A dog for a single person?

I would like to adopt a dog, but I live by myself and I work full-time and am gone a lot. I don’t think that would be an ideal situation for the dog. :frowning:
I will talk to our local adoption center, but would like to hear from anyone who has had the experience of living solo with a dog.
I strongly object to the idea of “caging” a dog.

Its a big commitment, you’ll find that you can’t spend the weekend away, unless you can find someone to dog sit, it doesn’t matter that you have the 'flu, the dog needs the excercise, some dogs are very very demanding in this requirement such as Gordon Setters and Border Collies, and contrary to what you might think, Greyhounds are actually very good in this regard, as are Borzois.

You will need to walk the dog at least once for a good run and another shorter walk at the least, most folk I know walk their dogs at least three times a day, once early, once early evening for the longer walk, and once late evening for another short walk - every day, seven days a week.

One dog and one person, hmm, have you perhaps considered two dogs ? they keep one another company and excercise each other, and paired dogs are quite difficult for the rehoming centres to place together.

The weather is irrelevant to most dogs, so you will get wet and blown and everything else that the weather holds for you in your area.

If you have family or good neighbours or friends nearby then go for it, I don’t know that I would suggest a pup though, maybe an older middle aged dog or two.

Have you considered a pair of cats? For a person who is not home all day, a cat (or two) is much easier to care for. They don’t have to be walked for exercise or elimination.

Not trying to derail your thread, and I do realize some people just aren’t “cat people”. I only wanted to offer another option for a loving pet to share your life. :slight_smile:

I was wondering about this too. Cats are a good option.

I’m a single person with a dog.

Both he and I are quite happy with the arrangement. I live in a condo, and he’s small, so I have him litter trained (just like a cat) - then if he has to do the doo, and I’m at work, he can go in the pan.

We go for one long walk in the AM (about 45 minutes) to get the stink blown off. He comes with me for most weekends away, and holidays and I have a nice older couple that dog sit for me when he can’t come.

He has no behaviour problems that I can think of - he’s just sweet and friendly and easy to get along with.

However, he’s a smaller type dog that needs less exercise, so I would keep that in mind. If you get a big, atheletic dog (or a small atheletic dog, for that matter) he’s gonna need a lot more exericise and may be unhappy with you away all day.

I think if you choose very carefully, both you and your dog can be very happy together.

Yes, I’ve considered cats. My last roomie was a cat, and excellent company. I’ve also thought about two, although Henry (the cat) was fine with being left alone.
But I’m thinking dog because I’d like a buddy who could run around with me, and travel in my pickup when I go out of town for fun.
Cats, however well behaved, are not generally good travelers.
Maybe a cat and a dog? They can be great friends if raised together.

Single, lives alone, with 4 dogs here.

It is a challenge sometime, I admit, but worth every bit of it. Where do you live? Apartment or house? Fenced yard? I have a small house, with a nice big privacy fenced yard, and in that yard, I have a 10’ X 10’ dog run. The run is covered with a reflective tarp, and when it’s not scorching hot or frigid, I leave the 2 Gordon Setters in the run, and the 2 little Papillons have the run of the house. I can’t leave all 4 loose, because the Setters tend to play rough, and I don’t want to chance having a Papillon become a greasy spot on the floor.

If you have a room you could set up for a dog room, that would work well when you aren’t home. Put a crate in it… contrary to popular belief, dogs LOVE their crates, it’s like a little den for them, and if you put nice soft bedding in it, they will often go in on their own for a nap. Give them some toys and safe chewies, a bowl of fresh water, and they are set. I always leave a radio playing for my dogs when they are left alone.

A small to medium sized dog would probably be your best bet , altho as someone pointed out, some of the bigger breeds are also very mellow and laid back. I hear that Great Danes actually make good apartment dogs! I would suggest picking out several breeds you might be interested in and doing some research.

Good luck… there is NOTHING like having a dog to come home to!

Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with caging a dog in an appropriate-sized cage; while left alone all day a well-adjusted dog will generally sleep anyway.

