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Opinion on working people with dogs

September 7th, 2005, 06:51 PM
i'm new to this site and i would like some feedback on something. i have a 2-year-old border collie/lab and i love him to death. i've had him since he was 7 weeks. when i first got him i really didn't know much about dog training, having been a cat person all my life (until living with my sister and her sheppard and was converted). in a nutshell, i've he's pretty much the alpha between the two of us. i bought a book on humane dog training in the hopes that i could better communicate with and understand him. i emailed the address on the author's website with a couple questions and included that i'm gone during the day for work, leaving him at home. i've been working outside the home full-time for the last two months. before that i was working from home and doing occasional temp jobs. so apart from the last two months i've mostly been home during the days with him. anyway, i was told i wasn't a good fit for having a dog and that i'm "selfish". it wasn't particularly the help i was looking for. i am thinking about getting a dog walker during the week, but i'm still a bit frazzled by the email, partly because i wasn't even given any suggestions, and no advice, which would only have benefitted the dog, a species to which these people have devoted their lives. does anyone else work outside the home away from their dog(s), or am i horrible? please be kind!

September 7th, 2005, 07:44 PM
Hi mars, i dont quite understand this, most of us have to work to support our little fellas...I have been lucky that I can sometimes work from home as well as I am an artist and do a lot of commissioned work froma home studio I also teach and have a part time job a few nights a week...I try to never be gone more than seven hours. Thats just what Im used to but I know my dog can be alone longer,,,I just don't like to do it. Thre was a point that i taught in day a week... really far from home. I would be gone 9 hours so I had a dog walker for that one day a week. I dont see the problem. Anyway those are my experiences but there are lots of people on the site who would know more specifics about how long a dog should be left alone. It seems to me that as long as your spending good quality time with him when you are home, he is exercising properly, and isn't lonely its all good. I guess we need to know more detailed info. Sorry for your bad experiences.

September 7th, 2005, 07:46 PM
BTW Mars, I understand about the alpha thing, I really have to watch that as well, Im a big push over, but it is very important to work that out. Others more experienced can help you with that here too! And a border Collie probably needs tonnes of exercise...but Im sure you have found that out :)

September 7th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Borders need to be busy much of the time. I would suggest checking out training facilities in your area and enroll. This would be very helpful, more so than a book because you will have an experienced trainer to work with you. I would return the book you bought, no scense in them making money from you. The majority of my students hold full time jobs away from home and their dogs are home alone. As long as he is getting all that he needs from you, I wouldn't worry.

September 7th, 2005, 08:28 PM
Hi Mars,
When I read your post I had to laugh. I just got a phone message from a person saying I was selfish and I wasn't a good fit because I work and I sometimes go out on the weekend. Life is not the way it use to be, I have to work to pay my mortgage, pay my expenses etc. I have a dogwalker, she comes three times a week (Thinking of increasing her hours) Before we go to work, we take her for a walk minium of one hour, the dog walker takes her for one hour during the day. I come home by 6:30-7:00 (depends on traffic) take her for a short walk, make supper and take her for long walk in the evening. My dog has the run of the house,she sleeps on my sofa. She has tons of toys and plenty to eat and drink.She's very well socialized, WHEN I go out on the weekends, I drop her off at my parents house, where she spends the day with them and playing with their two dogs. The way I look at it, parents have to work and drop their kids off at daycare.Do people tell them they shouldn't have kids? No! I do everything possible to make sure may dog is not lonely and she's well taken care of. Before I took my dog on full time basis, (I was fostering her at the begining), I spoke to my vet and told her that I work full time and maybe I shouldn't have a dog. My vet told me 90% of ALL her clients work and the dog is left alone! The dogs adapt to their situation and my dog's situation is EXCELLENT compare to many dogs who's owners are home all day! She's has everything she needs and more. If you are doing that with your dog, then I don't think theirs a problem.

September 7th, 2005, 08:41 PM
I don't think you are horrible - maybe you expect too much of yourself? I have a cousin with two Border collies - lovely dogs but they need to work and they love to herd. They do not make a good city dog. My cousin has a career that allows him to take his dogs with him wherever he goes and he had lots of property so the breed is excellent for him. I am a strong believer in people picking a breed that best meets their needs - whatever kind of pet you have.

