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Sorry I am posting a lot today!

I was speaking to Mike (my OH's) cousin at the weekend, he and his wife dropped by with Jester their 5 year old dalmatian. I have always thought Jester is a very weird dog. Very nervous and stand offish and (I hate to say) very difficult to like. But now I think I might know why...they let slip in conversation that they frequently leave poor Jester on her own for 10 hours a day in the week. 10 HOURS A DAY!!!

I am appalled and horrified (and overly dramatic). I mean really, what is the point of having a dog if you are going to leave the poor thing on it's own so long. IMO this is pretty cruel.

The longest I have ever left Chewy was 8 hours, it was a one off and I felt horrible about it, but I got called from my office in Worcs to the Birmingham office unexpectedly and was unable to get back at lunch time as I had planned to or find anyone else with keys to my house on such short notice.

Me and Mike both work full time. Fortunately I only live 5 minutes from my office and always go back and spend my lunch times with her. On a Mon and Tue we have a dog walker who takes her out for an hour in a morning so I take my lunch late, and the rest of the week my mum goes to walk her (or play in the house if its raining) in an afternoon so I take an early lunch. Chewy is rarely on her own for more than 3 hours and I feel ok about that. If ever we go out at the weekends, both our sets of parents love her to bits and are happy to have a four legged friend for the day.

Just wondered what the general consensus was, how long do you regularly leave your lab for and what's the longest you have ever left them?

Am I unreasonable to think badly of these people who have now gone way down in my estimations for leaving their poor dog 10 hours a day?
 

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We built up to leaving Jasper very gradually, and can now leave him for a day say 6 to 8 hours but very rarely and he is fine with that. Normally my inlaws or son have him if it is planned trip, but in an emergency or if we have been delayed he has been fine. I wouldn't want to leave him on a regular basis for more that four hours. Now we have nettle too it is back to basics, the longest I have left them is two hours. Nettle was in her crate and was fine with that.
 

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Maybe I wouldn't feel so bad if I had more than one dog, at least they would have each other for company!
 

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I leave the house around 8:30 and I'm back at 18:30. Cooper gets picked up anytime between 9:30 and 10:00 (sometimes 10:30) and dropped off around 12:30. In that time he goes to amazing parks with 3 other amazing dogs, one of them is his good buddy Archie (my friend's Lab). He then gets another visit at 15:00 for 45min-1h. So he is left for 3 blocks of 1h, 2.5h and 2.5h.

I wish I could finish early and get home to him for 15-16:00 and save us the 2nd dog sitting visit, but right now I can't unfortunately.

I was once stuck in traffic and didn't make it home until 19:30 (1h). I was crying with rage the whole way worrying about my poor dog being anxious and hungry and chewing through furniture and pooing all over the house... And when I got home, Cooper was... sleeping.

My friend's lab doesn't get a second visit (and she works similar schedule to mine), so is left about 6h in the afternoon. He is older though whereas Cooper is still only 11months.
 

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Haha when I was delayed I was also worried about what I wold be going home to, worried if Chewy would be scarred for life with abandonment issues, poo everywhere, no skirting left. She too was violently asleep!
Bless their little velvet paws *dies of cute*
 
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how long do you regularly leave your lab for and what's the longest you have ever left them?
Regularly, probably 2-3 hours. Once in a blue moon, around 6 hours. But I wouldn't have left them that long until they were adults and they always have the company of other dogs (and cats) here.
 

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" Am I unreasonable to think badly of these people who have now gone way down in my estimations for leaving their poor dog 10 hours a day? "


No. I think I would have to of REALLY liked them, NOT to have said.... " What the F**K did you get a dog for? A weekend hobby? "

Di
 

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Minnie copes with 4 hours but she is always bursting for a pea. I would struggle to be pleasant to people who planned to leave their dog that long, every day.

Emergencies happen, but there is no excuse imo.
 

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We only leave Cooper for 2 hours at most - when i go to work he goes to my mum and dad's just round the corner - they have went from babysitting my son to babysitting my dog!!
 

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I have never left Tatze for longer than 3 hours, but that is rare. Some days I leave her for two hours but rarely more.

When I had Cavaliers I didn't leave them either, my Mum and Mr Boogs Mum took turns to have them as we both worked full time.

To me, dogs are pack animals and are unhappy when left alone.
 

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Before Poppy our two boys were left about 3 hours in a morning, then my husband would be home as he worked split shifts. In the afternoon it was around two hours before I got back. Knowing they would be on their own some of the time was our reason for having the two of them.

I never leave Poppy more than a couple of hours on her own. To be honest I don't think she'd care, I often get the look of 'you've disturbed my sleep' when I open the door as I get home! If I'm going to be any longer I book her in for day care at the kennels. We live in the country and by the time we've got into town we would have to literally turn round and come home in order not to be much longer than two hours. It also means that Poppy is used to the kennels and she loves being able to play with the other dogs and the girls who work there.

