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Thread: Thoughts on owning a dog with a full time job

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Thoughts on owning a dog with a full time job

    So, the title says it all really.

    I would really love a dog. My experience of owning dogs so far is present but limited I guess. When I was at university my parents got a dog (a Samoyed), I would visit home relatively often and obviously spend the long holidays at home with the dog. I loved that dog. I loved training it and would get frustrated when other members of my family wouldn't keep up the training when I was away. I had a really strong bond with the dog, more so than anyone else in my family despite me not even being there as much as they were. The dog died when it was just 4 years old and I was heartbroken. That was about 3 years ago.

    I have now been working as a doctor for 4 and a bit years, and my working pattern was just completely incompatible with getting a dog (despite me missing having one in my life immensely) due to very long hours and constantly changing shift patterns. However, I am now a GP registrar and my hospital days are behind me. Yes my hours are still long but they are predictable. My wife is a teacher and so could be home by 5 (with marking still to do) most days plus long holidays (private school).

    I have always just ruled out getting another dog as I assumed it just wouldn't work, but recently I have been wondering whether or not I could make it work. I am an early riser, so would enjoy walking the dog before work, paid dog walker during the day and then a walk by me and/or the wife after work. To be honest at weekends we just do the kind of things dog walkers do but without a dog... walks on Dartmoor, along the coast, dog-friendly pubs etc.

    Clearly, I have just spent time writing three paragraphs trying to convince the reader it is a good idea... but what do dog owners here actually think? Have people managed to make it work while working? Or is it just a non-starter?

  2. #2
    Master thegoat's Avatar
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    If your dog has a full time job then I doff my cap .

  3. #3
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Getting somebody (paid or otherwise) is the key.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  4. #4
    Grand Master
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    What full time job does your dog have?.


  5. #5
    Sheep dog? Sniffer dog? Search and rescue? Or maybe it does tv/movies?!

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  6. #6
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    A rescue hound would work. Better to start just before you are on holiday so you can help him settle in. A dog walker during the day would be good, too.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  7. #7
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    We had jobs and still had a dog. It just depends how long they would be left on their own, and whether they would develop any kind of separation anxiety. It's a hard call because some are left on their own longer than others. Pups would need a lot of attention early on.
    ďThe more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.Ē

  8. #8
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    Its a maybe if you get 2 or more dogs because they keep each other company somewhat if they don't fight.

    One dog, a firm no from me. They bark and scratch for a while and then they tend to lie down still and silent.

    It looks like they have given up and deeply depressed. It cant be a good state, they look completely miserable.

    I have had dogs all my life and I am going on 40.

    It is upsetting, our previous two dogs developed Cancer. One was a Doberman and was put to sleep at about 6 years old.

    Tore my heart out and gave my mother a nervous break down and she was sent to hospital.

    I can still remember the dog growling at me when I hugged it. I did not realise at the time it had Cancer in all its joints and bones.

  9. #9
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    Sorry but it would be a no from me. Even with a dog walker it could be on its own maybe 8 hrs during the day with only a walk for 30 mins to an hour - maybe. This from someone that would not even be a member of the family. Plus dog walkers get ill, take holidays etc so another stranger comes in to the house.
    Been a dog owner most of my life but was always able to work my own hours so either myself or the wife were there every day. The dogs were never left on their own for more than 4 hours at a maximum and that was very rarely. Although I really appreciate you wanting to have a dog of your own as it can be so rewarding.
    Sorry if thats not what you want to hear but some dogs really struggle when left for long hours. Good luck if you do get one and try to get a breed that sleeps a lot and is not highly strung or get two.
    Last edited by alas58; 7th February 2020 at 23:26.

  10. #10
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    A rescue hound would work. Better to start just before you are on holiday so you can help him settle in. A dog walker during the day would be good, too.
    Yes. A lot of rescues have dogs used to being left. Although some frown on those in full time employment.
    ďThe more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.Ē

  11. #11
    Regardless of whether you get someone to walk the dog at some point during your working day, most dogs will lonely and isolated when they are left alone.

    I wouldnít do it. If you were lucky to have two dogs that got on very well they might keep each other company, but...

    We had dogs on the farm in Oz, and they play together and are generally happy to sit in the pick-up, or tractor, or play in the field, if you are working. Thatís a much better scenario.

