How long can a puppy be left home.

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Hannelore's picture
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I'm thinking about getting a Doberman puppy. But I now work clear across town and don't come home for lunch. I have a schedule where I don't take a lunch, work eight hours straight, so with travel, I'm gone between 8 1/2 hours and 9 hours each day, four days a week. The other three days, someone is home all day.

I would not crate the puppy, but rather section off a space. There would be a crate available in the space for the puppy to sleep in, puppy pads, food and water. There are other animals in the house, two small dogs and four cats, so the puppy would not be totally alone, there would be other "presences" in the house.

What do people think? Will this work, or is it going to traumatize the puppy to be left for that long?

Oh, also, I will have cameras set up so I can watch the puppy, any signs of distress or problems, I would come home.

If I did come  home for lunch, I would have to work an hour later, and I would only be able to spend a half hour home at lunch.

Has anyone encountered this dilemma, and what do you think?

 

 

8 hours is too long to expect a young puppy to hold their bladder. Not sure where you live, but you can look into hiring a dog walker or taking your puppy to a doggie day care till they are old enough to be home for 8 hours. You can also do a mix of the two. Doggie day care is good for wearing a puppy out (or a young dog) - but they may not need it all 4 days. A dog walker will need to spend some time exercising your puppy beyond just getting them to potty or a bored puppy will become distructive!

Lady Kate's picture
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Personally I don't think a puppy should be left alone.. AT ALL... she's coming to you to live with and be loved by you... why do you want a dog who is alone all day?

To me it's just not fair.

True.. I'm a helicopter Mom to my two girls.. and many people don't have the luxury of working from home and they do seem to manage.... but it's my opinion that dogs need their people even more than we need them...

 

CRDobe's picture
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I would also discourage getting a puppy at this time. Puppies require time, commitment and training from Day 1 if you want a balanced, well socialized and stable adult dog. There are no shortcuts. Perhaps you can find an older adult Dobe from a reputable Doberman rescue. They might be able to match you with a dog that may fit into your present lifestyle.

I disagree and think that lots of working people make it work: otherwise only stay at home parents,  retired people, or families with opposite work schedules would be able to have dogs.   You do have to budget for the cost of a dog walker, doggie day care, etc...., and you have to commit to spending a lot of free time with your dog. A tired dog is a good dog. Lots of committed owners get up early to exercise & feed their dogs - go to work and then spend quality time working with their dogs after work. 

With my first Doberman (pre kids), I was able to come home for lunch every day.... and sometimes had to clean out a mess in the crate, until she could hold it for 4 hours.... but that happened pretty quick. You have to be prepared - dogs... especially Dobermans are puppies till they are almost 2 years old. They needs lots of exercise and lots of training - Commit to taking obedience classes.... and not just one!

If you want to skip the puppy stage, then I certainly don't blame you! However, be prepared to work with an adult too - they don't normally come trained!

Hannelore's picture
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Okay, a couple of things. First of all, I am not expecting the puppy to hold her bladder for eight hours. There will be puppy pads available.

Do you still feel I shouldn't get a puppy if I do come home for lunch to give the puppy break after about 4 1/2 hours?

Or do you think that the only people who should have puppies are those who have the luxury of staying home all day? Then what happens if you want to go out to dinner or a show, or whatever? What if an emergency arises and you have to leave for a few hours? You dog is totally unprepared for being left home alone? Doesn't sound like a very balanced upbringing to me.

Also, I raised two Doberman puppies before. I got my first girl and then 10 months later I got another girl puppy. With my first girl, I worked right across the street, so I was able to come home at lunch and spend nearly an entire hour before returning to work for the afternoon. Then back home again in four hours. So the puppy was left alone for four-hours at a time. And she was just fine! I kenneled her, something i will never do to a dog again. So when I got my second puppy, I came up with the "enclosed area" rather than a kennel. She could see out to the rest of the household and be visited through the fence by other animals. She was just fine.

Both of those puppies were ready to be free and have run of the house at the age of six months, when I had determined they weren't cord chewers, etc. All they did was sleep on my bed when I was gone.

How would it be if I took vacation, so that I could come home for a full hour at lunch? So the puppy would be without humans (but in the presence of other animals) for about four hours and 15 minutes at a time. There is also the possibility I could take a couple of weeks of vacation when I first get the puppy in order to get her adjusted to our home and I would leave for gradually increasing periods of time until she was okay being left for up to 4 1/2 hours at a time?

 

 

 

 

Hannelore's picture
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Oh, and as far as doggie day cares and dog walkers...I don't trust these people. Not with this precious creature, I wouldn't. There is a guy who lives right across the street from me, has two poodles. I thought they were his but in talking to him I found out he is watching them for someone else during the day. Apparently he also walks dogs and cares for other people's dogs.

