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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! New to the forum. I retired from the Navy last year and am now established in my civilian life. One of the things that I was never able to do while I was in the military was to have a dog. I just didn't think it would be fair to leave a dog alone in a kennel for the multiple months that I would be deployed. I did have a dog while growing up and family members have dogs, so o have been around them enough to know what it takes to have one.

The question that I have is that for my job I work 12 hour days with significant travel (I can be gone for up to 14 hours a day). The good thing is that I usually only work 4 days a week. When I work 5 days then those are 8 hour days. I am concerned with how this schedule would impact a dog (bathroom accidents, adapting to being alone).

I own a 1900 sqft. Town home what does not have a fenced in yard and I also live alone? I am prepared to give a dog plenty of walks and exercise when I am home. I am also financially stable to handle the expenses of pet ownership.

I have looked into pricing and availability of dog walkers in my area. I would be looking for a mid sized young male dog. Any advice/suggestions are appreciated.
 

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12 hours is too long for the dog to be alone IMHO, unless you have a fenced back yard and even then it isn't ideal. Luckily there are a myriad of good options. Look into 'doggie day-care' and look into hiring a dog walker to come by and give your dog a respite.
 

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Welcome back to civilian life! One of my mates also just left the Navy. He spent the first week or two passed out on the couch xD

If you're thinking of getting a dog, I'd go for an older, trained rescue or a retired breeder. Sometimes breeders have older dogs that they want to relocate after their show careers and breeding days are over. These dogs are great options because they're well mannered, more relaxed, and you don't have to spend seven hours a day rushing them back and forth to the bathroom. If you're gone twelve hours a day, you might want to invest in doggie daycare, or a dog sitter to come over and be with your dog a few hours a day, as that's a long time for a dog to be alone! But it can definitely be done! Maybe if you have a relative or a good friend in the area, they wouldn't mind taking the dog a few days a week as well. Good luck with your dog hunt! It's exciting and nerve wracking xD
 

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Is there any way you could get an adult? I'd go that route. Could you possibly bring a dog to work with you? Leaving a dog alone for 12 or 14 hours would require some special planning and you'd want to think about where the dog would be. You'd need to figure out what to do as far as the dog needing to relieve itself too. Be prepared for some amount of possible damage to your place if you leave a dog alone with a free run of your place for that long and I personally find it unethical to leave a dog in a crate for that long. I don't necessarily see anything wrong with keeping a dog alone that period of time but just remember that dogs are social animals and give it plenty of attention when you're home. :)
 

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I work in an industrial area, so I can't bring a dog to work. How hard is it to train a dog to do its business in a garage? I can leave the inside door open to the garage when I am gone and wouldn't mind the cleanup in there. I only use my garage for my vehicle now.

Are older dogs better because they can hold it longer or is the suggestion just based on temperament and the ability to adapt to being alone?
 

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An older dog would be better because you don't need to devote 24 hours a day for months to training and raising a puppy. An older dog is probably house trained, and already knows basic commands like 'sit', 'down', 'come'. They're also less crazy-mad-ball-of-energy-bouncing-off-the-wall. When My BC was a puppy, we used to have to take two hour walks a day and train at least 30 minutes, another 30 of tugging toy play before she knocked herself out. Now, we take one 45 minute walk a day, two trips to the dog park a week and she's extremely happy. Puppies just have a loooot of energy and need a lot of attention and socialisation! If you have your heart set on a puppy though, you're going to have to time it's arrival well! You'll need to be with the puppy the first few weeks he's home to train him. The other option is getting an older puppy (one with some training, maybe 6 months old). They're more independent at that age, but still do need lots of attention and stimulation and socialisation with people as well as dogs.

As for going in the garage, it's quite easy! For years, I lived in a flat and Bryn was trained to do her business only on the porch. So it definitely can be done. The other option is the potty patch, which I haven't yet used but intend to start. It's supposed to be quite easy to clean, so if you stick it in the same corner and clean it out every day, you should be good!

Puppy Potty Trainer Indoor Grass Training Patch - 3 Layers - Walmart.com
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I definitely wasn't thinking along the lines of a puppy. Being a first time adult owner, I don't want to have to do all the training a puppy would need so I guess I just want a younger dog (just already trained on the basics). I just want a dog that will be around for a number of years and starts out at least with some energy. I know that late in life a lot of dogs don't really have a lot of energy. So I guess I am looking for a 2-3 yr old dog?

