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Hi,

I am new to the forum and just wanted a bit of advice if possible?

Me and my partner are considering getting a Labrador (as a first dog).

At the moment I work a 4 on 4 off shift which means I regularly get weekdays off work as well as weekends. I do however have to work 7.00 - 6.30 or 7 - 5.30 when on shift.

My partner works Monday - Thursday 8.30 - 5.00 and Friday 8.30 - 4.00.

We are considering having the kitchen (its about 6 foot by 16 foot of floor space)as the main space for the Labrador.

Whilst the puppy is young we are going to look at having a dog sitter come in for a 45 minute visit on days when we are both at work (these are a maximum of 4 days in 1 week in about 8 weeks). As well as a dog walker if we are on a long shift (both at work for longer than 2 days)

We also have a decent size back garden and side garden. We are also looking at getting an outdoor kennel and run for the dog whilst we are at work and the weather is good, or even the back garden if the dog can be trusted on its own.

We will also be walking the dog before we go to work and a longer walk when we get home as well as decent exercise when either of us are off work.

Would this be ok for the dog, or can anybody give us any advice or recommendations. We just want to be sure we can provide the right life for a dog before we commit to getting one.
 

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Hello and welcome.

Your shifts and those of your partner don't sound miles away from ours, I do also work nights however, so was at home through the day. We used holidays, press ganged parents and friends into helping out when we were at work.

We've managed to bring up 3 pups in the last couple of years (not that I suggest you do this tho).

The really crucial time is when you first get the pup home, they really take a lot of looking after, toilet training, socialising and just generally fitting in with the household, and gradually it gets easier. Funnily enough, walking them isn't the big deal at first because their joints and bones need protected very carefully for the first year or thereabouts.

You could use a "crate" in the kitchen, where the pup could sleep at night, if you wanted, and it could hang out in there through the day. Puppies are no different from babies, they pee and poo almost at will, and if you aren't there to catch them in the act, or preferably just before, toilet training would take a bit longer, but it's not impossible.

Of course, if you kennelled the pup from the off, this wouldn't be an issue, I sometimes wish I'd gone down that route. Don't leave the dog alone in the garden, it could get nicked, a neighbour of ours does this, and their dog is truly miserable at times.

Good on you for thinking this through well in advance, you will get lots of help on here. If you are serious I would also buy and read "the perfect puppy" by Gwen Bailey, it is full of great advice especially for first time pup owners, and would help you to make an informed decision as to whether a pup would fit in with your lifestyle.

I'm sure you'll get plenty more advice and opinions, best of luck.

Eta: just to clarify, I don't mean to suggest the pup should hang out in the crate for hours and hours at a time, just that it is a safe area where it can't really come to any harm, and isn't able to chew holes in your sofa, carpet, shoes, walls etc etc........
 

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Your set up sounds a lot like mine was when we had ours as pups. (I long to go back to 4 on 4 off ).
Over the weeks it averaged out quite nicely between me and my fiancé. We also had a good friend as a dog checker/walker.
I took time off when the pups came home and slowly went back to work just taking days off during the 4 on to break it up. All ours are well adjusted happy dogs and we've had no real issues

I don't know where abouts u are but I would honestly stay well clear of leaving the dog outside kennelled or not. They can get up to a lot of mischief if outside and if in a kennel you are running a risk of the dog being stolen. A lot of it goes on and I wouldn't put mibe at any additional risk.
 

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Well done for thinking it through and asking questions now, rather than jumping in and then questioning if you have done the right thing.

Be prepared for a variety of replies as some of us believe it is unfair to have a pup and work full time and others of us don't !! Also you will need to consider that many breeders will not sell a pup to someone who works full time or long hours.

Firstly, sitting with a pup for 45 mins out of 9 hrs is not enough. Young pups need to go out for a wee about every hour for the first couple of months. I didn't leave mine for longer than 2 hrs until they were about 6 months old! Even now at age 2 and 5 I don't leave them for more than 4 hrs, not just because they might need a wee but because they want company.