Problem is, living right across the street from him, I have been able to observe that he takes these two little poodles out UNLEASHED, and they are running around in the street, and when cars come he yells at them to get out of the way of the cars! NO WAY!!! I thought, well, I could just have him come to my house and let the pup and other two small dogs out into my backyard for a break. But I don't trust him. Or any of them, for that matter. Unless they had cameras at their facility where I could sign on and check in on my puppy whenever I want. Hmmm, maybe I'll call some of them and see if they have camera surveillance on themselves.

Hannelore's picture
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I'll mention one other thing. From the moment I get home from work, it's all about the dogs. My husband and I don't go out to shows or to dinner or anything. I do go grocery shopping for an hour or two on Sundays. That's it. So while the dogs are home without me during the day, I am constantly with them at night. And where do they sleep? In my bed. 

Hannelore's picture
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Thanks, Fitzmar. That sounds a bit more reasonable. 

I have to say that if I had visited one of these forums before I got my puppies, I probably would have been terrified to get a puppy and thus missed out on the best 10 years of my life, when both of my Dobes were still alive. :( They were the center of my universe.

My first pup went to 48 weeks of training classes. Six eight-week classes: Beginning Puppy, Advanced Puppy, Puppy Agility, Beginning Obedience, Advanced Obedience and Beginning Agility.

My second pup went to Beginning Puppy, Advanced Puppy and Beginning Obedience. Then I took the training home, I was pretty good at it by then and had my first dog as a mentor for the second. :)

This new puppy would go to several classes as well, for the socialization as much as for the training.

CRDobe's picture
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I didn't intend to come across so strongly. From your initial post it sounded as though this was to be your first Doberman pup. My apologies for assuming!

Yes, lots of working people get puppies and make the effort to do it right. Sadly, many do not.

Hannelore's picture
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I did some math...there are 168 hours in a week. So, in the scenario of leaving the pup home during my work schedule four days of the week...that means she is without her humans for about 34 hours a week and with her humans for 134  hours each week, including all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as holidays.

Doesn't sound particularly abusive to me. :(

And regarding adopting an older Doberman...I have reservations about that because I have no idea what they've been through. But I can imagine they might be more neurotic than a puppy who is gradually and carefully introduced to being alone, and showered with nothing but love. 

Hannelore's picture
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I do know what you mean. I'm one of those people who every time I see an ad for Doberman puppies, I contact the breeder and plead with them to make sure people understand Dobermans can't be left outside (I'm in Alaska). And I also plead with them to make sure people understand their ears need to be cropped to stand up,...so people don't get a pup and are disappointed with the pup when the ears don't stand, and that reflects on how they feel about the puppy. :(

But that is why I'm asking...I want to come to some kind of reasonale plan. A Doberman breeder told me her dogs were home all day alone. But those puppies are with their mother, different scenario!

When I first got my Doberman puppy, a cranky neighbor who apparently doesn't like Dobermans (she barked at him), called Animal Control and filed a compaint that she was barking all day long. I freaked out because I was worried ABOUT HER. When I would come home she didn't show any signs of being stressed out, she'd be yawning and stretching, but I became worried. That's when I got a baby monitor so I could listen...she was not barking all day! She might occasionally bark at something outside the window...for about 30 seconds. So invited Animal Control to come hear for themselves...she wasn't barking!

But now I've graduated to cameras, so I can not only hear them, but see them! My last Doberman was 12 and she was failing. I heard and then saw her on the camera, crying and unable to get up, she had collapsed. I told my boss, I'm outta here!  and was home in 12 minutes to assist her.

 

 

If you were able to leave puppies untended and loose in the house at 6 months, then you were extreamly lucky!  Do not expect to be able to do that with any other puppy. 

I don't mind the idea of an enclosed area, but you really want to make sure that a puppy (or adult) is crate trained. It can be very important in an emergency that they be able to be comfortable in a crate.  Mine are all crate trained - but once they are house safe ... which may not be for a couple of years, they are in a crate when we are not home. I've only worked part time since my first daughter was born - my kids are both in college now. So I've not had to normally leave my dogs alone all day - but I can if need be. I keep a crate (airline type 40"L x 27W x 30"H) open in my home office - they love to come in and just lay in it - one is in there right now.

I personally don't like the idea of pee pads for a large breed dog - I think it is teaching them that it is ok to go in the house. JMHO. There are normally multiple dog walking agencies in most areas - I really would not leave a young puppy alone for 8+ hours for the first few months. Just like anything, there are good and bad dog walkers. I see them in my neighborhood sometimes and they seem pretty good. I personally have a neighbor that I pay to take my dogs out when we have to be gone for more than 8 hours - my dogs are not that friendly to strangers in our home, and having someone they don't know well come in would not be a good idea - haha. My neighbor lets them run in the fenced yard - I don't have them walked. She also house sits them when we are out of town, but I also have 2 boarding kennels that I trust if need be.

