Hunter is almost five months old and doing great. We've had the luxury of having helpful neighbors and family members in letting him out for potty breaks. We do crate. The longest he has been left in his crate thus far is 5 hours and there have been no accidents and he is happy as a clam when we come home (even though I worry he hates me that I've left him alone!).
My SO and I work opposite hours so the most he is left alone when we both work is 6 hours. Problem is I am starting night school soon so will essentially be gone 7:30am-9:30pm. We are also moving so family and friendly neighbors are no longer an option. SO will be gone 12:30-10:30. Net, Hunter will be alone 12:30-9:30 for max 2 days a week if both me and SO work and my class isn't in an online portion.
Naturally I feel worried! Day care is not an option since it is evening hours he will be alone. I don't want to crate him that long since he is young and I just feel guilty. Because of various reasons, having a stranger dog walker having access to my home isn't a good option.
What I have come up with is either set up a comfy play area with crate in the garage and have a dog walker only have keys to that area. However this is limited to nice weather so as winter approaches this is a no go. My second thought was to set up a pen area in the house with crate and have a mat down in case of accidents. My concern here is that he still isn't the best with accidents and I don't want him to learn that it is OK to go if you are indoors.
Sorry for the long post. I'm just anxious about this and hoping someone would have experience or advice. If you want to criticize me for leaving my puppy alone, please save it. I do love him so much and already feel bad.
Thanks in advance!
No criticizing here as reading your long, thoughtful post, shows me how much you love and care for him and feel bad leaving him. Unfortunately someone has to work and pay the bills. Congrats on going back to school. Wishing you all the success. But knowing Hunter is watched over will also help you relax and get the most out of night school.
I would go with a dog walker with a crate in the garage. Even on ugly days, dog walker can still come in and make some time for Hunter, even it's not just for a walk. Your second idea I would think, like you, if too many accidents, Hunter might think it's OK and then you have a problem.
Thanks for the reply and wishes, KAZ. You are so right on many points. My only worry is that it is going to get cold soon so it isn't a long term solution. I guess I can stick to that plan as long as the garage remains comfortable and reassess when I need to. Hunter may start getting better with accidents by then.
Has anyone else had experience with leaving a dog in a pen for a long period of time and how that has affected potty training and such?
Sorry no experience with leaving a pup for long term. Husband works from home and when he's gone all day, we make plans to stop by at lunch.
dog walker to break that into two portions. it's two days a week so shouldn't break the bank - up to the point he can hold it in that long (5 months is a wee bit early).
crate in the house are per usual, if he can hold it in 5 hours that should not be a problem at all. I would not crate in garage. I would be nervous about an x-pen unless you bolt in into the floor and it's high enough because puppies at that age can get into tons of trouble.
start looking for a dog walker now, get one liscenced and bonded (insured). looks for recommendations, call your vet and any dog friends. Go on Facebook to see who uses what. ask everyone and anyone who they use and how they like it and what they do. You can meet a few and see who you like.
Bolt down the x-pen? Just in the garage? lol, pups can get in just as much trouble in a garage as well as a house so would you bolt down the x-pen in the house?
Also I would think the OP would do some looking around to make sure there isn't nothing pup can really get into, wouldn't you think? Only makes sense?
Could I ask why you wouldn't crate in the garage, Dryfo? If the dog walker coming into the garage is the way I would go, I wouldn't put up a pen. Just keep a crate. By the time noon came around I'm sure he'd be tired enough to nap for a while. I do not feel comfortable with a dog walker having access to my home for various reasons so a pen would be needed if he was kept in home.
KAZ, do you have any idea what a comfortable temperature is for a dog before it gets too cold? I've tried looking up on it and most people say if I'm cold, the dog will be cold. Personally I'm ready for a scarf if its below 70 so I don't know how accurate that could be.
if the x-pen is not bolted in the floor somehow it will move. it,s great for small puppies or when you are there supervise but it will not keep a 5 month old puppy anywhere unless they happen to by chance be the type of dog to naturally obey and delimitation.
I wouldn't use a garage because it is not a comfortable environment the puppy is used to and I certainly would not use it if it were not temperature controlled like in the house. your pup may well be more anxious in this strange environment.
lol, you are like me. All bundled up while the rest are comfortably enjoying the "below 70's" temperature. As Labs are bred to be "out in the cold" I found this info for you.
Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever | All About Labradors
Thanks for your replies Dryfo. I am trying to figure out what is best for my pup so I appreciate multiple perspectives.
I think I need to choose the lesser of two evils. I think hell enjoy a walk in between instead of being exiled in a room for so long. Since we will be moving, the experience will be new for him overall and I can try to make the garage a happy place by buying some garage only toys and having treats, training, play times, and naps in there. Again, only keeping him there while the temps are agreeable. By the time I would have to go back to school for next semester he will be ~9 months. Do you think he'd be old enough to comfortably hold it by then? I would be able to crate him indoors then.
KAZ, thank you for the link! Since I will have some online class days and my SO will have some of the days off when I go into class, I think as long as I make the process comfortable for Hunter, he will be fine for the days he does need to stay in his crate longer. The temps and new experience were by biggest concern for him.