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Going to work, dogs home alone

July 26th, 2005, 12:52 PM
Need some advice, perhaps a silly question, but please dont laugh....

I am in the fortunate position that I dont go to work now, just my husband works. In a few months, I will go to work--we are moving to Texas. Now, my 2 dogs have me for most of the day, and I am there to walk them, keep them company, play with them etc. I never had a dog before, never mind 2 dogs. I love them more than life itself and they love each other. I dont have human kids,only the canine kind.

To all of you moms at work--is it ok to have my dogs stay at home alone for 8-9 hours at a stretch, with no walks etc?

I am sOOPER worried about this. However, I HAD to save our puppies as they were strays and nobody would take them in, and I didnt have the heart to have them euthanised. No WAY!!!!!!!

Although I walk them 3 times a day now, I know that they have bladder control for 8-9 hours.....but I dont know if they have patience for 8 hours.

Do I have to crate them while I am gone to work? Or buy a house with a separate sunroom? Or put them in a fenced yard (so cold in winter???). One dog is 45 pounds, so shall I get a dog flap? With a dog flap, can a thief get in? (My dogs are so friendly, they would welcome strangers) I would hate to crate them or confine them.......If I put them in the yard, will my neighbours complain? Would they sue me for my dogs running after a cat?

Please advise. I live in the Middle East now and we get a lot of harrassment as dogs are considered unclean in this region, and strays are just shot or poisoned. I would love to go to a dog friendly society like the US or Canada now!

Are there training courses? Pls pls advise on anything you can help me with..

July 26th, 2005, 01:16 PM
I have left my dogs alone for 9 hours a day regularly in the past. They loaf around in the bedroom sleeping and I make sure to leave them some kongs with treats and some chew toys. Mostly though, they are couch potatoes during the day and as soon as I get home it's crazy play time! We then go for at least an hour walk off leash, some more playtime, supper and then usually agility training or just hanging around.

Right now though, I have a 14 week old pup and I have a pet sitter come into the house twice a day to let them all out for potty breaks and play time when both of us are at work. Only the pup is crated, the older two are content to chew on their toys or sleep. As the pup gets older and more trustworthy out of his crate, he will probably join them in sleeping on their dog beds

The older two consider the whole bedroom their crate area and I only have accidents in there if one of them isn't feeling well. They do not have run of the house, they are gated off with a baby gate. Well, except for the oldest dog, she just laughs at the baby gate and jumps it to sleep on the comfy sofa instead.

If your two are still needing to be crated then I would suggest getting a pet sitter to come over. 9 hours is too long in a crate for any dog. Please don't leave them outside during the day, too many bad things can happen, a designated doggy room is a good idea as well

July 26th, 2005, 01:28 PM
Can you go out shopping for an afternoon and leave the dogs loose and still find both happy and healthy when you come home? That would be my first concern.

July 26th, 2005, 01:47 PM
Nobody is going to laugh at you, this is not a silly question. It is obvious you care deeply for your furbabies. Most people who do have pets also work fulltime, so you are not alone.

Please do not leave them in your backyard. This leaves your dogs vulnerable to many things like poisoning, theft or abuse. I would leave them inside. Whether or not you have to restrict their access depends on your dogs. If they can be left in the house with free access and not be destructive, then you are safe to leave them loose in the house.

Careful about leaving them any toys if they are possessive about their things. This could lead to a fight and you wouldn't be there to break it up. If you know that they will not fight, then you could leave them something to entertain themselves to prevent boredom.

Also, take them for a good exercise session before you leave as this will tire them out and they would most likely just sleep for most of the day. When you come home, take them out for another exercise session.

Before you leave them for the full stretch of time that they will have to be left alone, try to introduce them to this new schedule gradually. Leave them alone for longer periods of time until you build them up to the new schedule. Also, it is very important that you don't make a big deal about your leaving for work. This could cause lead to seperation anxiety.

July 26th, 2005, 02:28 PM
thanks for the info. Embarrassed to say this, but all the americans here can afford a full time housekeeper in the Middle East, so this is what I have. So they are hardly ever I do go shopping, eat lunch out etc and I know that my housekeeper is home, cleaning whatever, not neccesarily entertaining them but at home.

But on the few occassions that we do leave them, they dont fight with each other, they seem to be sleeping...but for 8 hours, I never did that.

Perhaps I will do that this weekend ........leave them for say 5 hours and see how it goes.

I will be soooo nervous to leave them for 5 hours!

July 26th, 2005, 04:02 PM
Okay, some here are going to think I'm crazy..wait, I bet some already do :evil: BUT, when Shannon was about 4 yrs old I was offered a job I couldn't resist. Soooo I left here for a couple of hours at a time then gradually increased the time.

