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Some of our most popular blog posts are about how to potty training your puppy and how to crate train your puppy so it’s no wonder we receive a plethora (my wife Allison’s favorite word) of questions on these two subjects.
Sure Colby, but what do those two subjects have to do with today’s question: What do you do with your puppy when you work full time?
Well Ma’am, let me tell you…0ver the many years writing on the subject of puppy pee and poop I’ve received hundreds of questions about potty accidents in the crate and the majority of these questions ended something like this:
…my puppy can hold it for 8-10 hours at night. I work a full time job and I leave my puppy in the crate for only about 6-8 hours a day and every time I come home my puppy has pee’d and pooped in his crate. What am I doing wrong?” –CD
TIP OF THE DAY: If your puppy has an accident in crate, on the carpet, or anywhere in the house make sure you use an enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator. If you don’t completely remove the odor your puppy will be tempted to potty in the same spot again and again…
Okay, let me give you a quick answer to the above question: You should never leave your puppy in the crate all day!
When we first bring home our 8 week old puppies we do not crate them for more than 1-2 hours during the day.
Okay folks to answer our original question we need to first hop into the WABAC Machine (yep, that was a Rocky and Bullwinkle reference. Have I dated myself?)…
Before I Had Puppies
Rewind back to the 90’s. I graduated college, I started working in corporate America, and I had very little time for anything outside of the monotony of eat, sleep, work…rinse, wash, repeat…
Back then I had no intentions of getting a puppy. Maybe a goldfish, but a puppy!? I had no time and a puppy was definitely out of the question!
7+ years after joining the Rat Race I called it quits and went back to school.
During this time I attended classes, but I also spent a large portion of my days studying, reading, and writing at home.
No longer spending 8-10 hour days in a cubicle underneath the strobe of a fluorescent light I decided it was time to raise and train a puppy of my own…
…Enter our rescue pup, Linus!
Okay, so I chose not to raise a puppy while working full time so what’s a person to do if they are at work all day?
What Do You Do With Your Puppy When You Work Full Time?
I think it’s difficult, but not impossible to get a puppy while working full time.
Would I do it?
You can see my answer in the section above.
That does not mean you can’t do it.
If you are interested in getting a puppy while working a full time job then here are my suggestions for you:
Get Help From:
- Family Members – My parents, brother, sister, parent-in-laws have all helped as puppy sitters.
- Friends – Michael, Kristen, Jason, and Nicola have all been life lines for me and my puppies.
- Neighbors – We recently moved and I haven’t yet employed the neighbors as puppy sitters, but it’s coming soon 🙂
- Pet Sitters – When we got married a couple months ago we employed our first paid puppy sitter.
- Doggy Daycare – We haven’t tried doggy daycare, but we see many dogs enjoying their day at Wags and Wiggles doggy daycare.
I’d recommend bringing on one or more of the above people to help you, but your puppy should also get used to spending sometime alone during the day.
I’d make it a goal to try and not crate your puppy more than 1-2 hours twice a day.
QUICK RECOMMENDATION: We highly recommend crate training (but don’t overuse your crate) and if you’re wondering we recommend and use the MidWest Life Stages Double Door Crate w/ Divider with all of our puppies.
Even if you do not work full time I highly recommend getting others to help you when raising a puppy.
I often hear in the guide and service dog community: “It takes a village to raise a puppy.”
By the way, you won’t need help from friends and family forever.
Although I’m sure your puppy will always enjoy the company of people over being left alone most people cannot spend time with their pup’s 24×7.
Our dog Linus adjusted to being left alone for longer periods of time somewhere around 6-9 months of age. At that age he was potty trained and we no longer crated him during the day.
We actually put a little webcam on him and as you might have guessed he spent 95% (and 85% of statistics are wrong) of his time sleeping on the couch.
QUICK TIP: Guess what? There are several fancy pants new dog cameras on the market now. If you’re interested in monitoring your dog’s activities while your away then you might want to check out the Petcube.
Become A Guide Dog Puppy Raiser!
I found a loophole (at least for me) to raising a puppy while working a full time job.
About 2 years after raising and training Linus I became interested in getting another puppy.
I was working full time again and I wasn’t quite ready for the challenge of raising a puppy while working a full time job.
In April 2006 I started researching different guide dog organizations from Guide Dogs of America to Canine Companions for Independence.
My goal was to serve my community, raise, and train a puppy while working my full time job.
My Solution: Guide Dog Puppy Raising!
Raising a guide dog puppy came with the benefit of access (for the puppy) to public places including my work office (that was the big one), restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, etc. basically most places the general public is allowed.
I got my first guide dog puppy and with approval from my manager and the CEO of the company I worked for I was able to take Stetson to work with me every day.
And so my journey as a guide dog puppy raiser began…
What You Shouldn’t Do With Your Puppy When Working Full Time
Do not crate your puppy all day while you are at work!
Let me repeat.
DO NOT CRATE YOUR PUPPY ALL DAY WHILE YOU ARE AT WORK!
A crate is a great tool for managing your puppy however overuse can lead to behavior problems not the least of which could be pee/poop accidents in the crate.
A puppy is not easy work.
You need a considerable amount of time, dedication, patience, persistence, and a few other adjectives to make sure your puppy becomes a well balanced dog.
Don’t take it lightly.
If you work a full time job and you are at the office all day make sure you think things through and employ the help of friends and family before bringing home a puppy.
Without a proper support group your puppy may end up with behavior problems that will drive you nuts.
Does raising a puppy sound like too much work now?
After reading my post do you think you don’t have the time, support network, or patience to raise a puppy? If so, then a better solution for you might be to adopt an older dog.
Lindsay over at ThatMutt.com wrote about adopting her dog Ace:
…I had specifically chosen to adopt a laid-back, potty-trained dog because I knew I would be gone a lot. I knew I needed a calm dog, that a puppy wasn’t right for me.”
Take a look at the full blog post: Yes, it’s OK to adopt a dog if you work full time.
Do you guys have a puppy and work an 8 hour day?
What do you do with your puppy when you work full time?
Tell us about your situation in the comment section below.
QUICK UPDATE: We’ve been using webcams since our very first puppy Linus over 14 years ago. Today, there are several great dog cams that allow you to monitor, video chat, play, or even send a treat to your dog while your away from home. We were lucky enough to demo these two dog cams:
These dog cams can be expensive, but often worth it for peace of mind.