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Want a puppy, but live alone/working days

Hey guys.

So I'm in my first year as an RN, BSN in a town five hours from home. I'm living alone for the first time ever in a good sized apartment (~800 sqft). I'm really wanting to find an Australian shepherd puppy, but I'm not sure what to do during the days when I'm at work for 12 hours. My bedroom connects to my bathroom so I've thought about providing her/him plenty of food/water and a place to potty in the bathroom with lots of toys for entertainment while I'm at work. There are no doggy day cares near my apartment that cater to the nursing schedule. Everyone opens after I leave for work and close before I'd be able to pick them up. Also living alone makes me nervous having someone have a copy of my housekeep and come in my home during the day.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for what I could do? I don't want t get the puppy/dog until I have a pretty solid plan, because I know making them stay in a kennel holding their potty needs all day would be very cruel.

Even with a place for pottying, it would be really neglectful, borderline cruel, to leave a young puppy alone for 12+ hours a day (even with "lots of toys"). Dogs are social, pack animals. Have you thought about an adult dog that would be better able to tolerate being alone all day? Or waiting until you're in a different situation to get a dog? If you really want a pet, cats are much lower maintenance and much better at staying by themselves.

Also, entirely apart from relieving itself, an active dog like an Australian shepherd needs long periods of exercise every day, including the days you're working. Are you going to be able to work that into your schedule? Do you want to work that into your schedule?

Best wishes.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

1. A puppy is not a good idea when you work 12s.

2. An Australian Shepherd is not a good idea when you work 12s and live in an 800 sq ft apartment without any outdoor space for said pup to roam.

Consider adopting an adult rescue if you wish for canine company. It would do both of you good and be a better fit for your life at this juncture in time.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

You could also consider doggie daycare, but that is probably pretty expensive....

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU.

1. A puppy is not a good idea when you work 12s.

2. An Australian Shepherd is not a good idea when you work 12s and live in an 800 sq ft apartment without any outdoor space for said pup to roam.

Consider adopting an adult rescue if you wish for canine company. It would do both of you good and be a better fit for your life at this juncture in time.

This person has NO concept of caring for an animal.

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU.

1. A puppy is not a good idea when you work 12s.

2. An Australian Shepherd is not a good idea when you work 12s and live in an 800 sq ft apartment without any outdoor space for said pup to roam.

Consider adopting an adult rescue if you wish for canine company. It would do both of you good and be a better fit for your life at this juncture in time.

Superior advice from this poster for you to get a mature dog. A cat is a much better choice for spending time alone in a small apartment.

Edited by Mavrick
Clarify who has the better concept of caring for a dog.

I have a local woman who picks up my dog in the morning, looks after her in her own home, and drops her off early evening while I'm working. You don't have to have a local official doggy daycare to have that sort of arrangement, though you would have to trust them with your key, unless you could drop off and pick up yourself. Look out for advertisements or advertise yourself. Expect it to be fairly expensive though.

An older rescue dog would be much easier as they're far less likely to eat your furniture and leave presents around your apartment whilst alone.

I worked nights when my current dog was a puppy, and I worked about an hour away from where I lived. I made arrangements with a local boarding kennel(not doggie daycare) to keep her there on the nights I worked as she initially had separation anxiety, then gradually I trained her out of separation anxiety and she stayed at home when I was at work 3 8hr shifts). Adult dogs can hold their bladder for longer periods of time, when I'm home we go for long walks usually 4 to 6miles, then I take her out every 4 hours to pee, I consider the time I'm at work as "bedtime" because during my sleeptime I wouldn't be getting up in the middle of the night to take her out anyway. My vet said there is no problem with this. My dog is trained to pee and poop on command so when where not on a walk, its super easy to take her out, no walking around looking for the perfect spot.

Also some pet sitters may take the dog into there own home to care for it, rather than coming to your home (I don't do this for my own personal reasons), On occasion, travel assignments, long commutes, I have made arrangements with boarding kennels to keep my dog there and they have been more than willing to let us in early, or let me pick her up late (My dog doesnt go to daycare as she is reactive), and its been affordable, plus my dog almost always get extra attention from the staff. (she is reactive to dogs but loves people)

I think having a puppy is doable you just have to think outside the box as far as arrangements go, as an adult it gets easier but you still have to plan accordingly, for long shifts, overtime, etc. Good luck

just to add... "toys for entertainment won't work with a puppy or likely adult dog, usually the dog needs someone to stimulate him to play with the toys, intelligent breeds, working breeds, herding breeds etc tend to get bored when home alone, when they get bored they do things to alleviate the boredom, those things include: excessive barking, destructive chewing (never the things you WANT them to chew,but things like shoes, furniture, rugs, walls, jewelry, electric cords), also scratching doors and floors, developing self soothing behaviors such as scratching bloody holes in themselves, excessive licking, excessive peeing or pooping, attempting to escape the apt...

Remember that in order to leave a dog home alone that dog needs to be trained to be home alone, and that can take months... I don't advocate leaving a dog in a crate, all my dogs have always had free roam of my house but they've been trained for it.

As far as getting a rescue dog, thats wonderful but don't have the assumption that you can get one one and just leave it home, alot of rescue dogs have separation anxiety and other behaviors that need work, its very similar to getting a puppy in that you need to figure out what they can tolerate and what they can't.

Thats just mho from the top of my head, I also worked in humane LE for a long time and this is coming from my experience.

I hope your able to get your dog, but just remember there is a HUGE amount of work that goes into it, and some of the destructive behaviors I mentioned above if they happen can result in massive vet bills and/or very problematic relations with your neighbors and landlord.

We use a local daycare, but have also used house sitting services from Rover.com.