    On the island, itís easy to call home from work and it would be possible to have a dog. Although itís not the easiest if no ones home. If you had a large garden and the dog could spent most of the time outside then maybe. I just donít think many dogs will happily get used to being alone for any length of time.
    It's just a matter of time...

  12. #12
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I mentioned hounds because they usually cope better when on their own.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  13. #13
    It's a firm 'no' from me.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  14. #14
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    Our puppy (a weimaraner) turned one yesterday and itís the first dog proper weíve both had.

    I work from home 75% of the week and thereís no way on earth we would have been to get through the first six months if we were both full time at work.

    Anxiety and boredom spring to mind especially during the early stages and the ďletís eat anything and everythingĒ phase was a nightmare.

    Heís been crate-trained from the first night we had him and wanders in there adhoc when he wants a comfy lie-down or a bit of his own time during the day.

    When we do leave him we have my Dad come over for a few hours to sit with him but heís only ever left on his own for a max of 5 hours. In recent weeks weíve left him out of his crate and he roams around the downstairs with the doors closed for the lounge and dining rooms.

  15. #15
    Master Tifa's Avatar
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    Nope.
    Hold fire until you're ready to look after one properly.

  16. #16
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    I grew up with dogs - your circumstances are similar to mine.

    I would not have a dog unless i retired - a lot of hassle and a drag.

  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    I think leaving a dog all day on its own is not good.

  18. #18
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    Roughly in the same boat. Grew up on a farm surrounded by dogs and cats and now within a month of CCT and we’ve been making noises about a dog for a while but currently just a pipe dream as a dog and ED lifestyle are not currently compatible. Unless you’re willing to pay someone to come in and walk it during the day I’d say no, though if your job plan allows when you’ve got your CCT then maybe.

  19. #19
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    I work long shifts but on a rota of 4 shifts on (2 days then 2 nights) then 6 off, my wife also works Monday to Thursday. On the days when I'm on day shifts (leave home at 04:30 and get back at 18:00) and my wife is at work our dog gets dropped off at a dog sitter. She has him all day where he gets to interact with other dogs and plenty of walks in the country. The rest of the time I'm either off through the day or my wife is so again he gets plenty of interaction. I wouldn't have got him if he was in the house and only getting a 30 min walk from a dog walker. If theres somewhere close to you that does "doggy daycare" then go for it. If not then I'd wait until your working circumstances change as it wouldn't be fair.

  20. #20
    Journeyman
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    I've wanted a dog for some time but because me and my partner both work full time she wont even consider it, unless she no longer works which she keeps hinting.... That isn't going to happen lol

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    No, do not get a dog unless you can be with it most of the time.................Have you thought of a goldfish?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    It's a firm 'no' from me.

    R
    And me.

  23. #23
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    It's a firm 'no' from me.

    R
    Agreed
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  24. #24
    Grand Master Seamaster73's Avatar
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    Unequivocally no.

    Dogs are pack animals. In the absence of other dogs, youíre the pack. If you canít be, donít have one.

  25. #25
    Master raptor's Avatar
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    Same with us currently
    In an apt with 2 kids and full time job
    It was a no even for a small one like a shnauzer we love as an idea

  26. #26
    Craftsman
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    Think I am understanding the general point of view. Which is what I expected to be fair and really I guess what I need to hear. I doubt we will end up getting a dog...

    I think there must be tons of people out there that have happy dogs and also work full time but I guess the situation does need to be a little different than mine.


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  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by thegoat View Post
    If your dog has a full time job then I doff my cap .


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  28. #28
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    There is one breed of dog that has no problem with being left up to around 8 hours on its own, whereas pretty much every other breed shouldnít be left more than four.

    Itís the greyhound and we have one. It is because they sleep around 21-22 hours a day and are extremely chilled by nature.

    That said, most days we ensure ours is visited once during the day just to be made a fuss of and let out. But eight hours isnít a problem if needs be.

    I wouldnít consider it with any other breed though.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by watchstudent View Post
    Think I am understanding the general point of view. Which is what I expected to be fair and really I guess what I need to hear. I doubt we will end up getting a dog...

