Pets

Advice for first-time puppy owner...

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 13th, 2019 3:11 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2011
974 posts
130 upvotes

Advice for first-time puppy owner...

I been thinking/wanting a dog for a long time now. The only thing stopping me is my work schedule. I live alone and only work 8 hours a day. I leave for work usually 5:30am and get back around 4:00pm.

My main concern is leaving the puppy alone for that long. I plan on walking it before leaving work but also was considering hiring a dog walker to drop by while I'm gone for the first few weeks.

For other dog owners here, that work full-time as well. Do you have any advice for me? Is it okay to leave the pup alone for 8 hours? How did you manage to make it work. I understand the first couple months will be tough because it's only a pup. But any advice would be really appreciated.
33 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
1198 posts
383 upvotes
Edmonton
For 1, when I first got my puppy, I took 2 weeks off work to chill with him, house train him and make him accustomed to his new home. Luckily when I first got home, me and my sister shared a condo, so when I would leave for work in the mornings, she'd be home by early afternoon so it wasn't too bad.

I didn't crate train him, so he had free roam of our condo and now my house. But he did get trained on the puppy pad and only pees on that. I had purchased a little enclosure type gate and left him in it along with a puppy pad, his water bowl and his food bowl. Hes now 10 and was just diagnosed with diabetes. :(

Only advice I can give you is, be prepared financially and emotionally if you want a puppy as this is going to be a life long taking care of something deal. Since you live alone, you will always have to come home first to feed him, let him out and walk him before you can do anything with your social life so not sure if that fits into your lifestyle.
Deal Addict
Apr 6, 2008
1793 posts
1118 upvotes
I would not consider getting a puppy in those circumstances. Young puppies cannot go 8hrs without a bathroom break. It's also very difficult for them to be stuck inside a crate or room for this time with no stimulation. The first few months are tough with a puppy - it's like a baby in that you'll be up even during the night with it.

Most people who work full time either have a spouse on different shifts, or a friend or family that stops by and let's it out during the day. Puppies are a lot of work, time and money. For this reason we would probably never get a puppy, and we both love dogs. We prefer to adopt an older puppy or adult from a shelter. Costs are lower, spaying/neutering and shots are usually included, and you aren't supporting someone's part time money making hobby.

Also be sure to do your research on breeds. Many dogs are in shelters because people got a dog because they thought they were cute, and didn't realize that they needed 3 long walks a day. And no, I'm not kidding, many dogs do.
Member
Aug 29, 2018
318 posts
247 upvotes
fusion2k2k wrote:
Apr 7th, 2019 10:58 pm
I would not consider getting a puppy in those circumstances. Young puppies cannot go 8hrs without a bathroom break. It's also very difficult for them to be stuck inside a crate or room for this time with no stimulation. The first few months are tough with a puppy - it's like a baby in that you'll be up even during the night with it.

Most people who work full time either have a spouse on different shifts, or a friend or family that stops by and let's it out during the day. Puppies are a lot of work, time and money. For this reason we would probably never get a puppy, and we both love dogs. We prefer to adopt an older puppy or adult from a shelter. Costs are lower, spaying/neutering and shots are usually included, and you aren't supporting someone's part time money making hobby.

Also be sure to do your research on breeds. Many dogs are in shelters because people got a dog because they thought they were cute, and didn't realize that they needed 3 long walks a day. And no, I'm not kidding, many dogs do.

I agree with the above. One of my family members was so set on buying a dog, both her and husband are in the medical field working crazy amount of hours. Dentist and chiropracter. I steered them clear of getting dog and they got cats. It fit their lifestyle.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
914 posts
87 upvotes
Mississauga area
When I got my first dog, I lived alone in an apartment.

I took two weeks off work to be home for her and pee pad train her.

After my two weeks off, I closed off the bathroom and hallway for her area while I went to work. Her pee pads were already housed in the bathroom, so I just set up her beds, toys and waterbowl. She's a Maltese/Yorkshire terrier, so the area worked out well for her and I never had to crate her. When she was about 3 months old, she had free run of the apartment while I was at work. I also have two cats, so the cats kept her company while I was at work.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't. Being single with a dog really limits your social life. I always rushed home after work to make sure I can walk her and spend time with her. Weekend trips are out and even going out all day is out.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2011
974 posts
130 upvotes
I was really hoping to hear stories of people that are in the same situation as me, and made it work... I guess even hiring a dog walker isn't good enough? I was looking on "Rover.com"

My roommates recently moved out and their dog is obviously gone too. I was really attached to the dog. I'm just trying to close the empty void in my home.

As for losing the "social life", it doesn't really bother me as I'm not very social to begin with. I do have some close friends that could watch the pup from time to time, if need be.