Our daycare is around $300 per month and we drop off 5 days a week. Rover is more expensive sometimes, but we mostly use it for date nights when the daycare option is closed.

Just be sure you're able to give the pup a great life with a great pack of support! Our dog is super attached to family and people, so he doesn't fair well on his own. We learned that the hard way and we weren't initially prepared for the added expense.

That being said, having a dog has been a wonderful change for us and I'm glad we were able to make it work! Best of luck with your decision!

This is slightly off topic but.....how is it possible that you can afford an 800 sq ft apartment as a new grad alone? I have been looking for a new place to stay, but every place is running over $1000 a month for a just a studio under 500 sq ft, where I live.

Irish_Mist, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardicac Neuro Telemetry.

Do not get an Australian Shepherd if you don't have the time or means to exercise this dog. They are working breeds and they need plenty of space and activities to be happy. Unless you can find some sort of caregiver that will take care of this dog in your absences, this is a recipe for disaster.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

In the OPs situation I would get a pair of litter mate kittens, and train them to a harness and leash. Two kittens get into less trouble than one alone.

skylark, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

Shutting a dog in an apartment while you work 12s is just plain cruel. Period.

If you really want to do this, then at least DON'T get a puppy, but instead get a pair of senior small dogs, that will be company for each other, and not so demanding in terms of energy.

Rescues always have older dogs, whose owners have been shipped off into nursing homes, and these older pets are totally chill, and just want a sofa and a couple of meals a day.

Or better still volunteer as a dog walked at a local shelter on your days off.

All those abandoned dogs trapped in cages will thank you.

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

I agree with PPs that an Aussie is NOT a good choice for a setting like the one described. They are extremely smart and have a very high drive to work and move around - your plan would result in severe emotional and behavioral problems for the animal.

There are websites that can help choose a pup that fits your life. Google "choosing a dog breed" and look for organizations like AKC.

I agree with PPs that an Aussie is NOT a good choice for a setting like the one described. They are extremely smart and have a very high drive to work and move around - your plan would result in severe emotional and behavioral problems for the animal.

There are websites that can help choose a pup that fits your life. Google "choosing a dog breed" and look for organizations like AKC.

I agree with looking into different breeds suited to different lifestyles, but it is still true that there is no breed of young puppy that will do well with being left alone >12 hours at a time on a regular basis

RN-ing, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care, corporate wellness/DM.

Please do not get a dog. I am a dog - lover and have made this mistake myself. All dogs need attention, activity, and love every day or they can become anxious and destructive. Then, people end up giving them back to a shelter because of "behavioral problems." I found that I just could not give them what they needed after working 12 - hour shifts (not to mention the commute) when I did not have a partner to pick up the slack.

Dogs are the best, but you really should wait until you can give them more attention than your schedule allows currently.

I hope this helps!

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

I love dogs and can't blame you for wanting to add one to your life, but you really need to have arrangements in place for care when you are not home. Any puppy will be active, difficult to train without consistent attention to the training and likely to be destructive when you are gone. I have 3 Boxers and the puppy can shred my house in under 20 minutes when left to her own devices and she has the company of two other dogs to keep her occupied. Expect to not get your security deposit back when you move if a puppy becomes part of your household. No breed is appropriate for your lifestyle if you are living alone let alone an active breed like an Australian Shepard.

I second the idea of maybe adopting an adult dog though you still shouldn't leave it home alone for 12 hours plus. Adopting can come with it's own issues though. Unless you get a pretty thorough history on the dog you are considering you could potentially end up with some physical or behavior problems you weren't expecting.

I don't know if you are a cat person, but if the companionship of a pet is what you are looking for that's a much better option for somebody who lives alone. Cats are easily litter box trained, rarely destructive unless you have one that scratches furniture and climbs curtains and a cat is much more independent and content to be left on their own for extended periods of time.

This is slightly off topic but.....how is it possible that you can afford an 800 sq ft apartment as a new grad alone? I have been looking for a new place to stay, but every place is running over $1000 a month for a just a studio under 500 sq ft, where I live.

I'm living about 20 minutes away from my hospital so prices aren't as expensive for more sqft.

Also, I have yet to find a reputable breeder without insane prices for puppies so I haven't gotten my puppy yet. I still want to find a puppy but probably will have to wait until later in the year, which also means closer to when I plan on moving back to my hometown. Once I'm living back in my hometown, I'll have plenty more options for pet care during the day, either pet walkers (which will be less expensive in my small town vs my current city) or having my grandmother come over to my apartment/house to play with my dog and taker her to the potty.

For those suggesting I shouldn't get an aussie because they are "too much work" or "need more exercise" those are precisely the reasons I want this particular breed. I want to be able to have a dog who enjoys getting outside and playing for a couple hours and who I can take with me on adventures. I enjoy going to state parks and other outdoor areas and would love to be able to share my experiences with my dog. I understand that the days I work, she may not get as much exercise as days I'm off, but that doesn't mean she won't get at least 30 minutes or so of play time everyday.

I'm also choosing to not get a cat because I tend to get sick around cat litter. It messes with my asthma and gives me headaches. Therefore, a cat is not a great choice for me unless they can be an outside cat, which living in a big city isn't a great idea. At home, I had a cat who was an indoor/outdoor cat who never used a litter box because we had a wooded area in our backyard that he claimed as his own.

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

Do a bit more research. I think you are vastly underestimating the needs of an Aussie. The plan you articulated would leave a highly intelligent working breed animal both bored and lonely. FWIW, the issue is not whether the animal is too much work, but whether you can meet the animal's needs. Slightly different concept. Subjecting an animal to an emotionally, physically and mentally impoverished existence may not meet the legal definition of abuse, but it sure fits the moral one.

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