    I think there must be tons of people out there that have happy dogs and also work full time but I guess the situation does need to be a little different than mine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think there are also a lot of people that believe their dogs are happy all the time, but donít hear or see them when the dog is at home while they are working - only when itís pleased to see them coming home or with them. I hear dogs on estates all the time when Iím walking on my days off, howling and barking (I know thatís more natural for some breeds), which suggests to me that they want some attention.
    It's just a matter of time...

  30. #30
    Master
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    Another no from me Iím afraid

  31. #31
    Sometimes circumstances change and the dog gets left but knowing you are out most of the day at the beginning would be a no from me. I have two dogs who get on and go to the office once a month. You end up them so much that the gulag is overwhelming. I couldnít do it everyday.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    Getting somebody (paid or otherwise) is the key.
    +1, my wife and I look after my stepdaughters Labrador whilst her and her husband are at work, they got a dog without thinking the issues through properly on the basis that her husband had 'always had a dog'. Thankfully my wife and I like dogs, and the dog in question is easy to look after. Now they have a child and they've lost interest in the dog, child substitute is the phrase that springs to mind but that's another matter.

    Think of it from the dog's perspective, dogs do not like being alone for hours on end, they're social pack animals. It isn`t fair on the dog to have it cooped up alone all day, even if someone lets it out briefly at lunchtime.

    I see folks wearing their winter coats and walking their dogs at tea-time, the dog and the coat have had a similar sort of day, being left discarded until required to provide comfort to their owner.

    Unless someone can spend time with the dog, I definitely wouldn't do it.

  33. #33
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by P9CLY View Post
    What full time job does your dog have?.
    Shit machine

  34. #34
    Grand Master mart broad's Avatar
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    Simple answer to the OP, NO
    I FEEL LIKE I'M DIAGONALLY PARKED IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

  35. #35
    Master
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    I think it can work, it does for us.

    There is a better option than a dog walker who comes at walks your dog for an hour or so a day, which I agree is unsatisfactory.

    We have "doggy day-care". Someone picks the dog up at ~8am and brings her back at ~3pm. During that time she's in a field with about 10-15 other dogs, belting around in her little gang and having a whale of a time. She comes back invariably covered in mud and goes straight to sleep until whoever gets back first arrives home.

    On weekdays she's on her own for a total of about two hours per day, during which she's invariably asleep.

    Weekends she goes on family walks and recovers like the rest of us :)

    It's not cheap (~£20 pd) but it means we can have a dog who totally enriches all our lives, and the dog is well cared for and exercised. She's been with the same carer for almost five years and she looks forward to her arrival every day. There are holidays and other logistics to work around, but it's all doable.

  36. #36
    Itís a no from me, youíll end up with a very bored unhappy dog. They need more than a quick walk from a disinterested hired dog walker (I think paid dog walkers are generally a shitty bunch, but thatís just me) Theyíre social animals who need contact with others to be happy and healthy, they wonít proper being left alone all day.

  37. #37
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    I grew up with dogs - your circumstances are similar to mine.

    I would not have a dog unless i retired - a lot of hassle and a drag.
    I agree with you - once I retire I will get one; until then, Iíll stick to cats.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfCheese View Post
    I think it can work, it does for us.

    There is a better option than a dog walker who comes at walks your dog for an hour or so a day, which I agree is unsatisfactory.

    We have "doggy day-care". Someone picks the dog up at ~8am and brings her back at ~3pm. During that time she's in a field with about 10-15 other dogs, belting around in her little gang and having a whale of a time. She comes back invariably covered in mud and goes straight to sleep until whoever gets back first arrives home.

    On weekdays she's on her own for a total of about two hours per day, during which she's invariably asleep.

    Weekends she goes on family walks and recovers like the rest of us :)

    It's not cheap (~£20 pd) but it means we can have a dog who totally enriches all our lives, and the dog is well cared for and exercised. She's been with the same carer for almost five years and she looks forward to her arrival every day. There are holidays and other logistics to work around, but it's all doable.
    Great compromise

  39. #39
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfCheese View Post
    I think it can work, it does for us.

    There is a better option than a dog walker who comes at walks your dog for an hour or so a day, which I agree is unsatisfactory.