That said, that does not always work (sometimes pet CHOOSE us and we have little say in the matter. Cats especially have an uncanny knack of knowing what houses on the street are cat friendly, lol This I know, lol)

You might look into arranging your lifetsyle to your dog's - finding more time for him. Having a sitter in the day to walk him, Before he was married, my brother did this with his lab who he could not bring to work. He had a young woman come in during the afternoon to give the dog time and a walk. Sort of like doggie daycare without woirrying about other diseases one might encounter in such boarding facilities. I also have a patient whose occupation when he is not a high school student is walking several dogs after school. He seems to have developed an excellent business.

Anyway, these are the suggestions I can think of off the top of my head. Some dogs love to stay home and sleep - others like border collies need to be busy and their instinct is to herd. Borders I think (judging from my cousin's experience - and one of these dogs he brought from Ireland) like company so maybe your pooch would be less lonely if you got him a sibling???

In your case, your dog was used to your previous lifestyle and now has to make an adjustment. However, dogs are very loyal and they can adapt if they continue to have their owner's love and attention. Think of yourself as a parent with the quality and quanity of time issue (previously once the preserve of working moms made to feel guilty).

I am guessing there is no way you can bring your dog to work (More and more workplaces are becoming good about this - I even have colleagues who bring their dog to work on occasion and I certainly bring my kitty to work fairly often.

Good luck - I do not think you are a bad parent - you sound pretty caring to me!

September 7th, 2005, 08:53 PM
i'm really glad i found this site after being so upset and feeling so insulted for most of the day. thank you all so much for your reassurance, i'll sleep well tonight! i will look into a dog walker for two or three times a week to start to aleviate his alone time, and training is a great idea. regarding the exercise, he's not trustable off-leash. i was taking him to a leash-free area in a big park near where i live, which was so great for the excercise and socializing with other dogs. but he's quite territorial and a bit uneasy around children. a few weekends ago he nipped a child, he just doesn't do well around the apprehension some of them possess with dogs. thankfully it wasn't at all bad but now i'm afraid to bring him back. is walking on a leash enough exercise for dogs who like to run free?

September 7th, 2005, 09:06 PM
I work and have three dogs! I guess I can be horrible with you... :p My evenings are for the dogs and they get tons of play time, they don't care that I am gone all day as long as they get exercise, food and love they are good to go! I also do rescue so my fosters have to become accustom to being left and in reality, that's probably the type of home they will get adopted into, people have to work to pay the bills and I honestly feel there is nothing wrong with it. I do have an issue with people leaving young puppies alone but there are alternatives....

You are not horrible.....

September 8th, 2005, 11:13 AM
I work as well, that is how I feed my dog and cats. I just make sure I don't go out on the weekdays when I have been at work all day. Luckily my BF work a Tuesday through Saturday work week, so she only has four days alone. I walk her before work, and when I get home. On the weekends she comes with me most places. My friends pretty much all have dogs, we get together and the dogs have playdates.

As for the off leash thing. I can relate to that. My dog has a very strong prey drive plus I live in the country so there is lots of space, but there are also lots of rabbits, ducks, gophers, and other sorts of wildlife, so she cannot be trusted off leash. I also own a breeed that has very high exercise needs. I have a 26ft retractable leash, so she can still run and get exercise when we walk by the river.

September 8th, 2005, 01:25 PM
how lovely it would be to live in the country, and it's very nice to know that even those with dogs who do live in the country still have to use a leash. i will invest in a longer retractable leash so i can throw sticks a bit farther for my pooch, ben. i've also come to the conclusion that i must get up earlier in the mornings to allow time for a proper walk, which everyone here seems to do and would be a great thing to do before leaving ben in the mornings.

September 8th, 2005, 01:49 PM
They are great. I went through a few cheap ones and they all broke. I would recommend the Fexi long for whatever size dog you need.

doggy lover
September 8th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Hi Mars and welcome, I work full time and own a border collie who is 18 months. When one of us are not home he is in his crate for at the most 5 hours a day. He doesn't seem to show any signs of problems, we walk him often, he plays in the home and believe it or not enjoys to sleep. I also own a cottage with 16 acres where he goes every two weeks, and yes he would prefer to stay but wants to be with his family also. I have been doing some home agility with him and he enjoys it, he also enjoys herding my cats. I wouldn't let your dog become to alpha as these dogs are very smart, and can work you around their little toes. Training classes might help you out and yes a dog walker or doggy daycare, are all things that you could look into, my dog loves to socialize with other dogs and people. Send pics of your dog for us to see.

