With a little preparation, many dogs do fine if your workday grind keeps you away from home for eight to nine hours. However, you'll have to give up your dream of living a potato's life on the couch after work and make some adjustments to your morning rush.
A pudgy puppy may tempt you—but that cuddly little fur ball requires as much attention and close supervision as a human infant or toddler. Puppies need at least three meals daily, including lunch, until about 4 months of age. If you're thinking of relying on a crate to babysit him while you work, a 10-week-old puppy needs a play and potty break out of the crate every 30 to 60 minutes. A 4-month-old can stretch crate time to about four hours. Rescue shelters have many older puppies and dogs looking for love who are mature enough to handle you working for a living.
Smaller Isn’t Always Better
The boxer is a larger pooch who needs his daily exercise but loves to spend quantity time snoozing in the sun or lounging on the couch. A pint-sized Jack Russell terrier is a go-all-day ball of energy who would struggle with spending eight hours home alone every day. The energetic and intelligent border collie is another high-speed breed best left to part-time workers. When choosing your breed, take a look at lower-energy dogs, such as the Boston terrier, greyhound, Cumberland spaniel or any fabulous mixed breed who is less rowdy than his shelter mates.
Up with the Sun
If you're used to jumping out of bed and leaving for work 15 minutes later with a bagel in one hand and your toothbrush in the other, having a dog means a serious rewinding of your alarm clock. One of the best ways to keep him happy and content at home all day is to wear him out before you leave. A 30-to-60-minute run, bike ride or brisk walk through the park should do. If you start your morning a couple of hours before you're due at the office, you can squeeze in a grooming session after your run. When you come home, he'll be ready for another short trip through the park or a rousing game of fetch before doing his obedience class homework.
While You’re Working
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you not crate an adult dog for longer than four to five hours during the day, since it can lead to behavioral issues, including aggression. You can keep him busy with an interesting puzzle to solve while you're away by hiding favorite treats in a dog toy designed to make him chew at it until he frees the food. Hiring a dog walker gives him a chance to exercise, visit and potty during the day. If you work nearby, a lunch visit is another option for breaking up your pup's alone time.
A medical writer since 1990 and successful home-based business owner for more than 14 years, Sandra King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She uses her formal education, professional insight and extensive volunteer involvement to cover topics on health and fitness, pets, parenting for a lifetime, building healthy relationships, conquering business basics and developing career goals.