Is It Fair To Get A Dog When You're Gone All Day?

Yeah, I know, fair’s where pigs compete for ribbons!
Anyway, I’m hoping to move soon into the cutest little house with a ginormous back yard. I love dogs, I have kids who love dogs.

We all want a dog. However, Monday through Friday nobody’s home from around 8 to 6. I wouldn’t leave a dog outside in the summer- I feel that 100-115 degrees would just be too hot for them to be out. Also, the sun’s very strong and dogs get skin cancer, too. (At least I think they do.)

I don’t know how I’d feel about leaving a dog inside the house all day, either. Do any of you leave your dogs inside alone all day?

Either way, I fear a dog might get very lonely being alone all day, and getting a dog for my amusement and not treating it right doesn’t sit well with me.

Maybe I should just get a cat?

And no, I can’t afford to get two dogs so they can keep each other company.

Are you adverse to getting an older dog? One that’s already crate trained?

If you aren’t, look into rescues (particularly of breeds you’re interested in), the shelter, and there’s also the (slight) possibility of a retired show dog.

That’s the route I’d take, in that position. Also, an older dog can already hold it’s bladder, and depending on the training may not need to be crated, though I would do so at first, until you know you can trust the dog.

My dog stays outside by himself all day when I’m at work, although there’s a latticed-off area under the deck and back room that he can get into through a doggie door. He’s also got a water dish with a resevoir and I’m about to try a motion activated one. He’s very happy that way. Sometimes I come home for lunch and sometimes I don’t, but it hardly matters since often he doesn’t even want to come in when I come home for lunch anyway. He’s happy to be outside with the outside world and then he’s happy to be inside with me.

One dog alone all day will probably get lonely, and your family may not be able to be fair to him. Particularly, if you go out at night regularly, your dog will not be having fun. (The dog may take its frustrations out on your belongings, to make things worse.) You may not want to get one at all in this case.

If you can afford one dog, you can probably afford two. :wink:

The suggestion about adopting an older dog is probably a good one. Go visit your local shelter. Ask if they have any “owner surrenders” that have had a solitary life. (Note: this may not be a good idea; they may have been surrendered for a reason, if you get my drift. If they will tell you, ask why they were given up.)

Volunteer at your local shelter. Some people who are not in a position to adopt get a kick out of this. But be careful - it’s also a way to end up with too many animals!

There’s likely a Doggy Day Care near you. The places are popping up all over the country as the idea gets more popular.

For a few bucks a day, your dog can run and play with other pooches all day long, coming home happy and tired. Some places offer more services than others. The one I took my dogs to has a “Doggy Bus” which will pick up and drop off your dog for a fee. They had a pool, playground equipment and a rubber-floored, air-conditioned gymnasium for the dogs to play in. During the day, they had game-times with the dogs, such as throwing balls for them, or shining laser pointers on the floor. They also had periodic training sessions throughout the day to reinforce obedience.

If you have a friend who also has a dog but works a different shift, the two of you could dog-sit for one another, and let the dogs play.

Having a second dog is also an idea to consider. My dog used to suffer terrible seperation anxiety until we got another one. Now, as long as she can see her “brother”, she’s perfectly content, even though we still crate him. I leave them both a long-lasting treat before I go to work so they’ll have something to do all day. (A Kong stuffed with peanut butter and frozen overnight can give them hours of yummy fun.)

Is there a posibility of a dog door?

Some very good suggestions here. Unfortunately, I don’t think a doggie door is doable- the only way to the backyard through the house is french doors. Doggie daycare is out, too- I already pay more than enough for kiddie day care.

I will take the suggestions to switch off with a friend who works a different shift and to get an older dog that’s used to being alone under consideration.

I have a chow who is, by nature, a very solitary lil’ guy. He always has been and always will be.

For a few years, he lived with our great dane, but since the great dane died, the chow seems perfectly happy.

In fact, it’s borderline creepy. I expect him to be distressed or sad, but nope! I’ll look out there, he’ll be laying in the grass, smiling from ear to ear, soaking up the sun- only getting up to snack on his kibble or get some water.

When we’re home he comes inside, of course- but he really seems to like the outside.

You guys think the intense heat during the summer here is too much for a dog? I haven’t had a dog since I moved here. There is a large patio with a complete overhang so lots of shade there. The backyard is, of course, fenced in.

Well, I’d imagine it’s not much hotter there than it is here in Bakersfield. We take a few measures to make sure Doc is nice and cool:

We have a large patio, which has misters we leave on throughout the day (on a low setting). We don’t leave the misters on each day, but just on days when it’s over 90. The yard has tons of grassy space and shaded dirt areas- which dogs love to lay in to cool off.

Oh, and we shave his coat each summer. He hates it. He knows he looks stupid. I just hope he realizes why we do it. :slight_smile:

Personally, I would vote for getting a cat in your situation - or maybe volunteering at a shelter to help walk or socialize the dogs to get a doggy fix without the worries of spending enough time.
I suppose you could look into having a pet sitter drop by your house at mid-day during the workweek to give the dog a little playtime/exercise/etc. That would probably be cheaper than daycare. But, still, I think that going with a cat would be less complicated since being alone all day is completely natural for a cat.