September 9th, 2005, 09:38 AM
yes, i've realised the errors of my ways. ben's half border collie and half lab but the border collie in him is really dominant. i have a friend with a chocolate lab and he's a bumbling ball of cuteness but not an aggressive bone in his body. ben has the smarts also, but it's selective. he learns quickly but when we're outside he mostly ignores me and concentrates on sniffing and trying to ditch me. he's really social as well, he LOVES other dogs and people. it sounds like your collie is very well-behaved. i really need to go to training! i don't know how to post pictures up on here other than the little picture under my name! and what's agility for dogs?

September 9th, 2005, 09:52 AM
Most times people who make stupid comments like that are unrealistic and self-rightous. Most of us can't afford to stay home all day.

My personal feeling, the one true indicator of whether it is right or not? Is your dog happy? If your dog is happy, then whatever you are doing is not cruel, or mean, or whatever. When Cheryl was pregnant and the heat hit, there were lots of times she couldn't go for walks. We felt bad because Daisy would be lethargic and wouldn't have that spring in her step. So Cheryl started blowing soap bubbles for her in the back yard. That's now her favourite game. After a half hour, they come in the house, and Daisy collapses on her mat with her tail doing a slow wag (I don't think she has the energy for more than that). And now she has the bounce back in her step. Of course, with Cheryl being home all day now, Daisy's like Dino greeting Fred when I come home, Ms. Hyper-pants-less that she is...

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, if the dog is happy, it doesn't matter the exact situation. You make the best with what you have to work with.

September 9th, 2005, 12:47 PM
it was a stupid comment, wasn't it! and i hate to say it but i'm still a bit angry about it. even just thinking about how many more homeless dogs there'd be without working people taking dogs in. thanks for the support! and yes my dog is a happy one. bubbles actually sounds like something he'd love. i never thought about that before. thanks!

doggy lover
September 9th, 2005, 02:04 PM
Believe me Tucker has his moments, and had many getting to this age. My last dog was a german shep. cross bernese mountain dog and he was totaly different to Tucker. I have heard of people compairing their dogs I could never do this. He is becoming a wonderful dog, but every so often he turns a deaf ear. I let him play off leash at our cottage and sometimes when you recall him, he just gives you a look and wonders off on his own. My last dog would wander a little from us but always returned and never tried to go towards the road, which is 1000 feet down the driveway, I don't trust Tucker like I did him. So he is a work in progress and he is coming along, we had a few problems with being dominant, but I have to keep showing him who is boss, every now and then he will try me again just to see. What can I say I love him anyways. Good luck.

September 9th, 2005, 03:41 PM
yeah i don't trust ben off-leash either. he's taken off a couple times and nearly gave me a heart attack. has tucker learned who's boss when you're out on walks and if so how'd you do it?

September 9th, 2005, 04:06 PM
Hi Mars and welcome!! I have no advice to give about dogs,since I have 3 cats(who also by the way love soap-bubbles!)...
The person who answered you was an ignorant jerk and I am glad you came on the Forum,where we have a whole bunch of helpful great people.
Good luck with Ben!

September 9th, 2005, 07:39 PM
I think people who work and have doggies give their doggies better lives than people who don't work and can't afford them... Of course, that's a wild generalization, so sorry if it offends some people. :o

I have been a student for a few years now, and I wonder what will happen to my babies when I start working full time. On the other hand, they are slowing down with age, and may not need as much later anyway.

I promised them I wouldn't leave them for more than 4 hours on a regular basis (one of mine was left alone in an apartment for 5 months, with occasional bathroom breaks on the balcony). I have generally kept my promise, but I've begun to realize, they don't care about the promise. They do fine on the odd day I'm in school for 12 hours. They know that on the hardest week, where we're both incredibly busy, they will get one on one time anyway.

