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Bodie is a 4-month old Cockapoo and we have had him now for about 7 weeks. I work from home most of the time, so I'm his primary carer and have been investing a lot of time in training, exercise, etc. However, I also have two kids and my husband works away from home during the week, so I'm responsible for everything to do with the kids, house, work etc, and now puppy. It was 100% my decision to get him (my husband wasn't in favour and now doesn't want a lot to do with him) so I take full responsibility for that, but I am feeling quite overwhelmed at times. I have to leave him for a full day once per week (about 10 hours) and my sister comes over to walk him. However, I find that the day after that he is very clingy and needy, which I understand, but I'm then finding it really hard to leave him alone, as I'm worrying that he will be upset. An example would be this week, where I was away for 10 hours yesterday and have to leave him again tomorrow for about 5 hours, as my son has a hospital appointment. I'm feeling very tied at the moment, which I know is part of having a dog, but I think I just need to feel that it will get easier. I can't leave him outside unsupervised atm as our garden is not secure, but we will be getting a radio fence when he is 6m old, which might make him feel a little more independent and less needy if he can wander freely in our big garden - something he loves to do.
How do all of you cope when you have to leave your dogs for periods of time? Where do you leave them? Are they happy to be alone? I just hate the thought of Bodie being distressed without us, but I can't be there all of the time, when I have two kids to manage as well.
Would appreciate any words of wisdom or advice - is it normal to feel overwhelmed at this stage? He is a lovely little guy and my daughter (9) adores him, so he is here to stay!
C.
 

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It will get better, at least for me it did (same situation, my idea, husband loves her by now, but she is still mainly my responsibility), even though my husband and I are working full time.

Where do you leave Brody, when you have to go out the house?
Bri is now 9 months old, we got her when she was 6 months. She has her crate in the bedroom where she sleeps with us and then stays while we are out the house (which is about 6-7 hours a day). We have a camera set up, so we know what she is doing and mostly she is just sleeping. She gets a cookie from me when I leave and later, when my husband leaves, she gets her stuffed Kong. Additionally she has some Nylabones in there to keep her entertained, but she mostly doesn't chew on them.

Don't feel bad for leaving him! You can't always be there and a crate should be the safe place for him (did you crate train him, if you have one for him?). With 4 months of age the 5 hours should be the max, so it's great that you sister comes by to take him out.
If it is overwhelming for you when you are at home as well, don't feel bad to put him in the crate for an hour or so to get some things done around the house and he can take a nap. Just make sure to make his crate (again, if you use it) fun for him. With Bri I always make a race to the crate, so she enjoys being first (always... :) ), getting her cookie and settles down really quickly.

So don't worry, don't feel bad, it's normal! You cannot always be there and hardly anyone can. He'll be fine :)
 
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Thanks for your reply BrittaS.. I've been leaving him in our utility room with newspaper on the floor on that one day pw, as I felt it was too long to have him in a crate, but it is setting us back in terms of house training. He sleeps in the crate at night and during the day. Sometimes, there could be a six hour stretch on that day that I'm away, depending on what time my sister can call in, so I'm guessing that's too long for him. Is it alright to leave him in the crate all of that time that day, when he is able for 6 hour stretches? It seems like a long time! But it's reassuring to know that your Bri can stay in the crate for 6-7 hours and be happy. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I tend to worry and empathise a bit too much, so I take a lot of pressure upon myself unnecessarily. A few times I've wondered what I've done, taking Bodie on! But I'm hanging in there in the hope that it will all get easier.
Thanks again.
 