If I can train a dog to do its business in the garage while I am away I think that I may be able to do this.
 

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What do you mean by a town home? It isn't the most ideal for some dogs to be in the habit of going to the bathroom anywhere besides the outdoors, IMO, as it can be harder to "untrain". Could you install a "doggie door"? Do you have a yard with a fence. If not, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker.

An adult dog (and a young adult dog of some breeds would be fine) would be better as it'd probably be mostly house trained already and able to spend more time alone. A puppy would really need time for house training and a person/owner present most of the time. A puppy may work out if you could change your work schedule for possibly 6 months to a year. That's a big "if" though.
 

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Another thing that's important to think about is ensuring access to water. A little tip with this too is using a bucket or something else that's stable and physically held down for water as you don't want a dog to be without water for that amount of time for any reason. Especially in the summer months. Some dogs spill or tip their water over. :)
 

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I think ColliesRock may have a point; it really depends on the dog! If your dog can distinguish between the floor types (some, like my BC, can. Others... not so much. My sisters' mini pins for example), then teaching him the difference between going in the garage where there's a cement floor versus going in the wood/tile floor house shouldn't be too difficult, particularly since you're looking at an older dog. It'll be important to block off a small area of your garage with baby gates or something though, I believe; that way the dog won't be able to tear apart whatever you're storing in there. He won't be able to pee on the car, or mistakenly chew on motor oil or some such thing, or pull things off of low shelves. It also gives him a more concentrated area to do his business, which means less for you to clean up!

A 2-3 year old sounds great! Bryn's nearly 5 now, and while she's a couch potato at home, she still loves going for hikes and romps, but at the same time isn't vibrating off the walls because she doesn't go on a 3-hour excursion every day. And that started when she was about 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My townhome association doesn't allow fences, so I can't have a doggie door/fenced in yard. I have looked online at the various pads for indoor use and think that would be perfect to put in the garage. My garage is really small and I don't store anything out there with the exception of a small toolbox, my trash can, and my recycle container. I think it is the perfect place for the indoor pad. I can just prop the door open when I go to work so a dog can do its business. When I am home the door would be shut with my car in the garage and I would be available to bring the dog outside.

I don't think providing access to water will be that big of a problem.

Thanks for all the feed back! I really appreciate it and I am really leaning towards making this happen now!
 

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That sounds great! Sounds like you've got a good thing going! Depending on how big a dog you get, make sure the bin and recycling are shut tight, because they can be resourceful little buggers when they're bored. Learned THAT one the hard way lol

You're most welcome! It's going to be great having a dog to come to at the end of the day. There's nothing like opening that door to a wagging tail and a grinning, slobbery face!
 

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I would probably still consider hiring a dog walker or taking the dog to doggie daycare. Only for the fact that the dog may need more stimulation. I can imagine that coming off of a 12 hour shift, you are not going to then stay up for 4-6 hours engaging the dog? And considering the dog has just spent 12 hours mostly sleeping, the dog may not get enough stimulation and may start to develop problems. Just a thought.
 

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Hi,

I just want to second @jclark343 - 12 hours a day alone/sleeping/bored, an hour (two if he's lucky) of time with his human, then expected to settle for the night - that is a lot to ask of a dog. Doggie Daycare may be the best option - the dog doesn't have to go every day, maybe just every other day during your work week. Bored dogs, even older, settled dogs, might start to look for something to do - chewing is a preferred past-time, and that puts shoes/clothes/furniture/walls at risk.

Anyway, good luck and when you choose your dog please introduce him/her, with pics. :)
 

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It really depends on the dog and the person. Some dogs would probably just sleep all day if left alone for 12 or 14 hours and be happy with a 30 minute walk when the owner returns. Too, a little bit of damage wouldn't bother some people. It wouldn't hurt to hire a dog walker or dog daycare, however, especially with some dogs out there.
 

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The potty solution in the garage is absolutely doable with a potty pad or heck even a 'sandbox' with training.

HOWEVER, I still worry about how bored and possibly destructive the dog would get being alone long periods of time, and so I still think doggie daycare is #1 option and dog walker is #2 and training the dog to go in the garage is #3
 
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