It all depends on what you are willing to provide in exchange. But I do think that people who have to leave their dogs alone (with no sitter) for more than 5 days a week or more than 9 hours a day (on a regular basis) should reconsider.

doggy lover
September 9th, 2005, 07:41 PM
Tucker has always been fairly good on leash, one command I use often is beside me. I make him sit beside me at home and on walks I make him walk beside me. If he beging to walk ahead or pull too much I tell him beside me and normally he will slow to my pace. If he doesn't I give him a few little jerking tugs on his leash and he slows he pace, sometimes I have to repeat the command a few times especially if there is another dog in front as Tucker wants to play with the dog. If he is really pulling or not listening, I stop and wait until he relizes that I'm not moving and then I make him come back beside me before we start to move again. It is a process that you have to keep repeating but its working. Believe me Tucker is not the perfect dog but its a work in progress. Keep trying. Taking your dog to classes will help. With the aggression is your dog fixed? It does help, but you can't let your dog get away with an inch or next time its a yard.

September 9th, 2005, 08:08 PM
Some people can just be rude.

I am at school in the morning and work in the afternoon. Ocean is alone from 8:30 when my son leaves for school until 3:30 when my son gets home. I am usually home a few hours later. She is always happy to see me. But it has been like this since I got her. Me having to work all day m-f. Days when my son is at hs dads and I HAVE to leave for the day, I take her over to my b/f's. She loves it. If I didn't work, there would be no way I would be able to care for Ocean in the way she deserves. Mind you it would be great if I were wealthy and could spend all day with her, but reality for most people is not that wonderful. So we work, our pets stay at home, and when we get back, we love them all the more cause we have spent most of the day missing them.

As for your dog nipping a child, not surprising for a BC. I have known a few and almost all of them tried to herd the kids by nipping at their ankles. Don't know if you can convince them not to.

Good luck with the training. Maybe one day I can let Ocean off-leash as well.

PS..... I don't think you're a bad person. :)

September 9th, 2005, 08:21 PM
A horse lunging line or a dog training lead is a much safer choice than a retractable leash.

September 9th, 2005, 08:47 PM
i love this place! all the advice and reassuring stories are really helpful and comforting. the person who said that is an ignorant jerk, i agree. she's obviously not in touch with the majority of dog owners. i love cats too and grew up with them. i regret not socializing ben with cats (and kids) when he was a pup becasue he's not used to them so tends to want to chase them, cats i mean. as far as keeping him beside me goes, i use heel as a command. i find i have to gently tug on him quite frequently as it takes saying it about 10 times, or him tiring out from chasing sticks to get him to do it. i sometimes wonder if repeating it after he doesn't respond just makes him immune to it. and yes ben is fixed. i'd hoped getting it done would calm him down but it didn't unfortunately! i was living with my sister when he had it done and was looking forward to at least a few days of him giving us a break thinking he'd be worn out from the anasthetic. but with the extra iv's i paid for and extra extra anything else to ensure it was flushed out of his system and whatever else the vet offered, when i went to pick him up hours later he was lively as ever! i'm a vet's dream for that. i've been told also that if he's not good around kids now there's nothing that can be done about it, which scares me because i'd like to have some one day! my sister is a horse person. i'll have to ask her about a horse lunging line. what is it? i do have a training lead. maybe i should use that for walks and just use the retractable for park action?

September 10th, 2005, 02:52 AM
ha ha, what a RUDE author!!!

forget the comments.

your dog will get used to your lifestyle provided it becomes a routine for the dog.

when we leave for work in the morning, we take them out into the yard, they do their biz as we get ready for work, just b4 leaving, we bring them in for food and the traditional "mommy(/daddy) work, mommy love you"

with that command (lol, believe it or not), they walk into their room (yes they have their own room, they're kids after all!) and get a seat on the sofas, the radio is turned on and away we go.

when we get home, doors open and they're outside in seconds.

mind you, I'm refering to a medium and a large breed dog.

can't comment on smaller dogs....

September 10th, 2005, 12:08 PM
Hi: I believe your dog is lucky to have you. I have a 2 year-old shih-poo and I would love to be a stay-at-home owner, but the reality is, I CAN"T. The quality of our time together, I know makes up for my absences. I take her everywhere that I can. I turn down outings, if someone does not include Emily. There are 2 adults here, and we plan our errands so Em isn't left alone much. I read that dogs don't have much concept of time and the way she greets me after 6 hours away is the same as when I'm out for 30 minutes. I love her to death, she knows it, and I make no excuses to anyone. People can be home all day, and ignore their pet and worse. People farm their kids out to day care providers. I have a lot of co-worker friends who have one or more dogs, these people are dog lovers for sure, and yes, they have to go to work. No one should rain on your parade. Thank God you are a dog lover, and the time you have together is precious and full I'm sure. Mary

September 10th, 2005, 07:22 PM
My husband and I both work 40 hours or more each a week. But we work opposite schedules so someone is always home, This may change at some point as my hubby is getting tired of working nights. At that point we may look into doggie daycare, there is a few around us. Right now Joey seems to get lots of attention and walks.

