van and at some sites the puppy could potentially be with me on site. Between customer appointments I could factor in 10 minute walks and loo stops too.

    So it sounds a little unorthodox I know but essentially the puppy would never be left for longer than an hour on it’s own in the van. I understand the dangers of lack of ventilation and vehicles getting very hot in summer so I would fit grill vents on the cab windows and solar powered fans and of course park in shaded areas in summer. Would a puppy be ok in it’s crate in these circumstances?

    Is this a viable idea or am I in cloud cuckoo land with this? Any thoughts, suggestions, criticism or advice equally welcome. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • In many places it is illegal to leave a dog alone in the car. Where I live if it is over 75° outside you could actually get hit with an animal cruelty charge, even if you take precautions to keep your little guy cool. 🙂 I’m not judging, just something to think about.

  12. We got Teek (a black lab) at around 8 weeks. She was the last puppy to leave the group. My husband took a week off work then I took the following 2 weeks off to help settle her in. I remember her chewing alot, which she did grow out of. We socialised her with everyone we knew with a dog. Her best friend is a great Dane. My husband kept going to her at lunch time for about a year as she needed feeding and play/toilet time. We both work full time and sometimes she is left upto 10 hours on her own. Depending on my shift pattern, sometimes I’m only gone half the day. It’s not the ideal situation, but she’s never shown any separation anxiety symptoms while we are gone. She gets a walk every morning before work and every night after work. On weekends we take her on really long walks so she gets plenty of exercise. She has even climbed Ben Nevis and made it to the top! We play games with her to keep her mind strong too. If she wasn’t happy being left then we would re think our situation and no i could never give her up. I am going on maternity leave in a few months and I can’t wait to spend more time with her. We are going camping in 2 weeks and we are taking her with us so she can go lake swimming. We have booked to go swimming with her next week to an indoor hydrotherapy pool and we are so excited to be able to swim with her.
    My advice is access your situation to see if you can provide the right environment for a dog. Yes our dog is left for long periods, but she copes very well. We make such a fuss of her and she is shown so much love. She is a part of the family and I do miss her when I’m at work. Before we bought Teek we made sure she was the right breed for us and bought all the puppy training books. Be prepared and you will probably get nipped alot- wear shoes lol.

  13. I’m thinking of getting a puppy in about a year. I work full time but flexible hours (10 am-6pm) and I only live about 20 mins from my work and often leave for lunch. Ideally I would take a week off when I first get puppy and then have my sister stay with me for a week when I go back to work to start ‘weening’ the dog if you will. After that most days I’ll be coming home on my lunch hour to take her out and play with her, and possibly having my brother come and let her out once either before or after time. There will be other days I can bring her to work once she’s more house broken, because I have a pet friendly office but it cant be every day. And there will be days I can bring her to my dad (we have a big fenced in back yard and two older dogs for her to play with) and then possibly once a week or once every other week bring her to the puppy day care by my office. I’d like to get the puppy in may or early summer so i can have a little time off and take another week off with her for out family vacation which is the end of summer and we bring all the dogs. Looking to see if this sounds reasonable to you all. I’m not going to move forward until I’m fully prepared but this is something I really want.

    • Consider working half a day for two weeks or if you can work from home a bit. The other thing is puppy needs to eat at lunch time, so someone needs to be in at lunch everyday not just some days. Also advise you to plan and replan that routine, what time does he want to pee what time he will go to sleep, what time in the crate. Not to mention the socializing. Keep in mind you will be operating on reduced/broken sleep due to the house training. Ideally, you would take two weeks off work (I worked two hours everyday for two weeks and took extra lunch hours off for another two weeks). Enroll in Puppy school. Realise that you can plan and plan for months and still will not be fully prepared for the puppy. Expect to eat more takeout or have family bring you food while you spend all your free time looking up more puppy information (is he normal? Is he sick? Is he aggressive? Oh right it’s normal puppy behavior!) Does your sister know what to do with the puppy? Maybe take her along to puppy school. Ask for all the help you can get, but also ‘educate’ them a bit on how you want things done. Hope it all goes well for you and your future puppy, your plan is a good start!