I'm really trying to figure ways to make this work,cause dogs are awesome.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 22, 2005
19179 posts
4258 upvotes
Thornhill
I looked into this, my work life is 7am to 6pm, I ended up getting two cats. Just leave em alone most of the time but thankfully the shelter cats are suuuuper friendly and docile. I'll have a pupper one day but I just couldn't justify leaving them at home for such a long time. It can be done with feeding timers, hiring walkers/feeders , etc. But I feel there is a high risk for bad behaviour and anxiety, which could lead to destruction of your property.
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5643 posts
760 upvotes
What about adopting an adolescent or adult dog? One that is house trained and socialized might save you some time and frustration. Depending on the circumstances, you may know about it's temperament if the dog's history is available.
Newbie
Nov 7, 2006
4 posts
3 upvotes
Brampton
Dogs are definitely awesome, but honestly, I say this as a long-time dog owner (20+ years, 6 dogs including puppies & rescues), please do not get a puppy in your circumstances. More than likely it will not work out for the dog or for you. A puppy needs attention, socialization, training, not an empty space. Not what you want to hear, but that's my 2c. And if you do decide you must get one, do not get one from a petstore or mill, go to a reputable breeder or a rescue.
Deal Addict
Apr 25, 2011
1123 posts
708 upvotes
British Columbia
I would say unless you can afford some kind of full time pet sitter or doggie daycare every day, a puppy is not for you.

At this age they need to learn a lot of things, they need lots of socialization and outings and will need to go outside frequently to become house trained. They're like a baby, babies need constant attention not just because they get in trouble on their own but because it's a critical stage of development and also a critical time to be properly obedience trained. Bad habits that form in puppyhood can carry over their lifetime.

Also as mentioned above, many breeds need a ton of exercise. One of my dogs needs to run for an hour a day. Run. Not a walk around the block. She may be less than 20 pounds but she needs the mental and physical exercise daily -- rain or shine. I don't think people grasp this concept with a smaller dog. People watch her and always comment how fast she is or how far she swims etc. and it's like, you have no idea... she could do this all day. Sometimes she goes out for 2+ hours of intense exercise. She is obsessed with her ball so that 1+ hour of time she needs constant interaction in the form of throwing a ball. Sometimes I get lucky and she doesn't know where the ball has gone so she will run the field until she finds it. I'm talking like 30 minutes later if she hasn't found it she still won't have given up her search as she's so driven, it's great since it also mentally engages her as she's using her nose while searching. If she doesn't get this exercise she is bored. A bored dog is not a good dog. She will start poking you with her muzzle to herd you out the door. Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Cold Sweat
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2014
3050 posts
474 upvotes
OP - I understand that you want a dog and miss having a dog at home. However, with a dog comes huge responsibility. Is it possible that you enjoyed the companionship of your roommates' dog without having the responsibility? Unless of course you had all of the responsibility (I would have...).

Just be careful. Personally, in your situation, I wouldn't get a dog at this time.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
130 posts
83 upvotes
Toronto
Don't think i would go the dog route in a small condo personally, especially if you don't have someone during the majority of the day to do a walk/visit as it isn't fair to the puppy/dog. Other people are right in suggesting a cat, wonderful creatures, screen off the outside balcony and with the wind in their face they tend to be much happier in that kind of environment.

If you do go down this path of a puppy (which i don't recommend if they are alone for large extended periods of time like you are), then select a breed/mix specific for lower energy requirements. A JAck Russel is out of the question, a Shitzu might work. We have a Havanese / Shitsu mix so health wise prognosis is excellent, requires little by way of exercise other than a couple of small walks a day (our dog refuses to walk more than a couple of blocks). Companionship wise a Havaneese is very attached and requires companionship, so leaving alone for extended periods not a good thing. We are in large home (lot is 60' across) and have a open gate to the neighbors yard so both our dogs can visit each other at will to play, when younger off leash dog parks was the norm.

With kids or a partner at home most of the time then a condo type breed like a Havanese or Shitsu work..........however i wouldn't go puppy or dog in your situation as it isn't fair to the animal.
Member
Aug 31, 2014
212 posts
114 upvotes
Toronto, ON
We got our puppy in a condo. I also took time off at the beginning and worked from home often. The beginning was a lot of work - we trained him every moment we’re with him, at home and bringing him out to be exposed to different situations and people. We also set him up with a playpen for at least the first year, and came home at lunch to walk him.

One thing I loved about training him in the condo was that there was a wide variety of people, other dogs, and situation that we can expose him to. Once we moved to the suburbs a few years later, we noticed how you’d bump into a dog maybe 3x a week, so I think it wouldn’t have been good. We also sent him to doggie daycare.

A book that was very helpful about expectations is called “before you get a puppy” and “after you get a puppy” by Ian Dunbar. People that meet our dog does comment how calm he is, and I credit a lot of that to what we learned from these books (Better yet - they’re free! Just google!)
Deal Addict
Jun 6, 2015
1208 posts
675 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
9 hours was the limit for my dog, and we got him at 4 months old. Sometimes he would poop or pee in the house.
Newbie
Mar 11, 2017
31 posts
9 upvotes
I got my puppy and luckily my work was flexible enough to allow me to take some modified hours for a couple months to go home every lunch break and get him out to play. I had offset hours from my partner so that helped as well. My trainer told me until 12-14 weeks old they have no real bladder control, so outside every 30 minutes and cue the bathroom break. after that it was however many months old is how many hours they could hold it for, a 3 month old... 3 hours... 4 month 4 hours and so on.. rules of thumb.

If you go the rover route, or have someone help you, make sure you are consistent with them in commands and how you walk them and train them... it will help long term...

Top