Here's the cincher....I borrowed a video camera, you know, like a Nanny cam and set it up in the living room. I would watch it when I got home to see how she reacted when I left and while I wasn't there. It made me feel better knowing...I thought. That's when I saw in the beginning she would run to the livingroom window and watch me drive away, then sit there, and sit there and sit there, just staring. So I started hiding treats for her, in the couch cushions, under the tv, everywhere. Within a week she was searching for treats most of the day. I'd leave the tv on too. I think that's when she started watching tv so much. She became a regular viewer of Animal Planet Channel, while I was sitting at home, watching her watch tv, lol :party:

July 27th, 2005, 01:34 AM
shannon, I love the animal planet idea. And the treats.....what are nutricious treats you can give her? Or is it toys? I have 2 dogs so they might start fighting for the treats so must try it out once and then see.....

I can just imagine shannon waving you off and staring and staring. She must have been devastated to see you off in the beginning. Poooor baby.


July 27th, 2005, 08:29 AM
Yes, definately try it out first with you present. Are they food/toy possessive? But the nanny cam really is a good idea. Then you find out how your doggys act and react when there's no human around. :party:

There's many, many threads on nutritious, healthy treats, even home made ones on the site. I'm sure if you do a search, you'll find some that you like! Always keep in mind the weight issue too though, when picking what your going to give your doggys. Many of us have woken up one morning to find that our doggy has "suddenly" gotten fat without us noticing until someone else pointed it out :eek:

July 27th, 2005, 05:46 PM
By the way in answer to all of your questions.... Yes .... & .....No.
Everything depends on you and your particular dogs. The advice given has been great. You need to start preparing these dogs for alone time now. Try not to over empathize for their new situation. They will feel it and take it on. DO NOT say goodbye to them when you leave or hello when you walk in the door. Wait until you have been home for a few minutes and then greet them - this takes the stress out of your leaving.
They are going to go through lots of changes with this move so I would make sure that you reinforce the crate training. A dog who loves his crate always has a home. So whether in ME or the USA the crate is the constant. They also have each other for support so that is a good thing.
Hiding food (an actual meal) around the house can be a fun hunting game for them. Just do it when you are at home first to ensure that they don't start hunting inside the couch cushions.

July 28th, 2005, 08:43 AM
thanks for the response tender foot. I dont get one thing.

What do you mean by crate training. Crate training for toilet training or crate training as in putting them somewhere which is a den for them?

Please advise.

The only crate training I know is for toilet training. And they are toilet trained, atleast to do it outside on a walk.

July 28th, 2005, 09:03 AM
TF is referrering to crate training as in crating for the time that you are not home, which works great for some dogs (like two of my three) that cannot be trusted to behave and or may accidentally damage items (i.e. playing that results in a table being overturned) when no one is at home.

July 29th, 2005, 08:25 AM
what exactly do you mean?

I understand, you crate them. but then in a cage/area about how many times the size of him? can you do this for 8 hours?

And if they are not so catastrophic and dont break anything, just leave them with a run on the house? I think they are not so destructive, so please advise.....

July 29th, 2005, 08:34 AM
If your dogs can be trusted alone, then you don't need to crate them in your absence. Some dogs like the crate in that it is a safe haven for them. A place to go to get away from everything.

We've had 4 dogs in the house at one time and a cat. None were crated in our absence. But that is because they were not destructive and would pretty much sleep the whole time we were not home.

When my beagle was a puppy though, she would be left in her crate while we were out. She couldn't be trusted without supervision as she would chew and do other destructive behaviour that we didn't want her to make a habit. She loves her crate even now, but she is not locked in it. It is left open for her to escape to and be by herself when she feels she needs it.

Introduce them to your new schedule gradually by building your time away from home up until you can leave for the 8 or 9 hours. If your dogs show any destructive behaviour in the beginning a crate might be a wise idea. Otherwise they will be fine with full access to the house.

Another option is an exercise pen. It is a larger enclosure and will allow them a bit more freedom, but restricted only to a certain area that you choose. A crate is usually only big enough for the dog to stand, sit and lie down comfortably.

July 29th, 2005, 09:53 AM
what exactly do you mean?

I understand, you crate them. but then in a cage/area about how many times the size of him? can you do this for 8 hours?

And if they are not so catastrophic and dont break anything, just leave them with a run on the house? I think they are not so destructive, so please advise.....

It really depends on your dog. Of my three, two are crated while I'm not home, the other has the run of the house. Of the two that are crated, one is still a puppy while the other bores easily and will resort to chewing on door casings and just generally mischief. Mine are only crated for about 4 hours at a time (they get out at lunch for a break). For 8 hours, you may want to look into a larger crate / x-pen or block a room off for them. However, if they are good in the house without supervision and you know that they will not get into trouble, I would leave them out.

July 29th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Sorry I have been absent - doing a TV show everyday is overwhelming! But we are done for the week and hopefully life will go back to a decent pace.
Anyway, everyone has stepped up for me anyway so all is well.
Crates are just a handy way to help when times are tough or in flux. It gives the dog a sense of stability in an insecure time. You might only use it for a week or two until things start to feel more settled and you can start testing them in the house alone for short periods. I like the solid sided (like an airline crate) because it is more den like. It should be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lay down again.
Every dog is different so it might be that they adjust so smoothly that you wonder what you were so worried about or they might need more support.