I bought Poppy for company for me. I know I'm not in a happy place if on my own for too long, so why should she be any different?

Susan and Poppy
 

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Any amount of occasional exceptional leaving for hours and hours is only normal and 'human'. And well balanced dogs cope fine with it. What stuns me is people buying a dog, and such a social breed as a labrador, and knowing it will be left day after day after day all day.....

They really think ownership is a right not a privilage, and the dog is a toy just to play with in the evenings and at weekends. Shocking.

Di
 
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What stuns me is people buying a dog, and such a social breed as a labrador, and knowing it will be left day after day after day all day.....
I know how you feel. This is why I only had cats while I worked full time. It's just not fair to get a dog knowing you're going to leave it for 10 hours a day, every day. And I know some "Get used to it", as is so often thrown back as an excuse, but I don't believe any companion animal should HAVE to get used to it. I also know just how many end up in rescue with all manner of behavioural problems because they never did get used to it. :(
 

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OK, so I'll be the weird one here.

My other dog, a Golden Retriever, got used to staying alone for 8 hours a day or, in some exceptional cases, more than that. I know this is usually a very bad thing to do, but I think it depends a lot on the dog and the sort of activities he or she had.

In my case, Kara is a couch potato and she has been like that since day one. In her first year, she went out for a walk at 6 in the morning, then she would stay up till around 9am when I would go out with her in the park for about an hour, then she would pretty much sleep, drink some water, move around a bit and sleep some more till around 4 or 5pm. I used to go to the University back then and I had a 2 hour break around noon when I'd run back home to stay with her, but she was mostly interested in sleeping. Gradually, I stopped coming home during noon and she seemed to be OK with that. On the other hand, she would not sleep at all when somebody was in the house, she'll roam around and look for you and chew on a toy or beg for some attention, which she would normally get.

I believe dogs can adjust to a lot of cases and it's up to you to help your dog get to the point where he or she's comfortable alone. I think it worked for Kara because she was our first dog and the entire family basically gathered to see what would Kara do or how she would play fetch. She got at least 8 hours of activity per day, which is not something people that leave dogs home alone for more than 6 or 8 hours normally do because they have to take care of the household and so on.

Think about it: dogs normally sleep around 14 hours a day on average, based on the amount of physical and mental activity they had and so on. If they would sleep 8 of those hours during the time you're not at home and 6 during the night, they shouldn't feel like they were left alone, but that depends a lot on what they do during the other 10 hours.

And before people will start throwing stones :) I have to emphasize the fact that it depends a lot on the type of dog you have. Kara has a balanced personality and she's very friendly with people, but she's also OK with spending some time alone. Dante, my Lab, is not and while he is OK being alone for 4 hours, so I've decided to work from home. I also believe adjusting should work both ways.
 

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Mike and I wanted a dog for years but never had one as we didn't think it would be fair on the dog. When we were eventually in a position to move from a flat to a house we only really looked at garden size with a dog in mind rather than the actual houses! Oh - and kitchens as that is where she stays when we are not there.

We found a great house with an absolutely massive garden and big kitchen. I changed jobs to work very close to home so I would be able to go back at lunch times and even then I felt like it wasn't fair to get a dog. We then decided to enlist a dog walker or my mum in addition to me going back at lunch time so she gets 2 visits during the working day. Sometimes she goes to spead the day with Mike's mum too. I then felt like we were offering a dog a good life because as the above poster said, she does sleep a lot in the day and for the 2 chunks of time she is alone she is mainly sleeping, playing with her duck toy or barking at the postman. We know this because we set up a webcam for a couple of weeks to see what she got up to (and check on the dog walker when he was new)! I would totally recommend doing this, its great fun!
 

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Coco can hold her bladder for 24 hours when she feels like it (eg. if it's raining she often won't go outside at night even if she is given lots of opportunities to go out). She is rarely left home alone for long periods because I get home at lunchtime and OH/youngest get home by 4pm. One son is at college 2 days per week and the other son doesn't usually work on those days so more often than not there is someone at home.

If I needed to I'm sure she could be left for 8 hours or so because she isn't really interested in getting out of bed at lunchtime unless I offer her some food but it is very rare that she needs to be left as we always include her in our plans anyway.
 

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We're quite lucky at the moment that I only work 4 days 9-3 in a school and my dad works nights on a rotating shift pattern, so it's not very often that we are all working at the same time. When my dad is sleeping during the day Milo snoozes in his room with him & will wake him up if he needs the toilet, same as he does for us during the night.

I'm a bit worried about what will happen come September when I go back to Uni, as it's a 90 min commute so will have loooong days, but we'll deal with that when it happens.

If my dad wasn't living with us though I'd never have gotten the pooch, I don't think it's fair to leave them for so long completely alone.
 
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