That aside, the chow chow is a good breed that tolerates being left to his own devices for extended periods. They’re a bit stand-offish anyway, and don’t generally suffer from either the nerotic need to have a task like working breeds, nor seperation anxiety that terriers, labs, and other amicable breeds exhibit. And while they’re a medium-to-large size dog (40-80 lbs) they’re relatively sedate and can easily handle living in an apartment or condo with just a daily walk for exercize. On the other hand, chows require an assertive (but not abusive) hand; they can be willful and challenging. The oft-claimed aggressiveness is generally the result of poor socialization combined with improper discipline; if correctly trained and handled they’re quite well-behaved around people, though they can be protective of their owners (especially around other dogs) and aren’t the ideal dog for households with children, as they typically have a limited tolerance for pulling and prodding.

Also, consider adopting a mature, perhaps older, dog rather than getting a puppy. The drawback of this is that you don’t have any control over the early socialization or breed control, but on the other hand you don’t have to cope with the puppy stage and increased need for attention. A good shelter or rescue organization should be able to screen their animals for inate temperment and health problems. Let them know the details of your situation and have them advise you on the best selection and training. Be warned; some people at shelters are overly protective or judgemental. I’ve heard stories of adopters being told off because they aren’t able to be home all day, don’t have a yard, and so forth. Don’t let this put you off; if you are sincere and responsible a good shelter will find a dog appropriate for your circumstance rather than castigate you for not living up to some kind of idealized perfect owner.

On the other hand a dog–even one that doesn’t require constant socialization–is a lot of work and responsibility. If you travel a lot or are gone for extended periods, you’re definitely going to want to have neighbors or family who can willingly take the dog and will follow good discipline. Boarding dogs regularly is not a good idea for both health and discipline reasons. However, you might look into a dog care service that will attend to your dog during the day or when you are gone.

I, too, want to get a dog; for the last few years I’ve been without canine companionship and I really miss it, but on top of my nominal 10 hour + 2 hour commute workdays and irregular travel schedule (plus no one to take care of said animal) I can’t have a dog in my current apartment, which is something I need to address soon.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the issue. Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.


By “caged” I meant locked outside in a small run and ignored much of the time. All my dogs (inside dogs) have had their dens, be it a cardboard box with a hole or a travel crate. They didn’t care, as long as they could feel enclosed.
I’ve known a couple Newfoundlands, and loved them. Big ol’ people lovers they were. A guy I work with raises and adores newfies. I’ve already talked to him a little about them, and plan to do some more.
Buy boy, they_are_BIG.
I like great danes too, even if they tend to be kinda goofy.

Last summer I met the best Great Dane. He was still a pup, but huge, and had learned how to operate the ice machine on the fridge door. Whenever it got hot he would just get himself a bunch of ice and roll around on the kitchen floor. Now that is a sight to be seen.

Unfortunately he also learned how to open up the oven door to see what all of those wonderful smells were. That one, was not so cute.

Get a stuffed one. Don’t have to feed it, walk it, pick up its crap, smell it and when you stop being single and have lost interest/no time for it, you can chuck it in the closet till you break up again.

Be aware; Newfs require a lot of maintanence; they’re pretty active for big dogs and have a tendency to develop a lot of chronic health problems. The same could be said for many breeds–including chows, which often suffer from hip dysplasia and entropion–but Newfs seem to have more problems than most. They do need to be worked in order to be healthy, and also bear in mind that the shear size of the dog makes it somewhat harder to transport; you’re going to need an SUV or minivan to take them anywhere, and (once they get older) a ramp or some means to allow them to get in a vehicle; unless you are Lou Ferrigno’s long-lost twin, you aren’t going to be picking one of these guys up.

They can be great dogs–very smart, amenable to training, good temperment–but they definitely require more commitment than other breeds.


What kind of job do you have, mangeorge? Is it the sort where you could bring a dog? I’m single (half the time with kids though) and I have a dog. He goes to work with me on nice weather days and spends the mornings in the truck bed staring through my window. I could bring him in the office, but we both prefer that he be outside. And I give him a good run before we start the day.

Even on the days that it’s raining (all of them lately!) or really hot, I go home for lunch and let him run. If I have to travel for work, I have to kennel him. Neither of us likes that very much.

It’s doable; it’s just a fair amount of work. Sometimes it would be simpler not to have a dog, but I’m just not that kind of person.

Ever considered Doggy Day Care?

