A huge number of dog lovers have dreams of bringing home their very own puppy one day, but for many people who would really like to have a dog, they make the very responsible decision that this is simply not possible for them at the current time, and that to do so would be unfair on the puppy itself.
This means that if you do not have a lot of free time and work very long hours or have an erratic schedule or transient living situation, a pup may not be a good choice, and understanding and respecting this is hard but usually the right choice. However, if you work average full-time hours (such as a nine to five with your weekends free, or any other stable working pattern that does not require you to put in a lot of regular overtime) then owning your own pup may be within your grasp-although it is not always easy!
In this article, we will look at some of the potential problems-and potential solutions-that can accompany deciding to get a puppy if you work full-time hours.
First of all, all potential puppy owners need to make an informed decision about the breed or type of dog that is right for them and their circumstances, and if your dog will need to be left alone during the day then this is one very important consideration to factor in.
Picking a breed that is highly energetic and that needs a lot of ongoing mental and physical stimulation may be a recipe for disaster in this type of situation, and so breeds like the Siberian husky may not be a good pick, albeit some working people do own very lively dog breeds and do manage to make it work!
There is a lot of merit to the idea of adopting or buying an adult dog that is already comfortable with being on their own at times if you have to go out to work, but if you have your heart set on getting a puppy, picking the perfect age to bring them home is important.
Pups should not leave their dam until they are at least twelve weeks old, and twelve to fifteen weeks of age is really the best window within which to bring a new pup home in this type of situation.
This is because you will be able to start setting down the ground rules and the dog’s routine while they have never known anything different and will be most receptive to it-a younger pup will not thrive on their own even for a couple of hours at a time, and an older pup can be more of a handful if they do not already have boundaries.
When you first bring your new puppy home, it is vital that you can take some time off to get the pup established and settled in, at least a couple of weeks. This allows you the time to start setting the ground rules for your pup and get them house trained, and begin to gradually get them used to being left alone for progressively longer periods of time.
It is vital that you use this time wisely, and have a plan for it, and that you do not simply sit playing with your pup all day rather than getting them used to how their life will be during the days when you are out at work.
Use this time to teach them about their bed or crate and the room that they will spend most of their time in, and to get them used to entertaining themselves.
Even an adult dog should not be left alone without company for more than around four hours, and when you have a pup, you will need to work up to this and not simply leave them alone for four hours from the start!
This means of course that if you work normal office hours, you will need to be able to go home in the middle of the day to let them out and spend time with them, or make alternative provisions for someone else to do this.
Hiring the services of a dog walker that can take your pup out in the middle of the day is a great idea, as this will break up their day, ensure that they are not left alone for too long, and remove one of the potential jobs you will have to do later if you can’t find the energy!
Neighbours and other family members can be a great help in this respect too, but make sure you always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong or someone lets you down.
Your pup should not be expected to simply sleep or sit around when you are out-you should ensure that they have plenty of things to do and play with, to avoid them getting bored or lonely. This should involve a wide range of different toys and interactive games that your pup enjoys, and as much stimulation as possible so that they do not have to sit around getting bored.
You may face some teething problems during the early days-like all puppy owners-such as your dog becoming destructive, toileting inside, or being fretful when left alone. If these things happen, you may need to take some time off work to deal with the issues, or have someone else that can help with this.