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Hi all,

I'm a 24 year old, full-time employed graduate student who lives alone.

I've wanted a dog forever and was always jealous of friends who had them, but my parents weren't dog people, so when I finally got my own apartment I was super excited to get my first dog.

Three weeks ago, I got a 6 year old Labrador - Catahoula mix from a shelter. He was raised with a littermate, but they weren't so bonded that the shelter felt compelled to try and adopt them out together. They said (and I agreed) that he'd be a good fit for me as he leans towards the lazier side and (once he's been walked) likes to lay around all day.

I feed him and walk him for at least 20 minutes every morning before work, and usually longer after work, weather providing. He was already housetrained, although he did have a few accidents inside the first week I had him, but none since.

I'm just feeling a lot of anxiety since I got him, which I wasn't expecting but now that I'm looking online I see is more common than I thought. I'm worried that he won't be happy when I go back to school in the fall, even though it's just one night a week and I've already commissioned a family member to come by and make sure he's walked/fed after work and looked into dog daycare as a backup plan.

Right now I feel guilty even leaving the house to run errands, or not paying attention to him in favor of other stuff when I am home (cleaning, yoga, etc) because he's by himself while I'm at work.

I've been running home on my lunch breaks for the past three weeks to check up on him and today is the first day I've left him alone all day - we'll see how he does in a few hours when I get home.

Did any of you feel this way when you got your dogs? Did it go away? I've toyed with re-homing him with the understanding that I need to at least give him a few months to get used to me and my schedule, and then re-visit if he's really not happy or adjusting.

Any input you guys can give would be appreciated.
 

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This is totally normal. Totally.

1. It's okay for a dog to be alone. He's not dying a thousand deaths when you go to the store. He probably gets a little bored, goes to sleep and then rejoices when you return. As dogs do. You can do stuff like walking him and training him right before you leave so as to wear him out to ensure he sleeps, but he'll be fine either way.

2. His life now is infinitely better than it could have been. What was his fate without you? On a chain in a back yard? Stuck in a shelter for a year or two? Euthanized for space? A few hours a day alone is infinitely better than any of those fates.

Give it a couple of months and see how you feel.
 

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I think it sounds like you are giving him more than enough attention.

You really have gone about adopting a dog in all the right ways. You got an older dog that can be left alone a lot longer vs. a puppy. You have spent a lot of time with him getting adjusted, and you've taken the time to check up on him during your work day. Dogs tend to sleep most of the day, and they shouldn't make you limit your life.

Honestly, I have 2 dogs, 1 is 4 the other is 2. I also work 8 hour work days and work an hour away. My dogs are usually alone from 7:30-5:30 when my husband gets home. Neither one of us can make it home on lunch and honestly, it's not in my funds to pay for a dog sitter, nor would I be comfortable with a stranger in my house. Even with all of this I think my dogs live pretty good lives. Yea it's not the BEST and I wish I could spend more time with them, but quite frankly, I have to pay the bills.

It's normal to have anxiety when you first adopt a dog. It's change. Big Change. Just remember to breath. And maybe look into a training class where you can get involved with a trainer that will help you along the right road in your new experience!

Congrats! It's amazing how much these furry friends of ours change our lives.
 

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Welcome to the Dog Forum!

I agree with jclark that you seem to have adopted a really lovely dog, one well-suited for your lifestyle.

Bringing home a dog is always an adjustment. You're no longer responsible just for yourself, but also for this living animal who is dependent on you for everything. It's almost, though not quite, like having a child. It's because you are such a caring person that you feel this weight.

I think that as time goes by, you'll feel more and more comfortable with your new lifestyle, and you'll feel more and more attached to your new dog. As you get to know each other, you'll start to develop a rhythm. It will get easier.

Don't worry about your dog during the day. I'm guessing that he's mostly just sleepng contently. His favorite part of the day will be when you come home. You'll spend some of your after work hours taking care of him, but a lot of joy for both of you will be in the quieter moments - petting him while you're watching television or letting him follow you around the house while you're doing chores. He doesn't need to be entertained every moment. For the most part, being near you will be enough.

If you spend more time on this forum, you'll see that we get a steady stream of new members with newly adopted dogs. Yours seems to be doing very well compared to many of them. I would certainly advise you to give your new relationship more time. I expect that your new dog will bring you a lot of joy and companionship.
 

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Super normal.

I still don't like leaving my dog at home alone and he's been with me for 3 years. As long as your dog is being fed and their exercise requirements are being met - they seem to be pretty happy :)

Honestly? You sound just like a new dog owner - and I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that in the sense that at some point we've all felt like we're doing it "wrong" or like someone else could do it better, but everyone with a job or who took time to continue their education has had to leave their dog at home from 9-5 and fit a social life in there somewhere too. :)

You're doing just fine, and your dog doesn't sound neglected in the least from what I can tell.
 

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Just to mention that dogs tend to be crepuscular. That means that, left in their natural state, they are most active at dawn and dusk, and rest or laze around the rest of the time. This why they can adapt fairly well to our lifestyle; they are naturally most active when we are the most available. Except for the dawn part, of course.

Anyway, our dogs wake up in the morning to pee, mine between 6 and 7 am (for about 15 minutes), before I go to work; my boyfriend's dog is up sometime between 8 and 11 am, and let into the front yard. Both dogs then voluntarily go back to bed for a few hours, even though they have a human right there, since my BF doesn't work.

BF takes them out in the afternoon, for a walk and/or to visit "Bear" (a friend's dog), in his large backyard - where they spend the majority of their time just laying about, interspersed with playing and barking at squirrels and the neighbors' activities. Then they come home for the evening, and another 30 minute walk before bed.

So, even with all that "company" and "busyness" during the day, both our dogs spend the majority of it napping. So don't worry about your guy, he's not suffering at all, and really sounds ideal for your lifestyle. :)
 

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It is normal to be anxious and want the best for your dog companion, that's what caring about someone or something means.

I think you are not concentrating on the right areas though. A dog that has it's human present at all times but who never really does anything with the dog is in a worse situation than a dog whose owner is away per the normal life of a human, but when present goes through extra effort to have fulfilling life for the dog.

So ask yourself if when you are home can you spend more time with your dog? Do more fulfilling activities?

Dogs like to work. Have you thought of involving your dog in any sort of sport or activity? Agility, obedience, pulling a cart, dock diving, dancing, heck just constantly training and teaching new tricks, not for the tricks themselves but because training is activating the dog's brain as well as building a bond between you and him. Bring him to the lake to go swimming, find spots where he can dig, find ways to challenge his nose, teach him to find shed antlers, add a 'find it' element to a game of fetch.
 

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Hey! i have also just got a new puppy and would love some feed back from you guys!!
she is an adorable cavapoo 9 weeks old today :), gorgeous!
i have had anxiety and am on medication for it, i been doing well but since i have had her my anxiety is incredible i am out of my routine! with anxiety and routine it is like a must! i still give her the attention she wants and she is definitely adored by me and the other half but if anyone else has had this would you be able to give me tips! i am constantly anxious! i will not give her away, i got her to give her the best possible life she can possibly have with us,i would just love some
people who has had this feeling to tell me i am not going crazy!! thank you
 

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Once you establish a routine and realize that your dog won't fall apart when you aren't constantly supervising or interacting, you will be able to relax, bond, and enjoy. Pretty soon you'll look back and laugh. It takes a little longer with some dogs than others (and puppies are a whole different thing because of vigilance required with housebreaking), but a good household routine works wonders for you and the dog :)
 
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