I felt some guilt because I got my job close to the time that we thought we were getting a puppy (which we didnt, we ended up with an adult dog instead)

But than I realised If I wasnt working there is no way I could pay for obedience classes, good dog food, pet insurance etc... Joey still gets two or three walks a day and is very excited to see me at the end of the day. So thats nice to come home to too. :D

September 10th, 2005, 07:53 PM
yes that's all true!! and my working, and cutting back on useless expenses :eek: will afford me the dog walker that i just spoke to who will hopefully take ben on as a client! i suppose it's natural that we feel guilty leaving them but the situation seems to be common and a fact of life they adapt to. the dog walker meet ben and me tomorrow afternoon so ben can be sussed out. i'm all of a sudden very nervous at the thought of it, even though this guy has been doing this for years. i just keep picturing ben biting someone and having to be put to sleep. am i the only one with these fears taking on a dog walker? there's an elderly woman that sometimes walks through the park by my house and when me and ben are there, he barks furiously and would lunge at her if he wasn't on leash. i don't know what it is about her! but that kind of random behaviour really makes me scared because he loves people. hopefully he'll calm down from the added excercise, the experienced dog handler and regular socialization with the same the pack each day. has anyone shared my paranoia?

September 11th, 2005, 09:14 AM
I just read your story. Have you looked into Doggy Day care? Once or twice a week is a great thing for the dogs. They aren't left alone all day and it is great exercise for the dogs.
Chiceh :crazy:

September 11th, 2005, 10:29 AM
I work all day.Well actually I do 12 hour shift work.When I am on days,I get up earlier and take Tron out for a quick walk.He's not one to do #2 when we are out,so when we get back home,I let him out in the backyard.When I'm ready to leave for work,he's in the house and off I go.When my daughter gets up for school,she feeds him and lets him out till she gets changed.She will take him out for a quick walk and let him out in the back to do his buisness.She brings him in then it's off to school.

I know friends who have gotten dog walkers while they worked during the day.Also,if you are getting a dog walker,please let them know that Ben is not good with children.You need to let them know about any so called bad habits he has.And make sure the walker knows what to do to stop a serious situation that he may encounter with your dog..And I would definately contact a trainer to work with you and Ben.He is still young.And Border Collies are pretty smart.

My sister has a 9 year old Border Collie Abigail(Abby)and they are on a farm with 3 other dogs,Siberian Huskies.Abby is a working dog who has been trained very well.Yes she get free run on the farm,along with the other dogs.But my sister always brought them to town for their training and socializing.Especially when they were pups.The bonus for her is that she has 4 kids.So they got used to them pretty fast.... :D

September 11th, 2005, 10:51 AM
i dont have much to say about the working dog owner thing for my self because i am a stay at home mom so i am always here with my dogs. however my cousin used to be a working dog owner and it was perfectly fine until he decided he was going to leave king home alone for 16 to 18 hours at a time. no dog walker or anything. well he lives in our extra apartment upstairs and i finally got sick of it and told him to bring king down when he left for work or to go anywhere he was going to be gone a while and when he refused for the third day i went upstairs and got him. that is when my husband andi decided to take king back {he was ours at one time}. it would not have been a problem except thet he left him for so long everyday of the week. i just couldnt take it anymore. were we wrong in taking him back? i hope not. i thought it was the best thing for him.

September 11th, 2005, 04:52 PM
you mean you took king back to keep him for yourself? i don't think that was a wrong decision at all. 18 hours is such a long time for a dog to be alone. that's 3 quarters of each day! so many dogs are neglected and that seems a good example of it. good for you for taking him back. i'm sure king is grateful and much, much happier for it! doggie daycare sounds good! i'll have to look into it. actually, maybe i'll post suggestions for good ones in my area. i just got back from meeting the dog walker, i have a feeling my ben is going to get rejected as he says he's worried about ben not coming back when called as his dogs are always off-leash. and yeah i told him about ben's bad habits and him not being good around children. i wonder if i should maybe look into training before getting him a dog walker, or if there are daycares that do that also?