  14. I have two chihuahuas, and as you may know they are really needy and they have to stay most of days with my mum and dad. But my boyfriend has a Golden Retriever and at first it was an issue to leave him alone even though he works like two or three blocks away from his work and was able to spend lunch time with the dog, but the dog got used to it and I personally think they get use to it. The ideal thing would be for them to have as much human contact as they can but, really they will get used to it, believe me. I think is harder for us as dog parents than for them, at the end of the day. I was really stressed every single time my dogs had to stay home alone, just because of their looks, and sometime in work I wonder about them, and maybe I am a dog wako but I almost got some anxiety. With my boyfriend we decided to get this new monitors to check on your pets when you are not home and it has been amazing. His dog knows where the monitor is not and actually stays around when he want some attention (this is what i think). I feel so much relieve to be able to check on my dogs whenever i want and just talk to them or whatever! I got a monitor called PetCube through a site I love JUXDIT, they had a good price there. I really recommend you getting a pet monitor. It makes your life easier.

  15. I guess I’m lucky. When I got my half Golden half Lab puppy I was working from home so I could bring him outside a lot during the day. He was potty trained within 2 weeks and was soon sleeping through the night for a good 6-7 hours without waking me up. When I recently got a full time job that keeps me away from home for a good 10 hours during the day I debated whether to give him away knowing that having to hire a dog walker to come in 1-2x/day would be expensive. So I installed a dog door in my kitchen door and fenced off a good sized area outside it (probably 20 x 40 feet). It has areas of shade and sun. He took a little bit to get used to the door but now he uses it all the time. He’s actually outside more than in. This has worked out really well. He can go outside anytime when he needs to relieve himself or get some stimulation. His food and water is inside. So if it’s cold or hot or rainy or snowy, he can come inside where the climate is controlled and he has a nice dog bed to nap in. He’s not a barker either so no annoying the neighbors. The downside, dirty kitchen floors when it is rainy out and everything has to be kept out of his reach. Obviously many people cannot do this setup but I agree that if you are away from home all day you need to spend the money on a walker or doggie daycare to keep your dog happy and healthy. If you can’t, you really shouldn’t have a dog. It’s just not fair to them.

  16. I’m not sure what to do, I just bought an 8 week old puppy and I’m gone from my house from 730am to almost 5pm. I have a crate and a designated area for her to stay while I’m gone. (Pee pads, toys, food etc) But unfortunately I don’t live close enough to home to let her out during lunch hour. Should I keep her or consider rehoming her? I thought it would be okay as I know of a few other dog owners that do this but now after reading this I’m not sure!

    • Sorry but I cant think what possessed you to buy a puppy and then leave it for that length of time on its own. What was the point of having one in the first place?
      In my opinion you should either find her another home or at least find someone who will let her out a few times a day and spend some time with her.
      Leaving her on her own for that length of time day after day is not fair on the puppy and asking for trouble.

    • Hi I hope you kept you beautiful puppy and are having fun together?! I took some time off work to settle my pup in (puppy leave ? ), I got her when she was 4.5 months and unfortunately she already had seperation anxiety and I work full time. There is no easy answer, just a lot of training to help your puppy. Toys tht keep them busy, my trainer recommended throwing her dry dog food onto the grass when I leave for work so she is busy in a relaxed manner when I go. Your dog will learn that you go away and come back though it takes times. I take mine for a walk first thing in the morning and when I get home from work. And we do 15 minutes of training as well in the morning & afternoon. I freeze treats on plastic take away containers & pop them out of the container and also leave them for her, change het toys daily so she doesn’t get bored and I even leave a radio on outside for her. While I would love not to work or to have her with me all the time that’s not fair to her or me. So hang in there your dog will bring you a lot of joy, frustration (reality…it’s a puppy ? ), laughter and love. Good luck!

