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Transitioning to staying home alone longer...

November 17th, 2008, 09:05 AM
Hi Everyone,
I came across this forum a couple of months ago while doing some puppy research and have found it very useful. I have a question and I hope to get a bit of help

First to introduce myself. My husband and I live in Atlantic Canada and have a 5 month old puppy named Milly. She is a beagle/shepherd mix and is the sweetest little thing. She's about 25 pounds and we have an appointment to have her spayed in a couple of weeks.

We've had her to puppy socialization classes and a 5 week obedience class too. We're hoping to do a further obedience class after Christmas. Oh, and we take her to doggie daycare one day a week (usually the middle of the week). That's all we can really afford.

My husband and I both work in the daytime, 9-5ish. We have been crate training Milly which has been going pretty well except for a few accidents here and there in the afternoons. That seems to have stopped since we have been giving her a frozen stuffed Kong for the afternoon. I think she sleeps most of the morning and then is awake/bored in the afternoon, so the Kong keeps her occupied and she hasn't peed in the afternoon since.

We're aware that a puppy shouldn't be left alone for the whole day so we have been arranging our schedules so that one of us can go home at lunch to let her out for a pee and have a short (10-15 minute) walk.

However, it's getting harder and harder to keep up that schedule. Neither of us work close to home but we've been managing in the short term. We also know that as the weather gets bad there could be days that we can't get home at lunch.

We're thinking that once she hits the six month mark it might be ok to leave her for the day (most days anyway). We plan to stagger our work hours a bit so that one of us goes to work earlier than the other so that Milly won't have to be alone more than 7 hours.

I'm looking for some tips about how to transition her into this type of schedule. We're still using the crate, but would like to give her a little more freedom too (ie, let her stay in the living room instead of just the crate). But we don't know when it's safe to do this?

Thanks in advance, we really hate the thought of leaving her all day but also know that there are lots of people in the same situation who are managing.

November 17th, 2008, 09:28 AM
I think it's different for every pup, but just to share our experience...we work similar hours and work an hour away from home so are not able to come home at lunch either. Our oldest dog was an adult when we got her, and being home during the day has never been an issue for her in terms of housetraining. The middle dog was in a tiled bathroom blocked off with a baby gate until she could climb over it around age 7 months, and other than a handful of times, there were no accidents. Our current pup, who is the world's greatest escape artist, has been able to get out of the same tiled bathroom, despite multiple baby gates, since about 4 months old. She has had accidents during the day, and at her age I would expect them. It is gradually getting better, and I hope that they'll stop in a few months. The biggest thing with pups is really knowing what they'll destroy while you're gone if they're not want to be really sure there's nothing valuable or dangerous for them to chew up. At your pup's age, I wouldn't see any reason not to allow him a bigger space, and provide a bed and a place to pee if it's possible, if you think he can't hold it all day (maybe a tiled kitchen or laundry room for easier cleanup...)

November 17th, 2008, 07:31 PM
Having someone come to walk and spend an hour with her at noon would be ideal but if you prefer the crate thing then baby-gate her in a small linoleum or tile floor area with her crate, blanket, food, water & toys.

November 17th, 2008, 09:22 PM
How about an exercise pen in a tiled area? It gives her some more space yet keeps her from getting into trouble. Leave a pee pad and a bed, a toy and the frozen kong. Eventually, she'll be able to hold it all day.

November 18th, 2008, 10:19 AM
Not to hijack the post, but are those exercise pens pretty sturdy. I can just imagine my pup knocking it over to get out... Do you just leave them in a room, or are they only for outside?

November 18th, 2008, 10:30 AM
They can be used in or outside. I personally couldn't use one for my littlest dog because she can climb anything and everything, but it would work well with my bigger dogs who respect "barriers" of any kind.