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Z, Rescue Mutt
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If you are providing your dog with enough physical and mental exercise, leaving home for a bit is no big deal. The absolute maximum for an adult dog to be left alone inside is 6 hrs. (puppies should be less time) If you are gone for longer, come home for 45 minutes to take care of the dog, then leave again. Tire the dog out before you leave, and hire a sitter or dog walker when necessary. Since mental exercise is so important, especially for doggy geniuses like Aussies, focus on that as much as possible. That is even more tiring for smart breeds than physical exercise. And never underestimate what a smart dog can learn (look up Chaser the BC- who knew the names of 1,000 toys, as well as multi-part sentence commands- if you don't believe me). Consider agility lessons if financially feasible, or try disc dog. Try scentwork (even in the basic find-the-treats format), and teach all kinds of fun and advanced tricks. Be sure to give the necessary human interaction through tug or other games. Fetch, by the way, is a great way to tire your dog out mentally and physically. It can take a while to teach with non-retrieving breeds, but it's doable and worth it.
If you are providing for your dog all their mental and physical needs, and work on crate and separation training, there's no issue leaving them for a bit. Just love on your dog when you get home! :)

It's difficult and exhausting to adjust to a new puppy, but don't give up. The companionship and unconditional love you receive it totally worth it. With training and age, your dog will improve, and your relationship will grow even more. You said you did the research before getting this breed. If you truly did, and believed then that you could do it, there's probably very little reason to second-guess yourself now.
 
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