What Should I Do With My New Puppy
While At Work?

by Gabriella

I have a 7-month-old Rat Terrier who is fully potty trained, she needs a lot of attention and absolutely loves being around other dogs.

My step-mom lives on the same property as me and has 16 dogs. My dog has been properly socialized from a young age and does very well over there while I'm at work. I only work part-time Mon-Wed 1PM to 7 or 8PM.

I want to get a new puppy since my dog cannot always go play at grandma's, and we won't always be here forever. I will eventually let the new pup stay at grandma's while I'm at work, but seeing as all of her dogs are adult, and this is a puppy that may or may not have been socialized, I'm hesitant to bring her over there until she's at least comfortable around all the dogs and somewhat potty trained.

Is it cruel to crate a new puppy for 6 hours for only three days a week for maybe a month? Keep in mind I don't go in until one, so we would have plenty of time to play and exercise before I go in. My husband and I are also kind of night owls and usually stay up late. Is there any way that the puppy may become accustomed to a sleep schedule that is more during the afternoon, since we go to bed late and usually rise pretty early.

Is it better to leave her in an enclosed area where she can have more room to roam, I know this will hinder the potty training process but hopefully watching big sister will help.

I really just want to make sure the puppy is happy and safe until I can feel comfortable leaving her with 16 other dogs with varying personalities. Any tips you can provide would help. Thanks!

Answer From the Editors at Dog-Spoiling

Hi Gabriella,

I'm glad you are taking the time to think over the needs of a new pet before going ahead. I'm sure you are an avid dog lover, but with all your current responsibilities and irregular schedule, wouldn't it be better to hold off a bit on getting another puppy?

For the time being, it seems that your young dog (still a puppy herself) has plenty of company and social interaction with the sixteen other dogs on the property. Wow, sixteen, I had to read that twice!

However, if you have your heart set on adding another dog to your family, why not consider rescuing one from a shelter. There are literally hundreds of dogs in shelters, both young ones and older, that are desperately in need of a loving home. Many of them are already housebroken and socialized, which would make the transition to your family and schedule a lot easier.

A puppy really needs uninterrupted supervision for the first six months to ensure that they are not only reliably housetrained, but also that they are not "set up" to develop other undesirable behaviors. Nothing can replace your leadership during this early learning phase - which is also the most important time for bonding.

So many dogs are sadly (and unfairly in my mind) surrendered to shelters because of behavioral problems resulting from lack of training. But without an owner's participation, training just doesn't happen.

As a dog lover, just think about what a wonderful thing you would be doing to give a shelter dog another chance of having a forever home!

Now back to your question about crating a puppy - yes, it is unreasonable to crate a new puppy for six hours. As a general rule, puppies need potty breaks very often because they don't have the bladder control of a mature dog.

While supervised crate training can be very helpful for house training, the actual amount of crate time starts out being very short and is gradually increased over several weeks. Using this approach, a puppy at around two months, would probably be able to manage three hours without an opportunity to urinate.

As for leaving a puppy to roam about - even in an enclosed area - it doesn't take but a minute for a puppy to get into danger - and in ways that may never have crossed your mind. Personally, I would not feel comfortable with this situation.

As I said earlier, my advice would be to hold off on a second puppy until you can more fully devote yourself to its needs. But if you're really set on it, I urge you to visit a shelter before making up your mind. Either way, best of luck.

Whatever you decide to do, here are some pages on the website that you might find helpful:

Help For Home Alone Dogs

Potty Training

Crate Training

Indoor Dog Potty

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While At Work?

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Confining Your New Puppy While at Work
by: The Pet Care Guy

If you are set on getting a new puppy now, you are right that you cannot leave them in the crate for 6 hours. This is way too long for a puppy to hold their potty.

If you are going to confine your new puppy to an area (like a kitchen, laundry room), one thing you may not have considered is that you will have to paper train your puppy.

The puppy cannot hold it's potty for 6 hours, whether in a crate or not. Could your mother come over and get your puppy out about twice in those 6 hours? If she can't, then you would need to hire a dog walker to come over and get your puppy out.

Just some more things to think about.

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