We bought a kennel for our lab when we got her as a puppy, she howled when we left her in there!! I would never leave a dog, let alone a puppy, with free access to the garden for hours on end. Not only might they bark and howl all day and destroy any relationship with your neighbours but they could dig their way out under the fence, eat plants or generally wreck your garden! With the number of dogs stolen from people's gardens as well I would never recommend doing it.

I am sorry to appear so negative but I am not sure that your working patterns are a great idea for an energetic and human loving 8 week old labrador puppy.

Chloe
 

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My reply will be briefer than I would like as ironically I work shifts, have to take dog for a walk, pick him up some food and collect my daughter from work all in next couple of hours.

I think someone needs to be there at home with pup in initial weeks until toilet trained and bladder can cope with any periods the dog is left. With night time dog toilet routine and establishing ground rules in initial weeks I can assure you that if both working you will likely end up knackered &/or with the dog taking longer to settle in and be well behaved, dry if left etc.

Depending on the dog and you they can be left but success can depend on them getting used to this gradually. Suddenly leaving the dog for hours on end may cause issues and making a dog too needy and clingy wont help either. Love the dog but baby it and you may have issues.

I would consider decent dog day care rather than 45 min dog walk service on the long joint working days ................especially with a youngster.

The better socialised the more likely it is likely to be suitable for dog walkers and/or day care
.

Kennel outside not ideal as dog IMO may feel more settled inside. Crates may seem harsh but the dog will have less responsibility to worry about when you are both out and less to destroy. It will chew and /or dig in early months and 2years can be the start point for a dog to chill out a bit in this regard........all dogs vary though.

Finally it is wise to get a good dog from health tested parents and a decent breeder. Trouble is I think many decent breeders wont sell you a dog unless someone home with it most of the day nearly every day. It may seem harsh but right or wrong it is a reality.

Apologies for blunt reply but in a rush now and speed typing

Good Luck whatever you decide .oh and welcome :)
 

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My missus badgered me into rescuing Judy as a puppy (long story) and I am so, so, so grateful she did.

Concerns at the time were our working patterns, our social life and likely destruction of the house!
I leave the house around 6.15am and return about 7.00pm
My Mrs leaves about 7.15am and returns about 4.40pm

When we got Jude she was 15 weeks (ish) and has been an absolute diamond from day one. I expected howling, whimpering and whining first few nights but not a bit of it. Slept all the way through!!

Mrs took a week and a half off work and I took the following week and half off so Judy was with someone first 3 weeks all the time BUT we made sure we regularly left the house for ever increasing time spans. When we left we never made a fuss and often left her with chews etc. I'm convinced this build up from a couple of minutes to a good few hours meant no separation issues.

Biggest thing in this early period is toilet time.
Jude virtually had it sussed by 18 odd weeks but we took advice and crated her when we returned to work. There was still the odd accident but rare.
We also decided to book a dog walker who has been a surrogate parent to Jude and loves her as much as us -- still does 5 years later!!! The best money we ever spent / spend and after 6 months there was no crate and after a couple of years no baby gates.
Jude used to get a morning walk for 25 mins, about 90 mins in the day and 10 mins at night. Now she only needs the middle of the day section
Our walker advised us as Judy is a bitch she could probably hold out for 6 or 7 hours on toilet breaks but we make sure 5 hours is the max, even now as a mature, intelligent beast.

As you are asking and considering I would say you have the makings of considerate owners (servants) to a Labrador and if you weigh it all up and come down on the side of getting a pup then GREAT!

Good luck

SORRY- forgot to say.... outside kennel during the day a massive NO for me! Risk of escape, theft, annoying neighbours etc. What about in winter or extreme summer days?! Indoors good. Outdoors bad.
 

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Puppies are really hard work especially the first few months but absolutely worth it.

It might be difficult toilet training if you aren't around during the day .

My parents had many dogs whilst we were growing up and both worked full time. All the dogs coped. But they can get destructive if left for hours at a time on their own.

Good luck
 

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I work full time and I can say from experience that combining work with raising a puppy is REALLY like having two full time jobs. I'm probably worse than you because I do the traditional Mon-Fri 9-5 schedule! I've taken lots of holidays, just to look after Cooper, I've managed to work from home whenever possible, *luckily* my OH was out of work for a couple of months, so there was a period where he had more company. I had two puppy sitters and a 'diary' where we all wrote a short report on how the visit went so that the next person could follow up and we would all be consistent.