  17. I’m very upset with my boyfriend. He lives in a good size trailer. he is gone 12-14 hours a day. he bought a 13 week old puppy last week. he had 4 days off with the puppy tjen went back to work. he puppy in a doggie play pen with the crate inside the pen. the dog has climbed out of the pen now two days in a row. he bought wood planks to set on top of the pen. he is going to fasten them to the top of the pen witi zipties.i am so angry that he would be so selfish as to buy a dog and leave him alone for so long. i have two olders dog myself from my previous marriage. i can’t help this puppy. tonight we got in an argument about it. he said alot of people get puppies and have to do this. that’s how i found this forum. I’m searching for how people successfully leave a dog alone for at least 12 hours a day, and a puppy at that. am i being unreasonable to tell him he is putting a bandaid on the real problem? I’m beside myself.

    • Hi Kelly,

      That must be very upsetting for you. 13 week old puppies have very small bladders and need regular attention, not to mention feeding at least three times during the day. Ideally your boyfriend needs to employ a dog sitter or go to a dog creche. I hope that he is able to work something out.

      All the best,

      Lucy

  18. My boyfriend and I, after months of discussion, decided to get a yellow lab. We just brought our baby boy home this past weekend….a week after I had surgery on my ankle (which was not in our plans, but needed to be done). I was fortunate to have a few days with him alone before heading back to work, but you can imagine being non-weight bearing and on crutches, it is difficult while having a puppy. I only work about 5 minutes from my home, so I come home on my 15 min morning break and my 30 min lunch break. So our pup is only home alone about 2-3 hours at a time before I get there. Surprisingly, he has not had an accident while alone yet..even after my lunch break with him when left alone for about 4 hours until my boyfriend gets off work. He is such a good puppy and has only had a few accident while we have been home (mostly cause we were not paying attention at the time). I consider us lucky to have a puppy as obiedient as he is at 7.5 weeks.

  19. I have a labrador cross that is around 8 months old. When we got her as a puppy my teenage son was home in the school holidays so she always had someone at home until she was 6 months old. We have a very large back yard so at first we would leave her in my sons bedroom with access to the rear yard for peeing and pooping. Then she worked out how to open his door and was destroying the house so we decided when we weren’t there to shut her in the back yard which is about 10m wide by 5m, much larger than a puppy pen. She has bones and many toys to play with. We come home at lunch time to walk her. Yesterday a neighbour came to complain to say she barks a lot and it is not fair to leave her alone at home, that we should not have a dog. My son only has one full day at school the rest are half days so that’s only one full day a week she is on her own and she is always walked in the middle of the day. Is my neighbour correct and should we be thinking of re-homing her? He has two dogs and is retired so obviously spends all day with his dogs. My husband walks her for over an hour every evening also at around 9:30pm and she often goes fishing with him etc. I am doubting myself as she is very hyper and when I arrive home she bites my hands. I have tried turning my back when she does this and not giving her attention but she will keep jumping up to try and bite. I tell her to sit and will only stroke her when she has sat and calmed down. The rest of the time she is fine.

  20. I’m 12 years old and my mum said no to a puppy because she works full time 7:45 till 6:30 but I start school at 7:45 till 3:05 and get home about 3:30 I don’t know what to do can anyone help me

  21. Gteat article and we’ll written. I got my black lab at 6 weeks old. Young I know but the breeder had a bereavement and wanted the pups gone asap. That was 6 years ago. I have always worked full time and for the first 18 months my partner at the time worked nights so it worked out well and unless we went out at the weekend she was rarely left for more than 4 hours a day. We then split up and I was faced with the prospect of giving my baby up as I worked full time and she would be left during the working day. I thought I would try for a few weeks and if she was unhappy I would have to consider the awful possibility of re homing as with a hefty mortgage and bills to support myself I just could not afford a daily dog walker. Lukily as she was a bit older she adapted really well. I now walk her before work and straight after work and she is fine. I would say though for a young dog your advice is spot on. I’m sick of reading articles about people who work full time cannot have a dog and this is one of the reasons why so many people give their dogs up when in actual fact with a bit of training and patience dogs can be left alone during the working day. Same as animal shelters who will not re home to full time workers. As long as the dog is used to being left or you have somebody who can visit at least once a day this is fine and would prevent a lot of dogs being put to sleepl needlessly.