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You're welcome!
What I said with the 5 hours max is the thumb rule, age in months plus 1, but that doesn't mean that Bodie (sorry for the name mix up :) ) can't go longer!
For us it seems like a long time, but just think about it. dogs sleep 14-18 hours a day, a puppy even longer. Also, don't project your feelings onto him. Sure, for us it would seem unbearable in the little crate for that length of time, but we are awake most of the day, what would we do in there?
For Bri (and I'm sure it holds true for most of the dogs) it's a totally different story. She sleeps 90-95% of the time and the rest she's busy with the Kong or once in a while with the Nylabone.
As far as house training goes, yes, I'd guess it does set you back. I'd give the crate a shot. If your sister is late and he has an accident, then maybe consider to keep him in the utility room before your sister comes and she puts him back in his crate when she leaves and when he is a couple of weeks older, just try the crate thing again.
The bladder needs to get trained, so it's trial and error to find out when he's ready :)

We've had Bri for nearly 12 weeks now and it really holds true: 3 days for the dog to adjust after travel, 3 weeks until the personality shows a bit better and 3 months when everything is starting to fully settle in. Hang in there! You got this :)
 

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Thanks so much BrittaS - sometimes I just need to hear the voice of reason! It stresses me when Bodie is whining / barking, but I need to just allow him to do that from time to time and learn to settle down. I've been there before with 2 children, so I probably just need to apply the same logic! I think I've definitely been suffering from the puppy blues. My kids are just at an age now when things were getting a lot easier and I've been having more independence, so it's a big set-back to have a puppy to look after.. not sure why I did that - maybe it was a sub-conscious attempt to hold on to the 'being needed' stage? Anyway, I just need to get past this stage of struggling with the neediness and hope that Bodie will develop into a calm little independent dog sometime in the future.
Thanks again for your replies.
 

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We just brought our 8 week old cockapoo puppy home 4 days ago and I am in the throws of Post Puppy Anxiety :( I knew it would likely happen as I have mild anxiety anyway and knew that my calm, easy routine was going to be turned upside-down, as well as my house. I think you do what you have to do to get through it and the set-up you have should work OK, unless you think you could have someone come in more frequently during those longer stretches. I am lucky in that I leave the house 8:30 am and will have someone come in at 11-11:30 and I am home by 1:45, so he won;t be alone too long. Hopefully as he matures, we can stretch it out more. I am eventually planning on using the exercise pen set-up with a patch of fake turf (or real sod) and see if we can manage that way on longer days. Hang i there, it will get better. I just keep telling myself that ;)
 

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Congrats on your new puppy MHDDOG2016 & best of luck. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and tired again today and half wishing for the days back when I could sleep a bit later in the morning and life was a bit quieter. I'm counting the weeks to Bodie being old enough to use a radio fence and being able to be unsupervised out in our garden. It all gets me down at times and I hope I've made the right choice in the longer term taking him on. My daughter loves him, so there is no turning back!
 

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Congrats on your new puppy MHDDOG2016 & best of luck. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and tired again today and half wishing for the days back when I could sleep a bit later in the morning and life was a bit quieter. I'm counting the weeks to Bodie being old enough to use a radio fence and being able to be unsupervised out in our garden. It all gets me down at times and I hope I've made the right choice in the longer term taking him on. My daughter loves him, so there is no turning back!
I am right there with you. I have a 16 year-old cat that I am putting down either today or tomorrow as she has lymphoma and has stopped eating and can't control her bowel and bladder :( I feel like the puppy is taking away some of my attention from her. My 10 year-old son is uncomfortable around the puppy, other than petting him when he is calm, so I worry about their bond. My 8 year-old adores him and is doing great with him but I don;t trust her to take him out alone without him getting into something. It's the constant vigilance, not letting him eat everything when we are outside, etc. that is exhausting. I put him in his play pen area and he stands at the gate and cries. I try to ignore it but the louder it gets, the more anxious I feel :( I know it is a learning process and it will get better. Today is my first day back at work and maybe getting back into a routine will help with everything . I have a dog walker coming at 11. Maybe the time away with help me, and also once my kitty is gone. Right now the anticipatory anxiety of "waiting" for that appointment to make that decision is weighing heavily on my heart. Anyway, my point it, I totally empathize the feelings of "what have I done" and knowing you are in this for the long haul. Hang in there!
 
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