    We have "doggy day-care". Someone picks the dog up at ~8am and brings her back at ~3pm. During that time she's in a field with about 10-15 other dogs, belting around in her little gang and having a whale of a time. She comes back invariably covered in mud and goes straight to sleep until whoever gets back first arrives home.

    On weekdays she's on her own for a total of about two hours per day, during which she's invariably asleep.

    Weekends she goes on family walks and recovers like the rest of us :)

    It's not cheap (~£20 pd) but it means we can have a dog who totally enriches all our lives, and the dog is well cared for and exercised. She's been with the same carer for almost five years and she looks forward to her arrival every day. There are holidays and other logistics to work around, but it's all doable.
    Yeah, to be honest, this is more the approach that I was likely going to go for. Still might not be doable for me at the moment but depends what services I have around me.

  40. #40
    I had a chocolate lab that for 3 years came to work with me, then a change of jobs meant she was home alone from 08:00 till 18:00 hrs each day, walked for an hour before I left and a good hour plus when I got home, my second dog was a working cocker from day one he was home alone from 08:00 till 18:00 hrs, I never had any problems. We now have two cats and as long as you feed them they couldnít care less!

    I think it depends a lot on the dog, maybe I was just lucky.

  41. #41
    Master BEZELBOY's Avatar
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    Dog

    I would say having a dog as a friend and colleague is one the most rewarding experiences you can have looking back on my personal and families experience of being a dog owner over 30 years+.
    However, this is based on the relationship being a well-balanced two way situation and if looked after correctly with the right levels of attention and stimulation, then it is really not much different than taking care of a child.
    Would you leave your child alone for long periods and expect them to be normal and happy in their behaviour?
    Not a critique, more a different slant on adding to the many useful comments here.

    I hope you can work out a way to get a great dog companion and look forward to seeing any photos in the dog thread on here.
    Best of luck.

    Andy

  42. #42
    It would be a no unless you go the day care route and find the right place. Fairy dogmother, near Newton Abbot, has a field for them to run round in but still bundles them in a van for a walk in the woods, which is where I regularly came across her. Never had the need to use her though.

  43. #43
    I appreciate the position the OP finds themselves in.

    For many years my wife and I, who had both been brought up with dogs, worked full time and didn't have a dog. Then fortunately my wife changed her job so that she could take the dog to work, leaving it in a dog box in the car (the car was in a covered area and the windows open) and then exercising it during the day. We could both spend time with the dog in the evenings and at weekends.

    Over the years we have now had a succession of dogs, mostly labradors, and have experienced all the highs and lows that go with dog ownership.

    Currently we have three - a young yellow lab and two working English cockers. I work full time, frequently travelling all week though working from home otherwise, and my wife works three half days a week. Personally I think this gives a good balance, providing the dogs with plenty of attention but also leaving giving them time on their own.

    Leaving a dog on its own is not the same as neglecting a dog, and the idea that dogs need human company 24x7 is an attitude that I am convinced is designed to appeal more to humans than to dogs. At least in my experience dogs really don't need to be constantly with someone, and constant companionship can often lead to its own problems, in particular separation anxiety.

    Many bad habits start when the dog is a pup, including this idea that dogs are happiest in human company. If you have ever bred dogs you will know that once the pups are weaned, bitches will frequently absent themselves from the pups, to the point where they will actively seek isolation. After a litter of four, six, eight or more you can hardly blame them! Also if you study dogs kept in packs, you'll also find that some dogs crave the company of other dogs whilst others simply want their own space. Every dog is an individual, yet as humans we have somehow come to believe that any dog left on its own - without human company for what is in reality perhaps one third of the day - is either neglected or going to be psychologically damaged.

    Dogs are intelligent, adaptable, resilient, rewarding and incredibly life enhancing. But dogs are not children, and thinking of them in the same way does dogs, at least, a disservice.

    To turn to a practical example, our lab is mostly kennelled outside during the day whilst the two cockers (mother now 13, son 7) are inside. All three dogs get two good walks a day and then let out into the garden at lunchtime. The lab, who I can see from an upstairs window, mostly spends his days sleeping inside the kennel but intersperses this with periods when he is in the run watching the birds in the garden, chewing a bone, gazing into space, or listening to the noises from the neighbourhood. The cockers have each other for company but generally just sleep! Even when I am working from home I leave the cockers in the boot room, as having them with me when I am working would only be for my benefit, not theirs. All three are happy, well balanced, dogs.