Crate training worked really well for us, but even though he was safe and always got stuffed Kongs when going in, Cooper never 'loved' it (i.e. wouldn't really go in on his own), so we decrated at around 7 months (I think) and he has done minimal damage and always been clean :D

In terms of the schedule, you don't want the puppy to be alone for more than a couple of hours at a time with a good break in between (i.e. just letting the pup out to toilet for 5min and then back in the crate wouldn't be enough), so you might need friends and puppy sitters to come and spend an hour or two with the pup while you are out.

So far we haven't had major issues. He is usually asleep on the sofa or in his bed when I come home, but then needs lots of entertainment and stimulation in the evening.

Good luck with whatever decision you make, like I said, it's hard work. I'm doing my best to make it work and just love my dog so much I don't even remember what my life was like before I got him! (Oh yes, it's coming back to me now; I had friends, could sleep in late whenever and didn't have to share the sofa...) :lol:
 

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I realise this might not be popular or what is being asked directly but in twenty plus years of breeding and dog ownership i read a line on a soppy thing on Facebook yesterday that really touched me.

it basically said 'dont be selfish in buying me for your entertainment. You have your work, your hobbies and company... I only have you'.

something to fleetingly consider even if on paper it seems like fluffy rubbish.

we all feel differently about dog ownership and that's our right, but i say to my buyers, that i am totally realistic and work hard for a living myself, as does hubby but a dog is not something to get to enjoy, to us, in your 'spare time'. As such. So each individual will have their own idea if they search their soul as to whether they might with current work patterns maybe suit a different hobby, one you can walk away from for the majority of the waking day and it not be bored, lonely or destructive. We can crate them to stop the destruction, but do we stop the boredom and the loneliness? 😞
Di
 

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Diana said:
.....'dont be selfish in buying me for your entertainment. You have your work, your hobbies and company... I only have you....
It is good to see such thought provoking words, perhaps there would be less unhappy dogs if more owners or potential owners read these words which need to be interpreted with appropriate context.

Most buy/own dogs to significant extent for own purposes, whether entertainment, lifestyle accessory, working, breeding or plain simple companionship. Personally I don't have an issue if folk buy for own purposes, (including appropriate entertainment), so long as the dog is happy & has enough care & provision, (including adequate company).
 

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I am a bit confused, reading your post, about how often a dog would be left alone for hours on end, sorry.

You said:

'Whilst the puppy is young we are going to look at having a dog sitter come in for a 45 minute visit on days when we are both at work (these are a maximum of 4 days in 1 week in about 8 weeks). As well as a dog walker if we are on a long shift (both at work for longer than 2 days)'

So do you mean that it is only one week in eight when you are both out all day at the same time, for four days of that week? And that there will be someone home, pretty much all the time, in the other 7 out of 8 weeks? Or am I misunderstanding? I'm not sure what you mean by both at work for longer than two days?

I won't comment on your specific situation as I don't think I understand your shifts, but personally, I wouldn't look to get a puppy if I was working full-time and out of the house all day, even if someone (me, dog walker etc.) could get in for a lunchbreak. I know some people work very hard to make things work and I'm not knocking them and they'll tell you how much time it takes up.

I know I tend to suggest it each time, but I do think there are better options for people who work long hours away from home to consider than buying a Lab pup (or indeed any pup as Labradors are not exclusive to the needing company/toilet breaks/socialisation thing). There are adult dogs in rescue who I believe would suit certain work patterns much better. Greyhounds in particular as many are happy to snooze the day away. Especially perhaps if adopted in pairs.

Another thing to mention about having a Lab pup is that it's generally advised to be careful around exercise for the first 12 months of their life. So you wouldn't be able to drag a young pup out walking for an hour in the morning to 'tire them out' for the rest of the day.

Thank you for being responsible and looking into this properly before just rushing out to buy a cute puppy.
 

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Angela,

I know you have a lot of experience with dog rescue.......