    • Could not agree with Emma more, Bella will soon be 9 months and does not know any different. I take her immediately I wake up and again on return before anything else! Tuesday and Wednesday I work in the afternoon so am with her in the morning and my other half does not work on a Friday, so her only 2 full days are Monday and Thursday and on a Thursday the butcher always keeps a marrow bone for her which is her treat!

  22. Forgot to add – We are expecting house training to be the biggest issue, but the plan there is to spend the majority of his time as supervised outside play, including frequent trips to his designated toilet area (and teaching him the command words for when we are going there, and when we want him to go).

    I’ll be paper training him in the laundry when we are at work, but the idea will be to teach him that outside is the toilet and the laundry – no where else inside – is for toilet emergencies only. I understand this will take a bit longer, but I would at least like to contain accidents to an easy to clean area.

  23. My partner and I are getting a male lab puppy this weekend. We are both very excited! We have thought it through considerably, and we’ve come up with a routine for him. The longest period he will be left on his own is 4 hours during the day, neither of us are able to take any holidays at the moment however we both work only 10 minutes from home.

    Pup will be left on his own from 7:50am in the morning (my partner starts work at 8). He’ll have company from 12pm til 1pm when my boyfriend comes home for his lunch break, and then we both finish work at 3:30pm. I have a bit more flexibility with my hours, so my plan is to take earlier lunch breaks when required (10:30am – 11am) if we find he is being destructive or seems stressed or unhappy with the schedule. I can also work through lunch breaks and get home earlier if required.

    We are planning on keeping him inside until he’s old enough to be out on his own – we have a rather big laundry and by removing unnecessary items we can make it even larger, and we are going to buy some baby gates so he will also have the tiled area outside the laundry to play in, so there will be plenty of room for his bed, food, and enough room left over for him to play.

    We noticed when we picked him out he was considerably quieter than the other pups, and also more prone to running off to play and explore on his own. We even watched as one of his sisters tried to start a play fight with him and he got up and went back to bed instead. So I’m hoping that that is an indicator that he will be happier to be on his own when we both work full time.

    We also have the option of my partners’ family coming to see him on occasion as well.

    Does anybody have any other advice? Puppy pre-school and puppy obedience training are also on the cards when he is older and vaccinated appropriately. This is my first time caring for a puppy (family dog was already a dog when I was old enough to play with him), and so I am trying to take in as many tips and tricks as possible, to ensure our new boy is as happy and healthy as possible. 🙂

  24. I work full-time and will be getting my puppy shortly. I have booked a month off work which includes Xmas hols to settle puppy in and get a good head start with toilet training etc. I have also arranged for a pet sitter and a friend to drop in mid morning and mid afternoon. I will either come home at lunch time or my mum will visit. Once around 7 months old, the pup will be left at around 8.30am, someone will then be with him from 12noon to 2pm and then someone will be back home at 5pm. It is possible to work full-time and be a responsible dog owner, however, it does require great deal of organisation and is quite costly so should never be entered into lightly. If you do work full-time and want to also be a dog owner, please give it thorough consideration.