    This is why I personally believe that what is of primary importance to the dog is not the quantity of time you spend with them but the quality of that time. Consider also that, to alleviate boredom and stimulate the dog, their minds need as much (if not more) exercise than their bodies. Even on a walk, I find the dogs get a huge amount more from being actively worked - whether that might be agility, playing with a ball, a dummy or a stick - than simply being walked.

    It is also why I am personally in favour of introducing a dog to a kennel and/or a dog cage when it is young. Feed a dog in the cage when it is a pup and it will happily go into that cage throughout its life. A cage gives the dog somewhere to consider as being their own area, though not to the point of being protective of it, and anyone who has taken a dog to someone else's house and stayed overnight will know the huge benefit of having a dog (or dogs) that will happily sleep in a cage. It also makes travelling with dogs in the car a whole lot easier and safer. A dog's cage or kennel is not a prison cell - it is the dog's safe space. Treat it as such and both your and the dog's life will be a whole lot better.

    For the OP, only you can decide whether you can invest sufficient quality time to make up for a perceived lack of quantity time. Be honest about it, and if you can't really decide or commit to it then that probably means the answer is that now is not the right time to have a dog. But if you think you can make the necessary sacrifices to give a dog the quality of life it needs then don't necessarily assume that it would be unmanageable.

    To finish, I think Gary Larson is way more perceptive about dogs and dog behaviour than many give him credit for:






  44. #44
    Master davida's Avatar
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    Would joining a dog sharing site be beneficial? Not had any experience with them but a friend at work has and it works for them.

  45. #45
    We said goodbye to our last cocker spaniel Lucy last October, she was just over 14yrs old.

    During that time my wife worked early shifts & I did mainly lates, at first when our daughter was growing up then after sheíd left school we carried on the same work pattern for the dogs.

    The longest the dogs were left was 3 maybe 4 hours, I also fitted a dog flap if they need to go out. If for any reason we would be out longer then theyíd go round to one of the other dog owners and friends we made on the dog walks in our local park.

    Weíve made the decision not to get another dog until retirement, (Iím 57 in a fortnight) even though we both only work part time now there is still one or two days a week the house is empty for 8 hours so itís a nonstarter.

    Incidentally weíve often seen a few ďprofessionalĒ dog walkers pull up in the park with 5 or 6 dogs in an estate car and let all the dogs out, off the lead only for one of them to head for the gate and disappear!

  46. #46
    Master wellsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    There is one breed of dog that has no problem with being left up to around 8 hours on its own, whereas pretty much every other breed shouldnít be left more than four.

    Itís the greyhound and we have one. It is because they sleep around 21-22 hours a day and are extremely chilled by nature.

    That said, most days we ensure ours is visited once during the day just to be made a fuss of and let out. But eight hours isnít a problem if needs be.

    I wouldnít consider it with any other breed though.

    As do we, cool on it's own but we also have a lurcher now, they just sleep most of the time :-) Max at ours would be 7.5 hrs though.

  47. #47
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamaster73 View Post
    Unequivocally no.

    Dogs are pack animals. In the absence of other dogs, youíre the pack. If you canít be, donít have one.
    This ^^^^^^
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  48. #48
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    It's a firm 'no' from me.

    R
    generally likewise

    i'm lucky enough to work from home and when i'm not here my PA is & loves the dog too; so he has plenty of company 99% of the time.

    I never leave him on his own more than 5 hours, which would be following a big walk (hour plus), so that he is properly tired & that is generally in the evening when it is getting dark. Took a long time to build up to that length of time too, and it's very rare, not the norm.

    if you are both full time it does mean a long time on it's own and i'd not do that myself
    Last edited by westberks; 10th February 2020 at 20:21.

  49. #49
    Would you consider getting two? A vet once told me two dogs will sit at home and enjoy the others company just fine but to be left alone isolated isn't fair on the animal at all and results in a lot of misbehaviour and separation anxiety.

    See if a rescue centre has two that are already friends.

  50. #50
    Craftsman Jpshell's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
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    Peterborough
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    We were lucky enough to have a bull mastiff who liked nothing better than being left to sleep all day....even when we got home he needed prizing out of his pit.

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