Like you I cant fully understand the shift pattern specifics mentioned by the OP but I would agree a non-pup may be a more workable option............however............

On this site there is much emphasis placed on the importance of buying a decent pup from a responsible breeder with health tested parents. I am yet to see a rescue dog online with any mention of pedigree or health tests.....Many lovely dogs in need of re-homing may have been, to some extent, health tested or come from health tested parents but I suspect this info is often not disclosed. I appreciate that in many situations it is not practicable for rescues to get paperwork histories. I also understand that if many provided this then it could make those without health /or KC papers harder to re-home. Additionally I fully understand that KC papers are often either not available or kept back so as to avoid folk with hidden agendas selling on a rescue of significant provenance.

Many breeders wont let their pups go to homes unless someone can be with the dog most of the day, both when as a pup and in adulthood................Out of curiosity & in past I have looked at various dog rescue pages online whether all breed or specific breed focused. Many have strict re-homing criteria & many echo words of some breeders stating dogs are not suitable to be re-homed unless someone with the dog most of the time. And that is before getting over the scrutiny of home visit and interview maybe after initial screening/vetting.

The point I make is my perception is that the hurdles to rescue ownership, (absent of papers or health reassurances), can be many if not more than those required to buy a pup from some breeders...........There are as we know many breeder sourced dogs in far from ideal home settings !


With so many dogs in rescue I totally see why homing criteria is so important to breeders and rescues. If I was a breeder or running a rescue I am sure that I would be careful re placements......I am just concerned that some owners &/or dogs, (pups or rescue), may be missing out on acceptable or favorable situations (or PTS in historic worst non secured rescue scenarios), due to a rigid box or two not being 100% ticked.
 

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Angela the shift pattern rolls so say week one u work mon- thurs. You then have 4 days off so next week will be work tues to fri. Then next week work wed - sat. So essentially there are some weeks where u are off for 4 days in the week. With someone working a 'normal ' mon to Friday job, it can work quite well.
Bloody hard work and we had the mother in law living next door for the first two pups.
 

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Having a dog and working can work out but as you have already mentioned you do need the help of a puppy sitter or a dog walker and be prepared for the extra cost.

We both work full time, I am a teacher so arranged to collect our pup the first weekend of the summer holidays so I could spend the maximum time with him. I also found a reliable dog walker/ puppy sitter before I even found the pup. A young pup does need regular attention. At first not to be left for more than 2 hours, but this can steadily be increased as he gets older.

I would suggest you arrange as much leave as you can for the weeks following when you collect him.

Our puppy sitter collects our dog in the morning and drops him off late afternoon. He gets her company and importantly the company of other dogs. He is now a year and a half but we have kept up this arrangement as it fits our routine and does not cost much more than a dog walker for an hours walk and reduces significantly the time he is left alone. We also have back up from our retired neighbour.
 

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We have always had dogs and worked, but never puppies. My Mum and MIL used to take it in turns to come for a couple of hours at lunch time to dog sit. They baked cakes and did the ironing too - hurrah! If for any reason they couldn't come we used doggy day care. We use the same one for Tatze on Thurs and Fri if Mr Boogs is away.

But I always had rescue dogs, not pups.

I waited 'till there was someone home all day every day before we got a pup. (I work Thurs Fri and Mr Boogs works Mon Wed).

I LOVED Tatze's puppyhood - she was soooooo worth the wait.

:D
 

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COASTER said:
Angela,

I know you have a lot of experience with dog rescue.......

Like you I cant fully understand the shift pattern specifics mentioned by the OP but I would agree a non-pup may be a more workable option............however............

On this site there is much emphasis placed on the importance of buying a decent pup from a responsible breeder with health tested parents. I am yet to see a rescue dog online with any mention of pedigree or health tests.....Many lovely dogs in need of re-homing may have been, to some extent, health tested or come from health tested parents but I suspect this info is often not disclosed. I appreciate that in many situations it is not practicable for rescues to get paperwork histories. I also understand that if many provided this then it could make those without health /or KC papers harder to re-home. Additionally I fully understand that KC papers are often either not available or kept back so as to avoid folk with hidden agendas selling on a rescue of significant provenance.

