Many people would love a puppy or dog in their lives, but feel they cannot look after one because they have a full-time job. In such circumstances, is it wise to get a puppy, and can you manage to look after them with your work schedule?
In this article, we’ll explore these questions and more to examine if and how you can look after a puppy while at work.
What does a puppy need?
A puppy needs a lot of attention when they first come home. Like newborn babies, they have to be taught what is acceptable and what is not, they have to be taken care of and they need to not feel alone. Puppies sleep a lot, but the hours that they are awake are dispersed throughout the day, and they are crucial periods for their learning.
Here are a few ways to manage bringing a puppy home if you have a full-time job.
Consider taking the first two weeks off
It would be helpful to take the first week or two off work when you bring a puppy home, especially since it is difficult to look after a puppy while at work. Puppies need constant attention when they are first at home: they need to be house trained, learn about the environment, be fed and just generally be taken care of. Being at home to oversee all this and also bond with your pet will make a difference.
Try working from home
Some firms will allow you to work from home once you have a new puppy. Check with your boss on what the policy at your firm is. This means you can still get work done while remaining a reassuring presence for your puppy.
Ask a family member to drop in
If you cannot rearrange your work schedule, try and get a member of the family to come home and spend some time with the puppy. This will make sure the puppy has company and someone is there to check up on them.
Ask a neighbour to check in
If your family members live too far away, ask your neighbour if they will drop in occasionally to check on the puppy. This will help with housebreaking the puppy while you are at work. This may be easier for neighbours than your family, as they live next door. Of course, this depends on if your neighbours are at home or if they have a full-time job that takes them away from the house as well – and if they are happy to help look after your dog!
There are actually pet sitters that drop in and stay with your puppy while you are at work. Consider hiring one; their credentials and experience may mean that they can even train your puppy while playing with them.
Doggy day care
While it would be good to have your puppy at home so that they grow familiar with the environment and so that you can housebreak them while you are at work, it is sometimes impossible to find someone to visit your home for you. If this is the case, take your puppy to dog day care, where a team will look after your puppy and allow them to socialise with other dogs. This can be a good option, as it allows your puppy to learn to share with new dogs and you have a professional looking after their needs.
What not to do
You should not leave your puppy alone all day, and you should not leave them in a dog crate. They need access to a litter tray (or the garden), and plenty of room to exercise and play.
Instead, you should try and give them the freedom to roam wherever in the house. In order to properly look after your puppy while you are at work, make sure you puppy proof the house. This means that you should not leave anything small in their proximity that they can swallow. Moreover, you should have installed a gate on the stairs to make sure that they do not climb up or down and hurt themselves.
Above all, spend time with them
Even if you do implement the measures we have recommended above, it is necessary that you spend a lot of time with your puppy. Make sure they get all the exercise they need for their age, and make sure that you spend plenty of time with them in the evenings and on the weekends. Plan fun activities with your puppy and have an idea of what kind of games you would like to play with them.
Bonding when your dog is young is important. It is also an important time for training your puppy, as bad behaviour at this stage can persist long into their lives. Your puppy can be housebroken while you are at work, but you will need to be there as much as possible to discipline them, train them and just be recognisable as their owner.
Sometimes you may really want a dog in your life but your schedule is simply too packed. This is not uncommon, as many jobs now require you to work long hours. In such cases, reconsider the decision to get a puppy.
A puppy requires a lot of time and attention, especially in the beginning. If you have a job that is too demanding or if you have to work weekends, it may be better for your pet if you adopt an older and already-trained dog. Offering a home to loving senior dogs is a good decision, and they would need less attention than a puppy. This may be what is best for you and your pet, so do look carefully at your lifestyle before making a choice.