  25. We adopted two lab puppies I would love some inputs as to how effective our puppy plan maybe…for the first couple weeks someone is able to be home with them most of the day, but once our son returns to college we will need a new plan. This is what we are thinking…
    530 – Wake up followed by breakfast While my husband and I are getting ready for work the pups will be given lots of attention (belly rubs, conversations, squeaking of toys, etc.)
    645 – a walk followed by a little play time outside.
    730 – Last person leaves for the day.
    When home alone the puppies will have access to a 9×12 dog run they can both hang out in and go potty in and an indoor area that is approximately 4×12 with plenty of toys and things to chew on.
    1200 – a home schooled 13 year old will come hang out with the pups for 30+ minutes. They will play in the yard, go for a walk, etc.
    400 first person gets home, thus puppy time resumes 🙂
    Our thought in getting two pups was that they would keep each other company during the day…
    Thoughts?
    Comments?
    Suggestions?

    • It’s not really ideal to have two puppies together as they may bond to each other and not be train properly. But you a good idea is to have separate training times, and walks etc (I’ve read info. for this from a Pippa article)

  26. We own a 7 month old black lab Girl. Originally it was thought that I would be able to take her to work, however after the first two months my employer changed policy after an incident with a German Shephard. “Luckily” at the same time I had to take time off work due to a knee injury and surgery on my left knee which gave us time to continue working and educating our Girl. She is now at home with a dog walker coming in at lunch time to go out with her and a bunch of other Dogs for 2 hours. He is specially trained and does a great Job also in helping us with the education. I walk with her in the Mornings for 30-45 minutes and my boyfriend then takes her out when he gets home. She is only alone for three hours one strecht therefore. It’s a big commitment and also on the Money side not easy but we would never give her up and she copes remarkably well. When she is alone, she sleeps or Plays with toys we leave for her or chews on a bone. She is in our bedroom and allowed to be on the bed, which we cover with a big blanket. So far she has only chewed on one of our bedside tables once when we had no bones at Hand for her ;-). We are lucky that has very good character and is very calm at home and never barks or makes noise. We hope it will stay like this!!

  27. I do work full time and have a working bred black lab. He was 13 weeks when we bought him which I understand is quite old for a pup but we were very lucky and he settled without any issues at night and during the day but he did come to us directly from the breeders and hadn’t been separated from his mother or 3 of his brothers at that point. He has a v. large crate and we have a walker who came in 2x a day until he was 10-11 months including a lunchtime feed and now comes once a day. My husband works from home one day a week and I manage to do the same most weeks so the days he is left are limited to 3 or 4. We also have a backup walker in case our regular walker is on holiday or can’t do a day. Our original plan was for my teenage daughter who had just moved school and gone into 6th Form within a 10 minute walk to do the lunch time duty but realised in the nick of time this just wouldn’t work and wasn’t fair on anyone particularly our puppy. We do have a very organised day and I did try and stick to the 5mins per month when he was a pup but he is an active, work oriented dog who loves to retrieve. I now spend a good 40 minutes to an hour sometimes an hour and a half before going to work on exercise/training but I can be flexible with start and finish times at work so it works for us. I also take him out as soon as I get home and try not to train him but he really enjoys long retrieves, blinds etc and normally coaxes me into doing more than I plan – when I am home there is a large time committment but he is very rewarding. He is now rising 3 and I have been taking him to a professional gundog trainer once a month for a one to one for close on 2 years mid week in conjunction with various gundog clubs at weekends when they run training sessions for the last year. We have successfully completed the Gundog Trust Graded tests and have embarked on working tests this summer and are holding our own I don’t expect to win any prizes mainly because he was our first pup and first gundog and trained us before we started training him. He is happy to sleep when we aren’t there loves his crate even when we are at home for down time between walks although the door is left open. I do think we’ve been lucky with him but he does get a lot of exercise and in particular mental exercise with originally the gundog graded scheme exercises and latterly developing that on. I do hope to work him this season if possible but if not will continue the exercises. There is a notable difference when he’s had a good session and had to really think and control himself. Hope that is of some help but in addition to the steps you take whilst you are not there I think it is important to make the time you are there count as well – he is the 4th child!..

    • Thank you so much for that detailed and helpful comment, he sounds like a happy and well loved boy. Well done for working through the grades and good luck with your working tests this summer! Pippa

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