The center in my area charges 10 dollars a day. The dogs have a giant heated/airconditioned building and huge yard to play in, including a pool and playground equipment. The staff have game time and do light obedience training with the dogs. The get socialized with both people and other dogs, and they come home tired. (A tired dog is a good and happy dog.)

Chances are, there’s a Doggy Day care near you. Almost every city has them, and they vary in prices and facilites.

I used to be a single person with a dog; I got the dog as a puppy when I was living with an ex, then we split up and I got the dog.

It was great. She was about five or six by the time it was just the two of us, so she’d calmed down a bit and I could just let her have the run of the place when I was at work. I’d take her out in the morning, and she’d be fine until I got home. (I’d usually come home at lunch and let her out, but she was fine if I didn’t for some reason.) In the afternoon/evening I’d take her on a good long walk, then usually let her out once or twice more before bed; I lived in a rental house with a big fenced yard, so I could let her run and snoop out there.

As others have noted, the dog won’t care about weather; expect to go for walks in the heat, and the cold, and the wind and the snow. Daily walks were a Very Good Thing for me, for several reasons:
[li]It got me in the habit of going out and getting at least some moderate (walking) exercise every day.[/li][li]It got me to quit being such a pansy about weather: If it’s cold, bundle up. If it’s hot, expect to sweat. If it’s snowing, take a camera. Etc.[/li][li]And it got me out and about in my neighborhood. I met interesting people, and found that there was a sort of informal community of people who walked their dogs at around the same time every day. I still talk to some of these people occasionally, three years after my dog died and I moved across town.[/li][/ul]
I’d second the recommendation that you adopt an adult; a puppy can be a REAL handful if you’re gone for long stretches and there’s no one around to address bad behavior when it happens.

If you’re interested in breeds, Zeke was a Carolina Dog, and was the sweetest, smartest, and most loving canine I’ve ever been lucky enough to know.

I have wondered if doggy daycare existed, and was just thinking about asking about it here.
Thanks, I shall check around.

How many hours do you work? Can you get home on break? Do you get dragged into overtime a lot? Do you have dog-loving friends that could be a back-up for you?

There are millions of reasons why to, and why not to get a dog. The most often over looked is the reality of scheduling. You may want to keep a log for a few months of how many hours you could have been interacting with a dog. Remember, that means no going out after work - you need to get home for a bit. That kind of thing…

If you find that your life would not be too upset by the routine, an adult dog from a known source might be a great option for you - many HS have programs to match up people who want dogs with folks who need to rehome theirs - without a stay at a shelter. That way, you can look for one that has no issues with being alone during the day.

(A breeder may also have an adult dog that needs placing - but I’d like to encourage you to look at the shelter mutts first!)

I’m a single peron with 3 dogs. I’ve never had a problem with my dogs - although I have a 20 X 20 building with an attached 20 X 20 run, my dogs chose to stay in during the day, although they knew they would be inside for 10-12 hours. I am guilty of getting pets for my pets, though. Which is why I have 3 dogs and 3 cats.


Another single person with a dog checking in…

A dog’s needs really aren’t that onerous with a little planning, mangeorge , especially balanced with how much happy companionship they give back.

Mine is a pretty big pooch–black Lab/Shepherd–but her requirements really aren’t all that heavy. I live very near work so I often dash back home during the middle of the day for a quick trot for ‘sniff and widdle’ moments (huge entertainment for dogs) then she’s perfectly happy to do her own thing until I get home in the evening. The pure joy she gets out of walks makes it easy to get in some much-needed exercise and decompression time after work.

Doggy day care is a great option, so by all means check it out. I have a pet sitter who’ll check in on her if I get tied up, or have to travel out of town. It’s not that expensive–about $20/day–and that way she’s able to stay happily in her own home. (She hates being boarded, but that varies by dog.)

Anyway, the routine is easy and really not a burden. Puppies are cute but you might do better with adopting a slightly older dog from a shelter. Some of them are already house-trained and have learned basic commands, besides being past the rambunctious stage. Maybe scr4 will check in with his experience. IIRC he’s single and fairly recently adopted two shelter dogs.

Good luck, mangeorge!

I have never had a dog, but I have always thought that dachshunds sounded like good dogs. They are small, and their little legs are so short that they are happy with pretty moderate exercise.

Is it true?