Your training plan sounds great! I've always done a puppy class then basic, and then on-going advanced. Most of my dogs are show dogs so I also do handling classes. Most of my puppy homes have been very successful with the above puppy plan. Some of them have regular full time work schedules - having a plan in place ahead of time is something that I have required. The majority of my puppy homes (3 litters) have had someone at home most of the time OR they were able to take a puppy to work with them.... the full time people had someone to let the puppy out for a few months. 

Hannelore's picture
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When I found out my job was moving across town, and it wouldn't really be feasible to come home at lunch, I was concerned about my adult Dobermans because they were used to me coming home at lunch and giving them a break.

So prior to my job actually moving, this is what I did (more or less): the first week i started coming home for lunch one hour later. The next couple of weeks I came home two hours later. Then three hours later, etc. until they were totally accustomed to me not coming home at all. It worked just fine. They were all old enough to easily hold their bladder that long. Well, I take that back...my two min pins do not  hold their bladder...12 years old and still using puppy pads. :( I did not raise them from puppies, they were rescues. 

Hannelore's picture
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I do not feel that I was extremely lucky to be able to leave my dogs loose in the house at six months. Remember, back then I worked right across the street and I had a baby monitor, so I could hear them. And when I first left them, I'm pretty sure I made some "surprise" visits just to check up on them. They didn't do anything but go upstairs on my bed and sleep. Of course, they always had bully sticks to chew on if they wanted to chew. Oh, and Kongs, too.

And...they were very well-balanced. I believe it's because they knew how powerful much they were loved. 

I also consider myself to be something of a dog whisperer (hehe). Except when it comes to min pins. :)

Hannelore's picture
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One other thing I'd like to mention. I really hate crates. The only dog I ever kept in a crate was a Sharpei I rescued and I didn't like much after she bit one of the Dobermans in the leg. So she was kept in a crate while I was gone just to make sure no fights broke out.

My first Doberman I kept in a crate when I was gone until she was six months old, at which time I determined she would probably be okay loose in the house (based on observations) and she was. And she never went back in her crate. If she wanted to chill out, she'd go on my bed where she slept at night ever since I first brought her home. No staying in the crate when Mom's home! 

I do recognize that dogs should learn to be in a crate for when they go to the vet (where they'll be kept in a cage), etc. So for that reason, I "crate-trained" my second Doberman even though she never really had to stay in the crate.

As the result of feedback here, and other considerations, right now I'm thinking I won't get the Doberman pup.

I'm kind of glad I didn't check out any Doberman forums before I got my first two. If I had, I probably never would have gotten them. And what a shame. The 13 years I had with Dobermans in my life were the best years of my life.

Hannelore's picture
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I talked to my boss! She wouldn't have a problem with me taking an hour vacation each day so I could come home and check on the pup and let her play and go outside to potty! I would still be able to keep my 8:30am-4:30pm  work schedule, but with a lunch. So I'd still be getting paid for eight hours but only working seven!

i also told her I might want to take the first week off or so and maybe half-days for another week, to get the puppy adjusted to our home and being left alone a bit at a time, etc.

Anyway...my mood has really lightened since thinking I might actually get a pup! Now I'm looking over my house and seeing what area I might want to partition off for her. And maybe my blind minpin could also be in her area to keep her company!!! Or the other minpin might actually want to stay in there, considering he loved my one Doberman so much.

I can't really imagine life without a Doberman. It's beginning to seem doable!

Dungey's picture
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So - did you get your Doberman?

And how is it going.

Hannelore's picture
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Thank you for asking! No, I have not. The puppies were born May 13 so they're just over four weeks old now. I wanted a female and the only pup unspoken for is a male. I thought, oh, why not...but now, there is an ear-cropping issue that is making me just back away from the deal. It seems like this may just not be the right time or the right pup. The breeder had originally said she could have my pup's ears cropped when she and her friend have the two pups they are keeping cropped.

But now she says, A. I must pick the puppy up on July 1 when it is exactly seven weeks old or the day after. She feels that is when the puppy must go home and bond with his new owners. and B. She says it would be my responsibility to get the ears cropped. She will help, give me the name of the vet, etc. but it's on me to take care of it.

Trouble is she lives quite a drive away from me and that's where the vet who does the ear cropping is, also. Vets who do ear cropping here are rare to nonexistent. 

It's a long story, but I don't like driving out to where she is and I certainly don't want to do additional trips for the ear cropping after I've taken possession of the puppy.

If I can find a vet in my own town who can do it, perhaps I'll get the puppy. But I really wanted a female, anyway, so as I said...maybe I should take the hint that this isn't the one for me. :(  

talisin's picture
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Did you ever consider maybe an older senior dog that can stay at home all day ok?? with a break at lunch.....they usually don't require stimulation and activities during the day and they are great company when you are at home.....and by senior I refer to dogs 5 and older - rescues have great dogs that they can help you find the right dog for your living situation.....just a thought

I think 7 weeks is way too young to send out to a home I don't like that idea at all

why do she want to send them out that young??