Many breeders wont let their pups go to homes unless someone can be with the dog most of the day, both when as a pup and in adulthood................Out of curiosity & in past I have looked at various dog rescue pages online whether all breed or specific breed focused. Many have strict re-homing criteria & many echo words of some breeders stating dogs are not suitable to be re-homed unless someone with the dog most of the time. And that is before getting over the scrutiny of home visit and interview maybe after initial screening/vetting.

The point I make is my perception is that the hurdles to rescue ownership, (absent of papers or health reassurances), can be many if not more than those required to buy a pup from some breeders...........There are as we know many breeder sourced dogs in far from ideal home settings !

With so many dogs in rescue I totally see why homing criteria is so important to breeders and rescues. If I was a breeder or running a rescue I am sure that I would be careful re placements......I am just concerned that some owners &/or dogs, (pups or rescue), may be missing out on acceptable or favorable situations (or PTS in historic worst non secured rescue scenarios), due to a rigid box or two not being 100% ticked.
Hi Coaster, I'm not sure I'll manage to respond in quite the way you'd like, but I'll do my best.

In terms of rescue dogs having had health tests - if you're referring to Labs, you'd probably be better off asking a Lab breed rescue which deals with Labs of all ages. We do take in a fair number of Lab sorts at Oldies Club, but we only take dogs aged 7+ and these days many incoming dogs are at the higher end of that scale, say 10+. I also volunteer when I can for a local general rescue centre, which helps all sorts of breeds/mixes too, many of which were picked up as strays. I can't think of a time when I knew that the health tests of a dog's parents had been handed in with a dog, but that doesn't mean it never happens.

I do think if someone is going to buy a Lab puppy from a breeder, then they should support a responsible breeder who does the relevant tests (and takes those results into account with breeding decisions). In part of course to try to obtain a healthy pup, but also to try to get rid of irresponsible breeding, by sending a message to those who don't/won't test, that people don't want to buy their pups. Looking at the bigger picture.

Different situation for me, adopting from rescue, as those I adopt from are not responsible for bringing the dogs into the world.

There are procedures to go through to adopt a rescue dog - as there should be - and as you say, the same for good breeders too. I can still remember the first breeder my family bought a dog from when I was a child. She gave as good a grilling as any home visit I've ever had and her initial greeting scared me! However, she cared about where her dog was going and chose a pup for us who was a little older, because she thought she would be the right match - and she was right.

There will always be people picking holes in a rescue's policies (and I have been turned down by a few myself for working, in the past), but I strongly believe that any good rescue has those policies for good reason and generally from plenty of experience, so while a policy may not sit well with someone, it has been brought in for what the rescue considers a good reason. Rescues DO want their dogs to be adopted, but they want to make as sure as possible that the home they've found is the forever home, as bouncing back into rescue can be traumatic for the dog and make future potential homes hesitant, wondering what they dog may have done 'wrong' - quite often nothing. There is no guarantee, just like a breeder selling a pup, but anyone breeding or rescuing responsibly will do all they can to make sure the first home is the right one :)

The reason I tend to suggest a Greyhound or two for such situations as this one (having not yet adopted a Greyhound myself) is because they are quite often happy to snooze the day away, they don't generally require tons of exercise and because I do know that at least some Greyhound/lurcher rescues will rehome suitable dogs to homes where people work full-time.

Oldies Club will assess each dog and each potential home on its own merit. Some older dogs will be ok for a working family, others won't be. We are 'fortunate' in that we are a small rescue with foster homes though, so we can see how a dog is in a home. Larger, kennel based rescues don't necessarily have that luxury, although it was a large rescue centre that I adopted my first rescue dog from, when I was working full-time. She was a couch potato!

Sorry for taking this thread off tangent a little for the OP.
 

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Angela - Thanks for your response. I appreciate we have gone a little off tangent but it is good that rescues are being discussed within context of folk seeking dogs.

All you said makes sense albeit confirms what we both know in that some rescues and breeders have criteria in trying to ensure the dog will not be left alone for unacceptable periods. As to what is unacceptable - this will vary between breeder & rescue.

I have significant respect for you & others positively involved in well run rescue organisations

:)
 
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