Are you really living that close to the edge of homelessness? If so you should reconsider getting even a single dog.

As for what is said, a younger dog/pup seems like a bad idea, a older, well mannered and good alone by himself, dog from a shelter seems perfect.

Whenever someone posts about the cost of some vet procedure, everyone says “well, that’s what you commited to when you got the dog”. It’s entirely possible to be able to afford the day-to-day costs of two dogs, but not be in a position to afford the long-term potential costs of two. It’s also possible that “can’t afford” means “aren’t willing to sacrifice other parts of my lifestyle for . . .”, which is perfectly fine when we are talking about a hypothetical situation. If she HAD two dogs and was saying she could only afford vaccines for one, your post would be reasonable. Instead, she’s trying to figure out (with a wide variety of input) if there is any moral way to get one dog in her situation, and has made it quite clear that if it can’t be done morally, she won’t do it. It’s laudable behavior.

You might want to reconsider a doggie door. I put ours right through the side of the house. So has my best friend. I also had to build a little deck and stairs on the outside for the doggie door as it was too high off the ground.

You may need to move, extend some electric, and in my case I also had to move re-route a plumbing vent pipe. Of course it depends on the layout of your house and yard, and where you would like the dogs to spend the day when you are gone. But, with a doggie door, we don’t need to worry quite as much about our dogs if we need to stay late for work, or have to be away longer than usuall.

I take it you have a fenced yard?

Everyone will be much more happy. My girls are enjoying it as I type. It’s great.

Yes, that, or in my case I can’t really afford two cats. Well, sure, I could afford two cats–the food and the litter and routine veterinary care and such isn’t that much more expensive–but even if my landlady wouldn’t have a problem with me having two cats (instead of just one) when I finish school and go someplace else, renting (assuming I don’t buy a house) could be much harder next time. I mean, it can already be harder to find a place to rent with one pet but with two it can get next to impossible.

A lot of people work all day. I don’t see that as a tremendous problem except for puppies/high energy dogs. I definitely wouldn’t recommend a high maintenance dog for a family who was MIA most of the day.

More than anything, I’d consider how much you are on the go AFTER work. For instance, if your kids are involved in activities that won’t allow you to haul a dog along, then that’s more time away from the dog who’s been alone all day already. For instance, if you are out of town at soccer tournaments 3 out of 4 weekends, then that’s too much time away, IMO. You don’t want to get a pack animal and then deprive it of its pack.

On the other hand, if you’re involved in after-work activities where you can include the dog, then that’s a great opportunity to make up for lost time. It goes without saying that most dogs make great exercise companions. And if your kids are involved in dog-friendly sports, such as soccer, then that’s a plus. (Our beagles loved soccer season because I walked them when the girls were practicing and brought them along on game day to socialize with other kids/dogs.)

There are thousands of dogs who are family friendly and in need of a good, loving home. I think you should definitely consider adding a dog to your family. Being worried about how much time you’re away is a good sign, IMO, because it means you will be a responsible pet owner.

I also came in to mention the chow chow, until I read that you had kids. I know someone from Arizona who keeps his (short haired) dog in a kennel while he’s at work. The dog is apparently doing fine in the weather.

I put a kittie door in the screen portion of my sliding doors with very little effort, and I think the make dog sizes as well. So perhaps that option would work if you have a screen door.
Oddly, one of my cats figured it out in a day and goes in and out all the time. The other one hates it and won’t get close to it.

If your dog has access to shade and fresh water, being outside shouldn’t be a problem. My dogs prefer being outside to in on most days, and seem very happy in 90+ temp and humidity days lying under bushes and keeping tabs on the neighborhood.
As to the original question of fairness - I bet if you asked a dog at a pound if they’d rather be alone all day or euthanized, they’d say be alone. The vast majority of dogs out there have lives that revolve the habits and schedules of their owners. Yet they are happy and healthy. Dogs remain a pet favorite because they adapt so well to just about anything, and that includes being by themselves sometimes.

Lots of good advice in this thread. If you really think it’s too hot and can’t manage a doggie door, do consider a crate-trained dog. If you start with them as pups in training, the crate is not a “cage” in a punishment sense, it’s a safe secure “den”. (Of course, you must never use the crate as the punishment place, or that screws that up!) Our dogs all loved their crates, and would often seek them out when they were feeling overstimulated or scared.

My favorite dog for the situation you describe is the pug. They’re adorable (I think), they’re cuddly as can be when you’re around, but they really don’t seem to care much if you’re gone. They mostly lie around all day anyway. If you’re there, they’ll lie on your lap. If you’re not, they’ll lie in their crates. They’re great around kids, though, and love to play fetch and go for walks. Or not. They don’t care much either way. Whatever you want, dear owner, is fine with a pug. The most easy-going dogs I’ve met, as a breed. (Altough they think they’re big, bad bulldogs, or something. They have this funny cute little “grrrrrrrowl” that they could never, ever back up with real action.) And they snore - but if that bothers you, just have 'em sleep in the crate at night in another room.

My mom was (is) a teacher, and I was a student, so we’d both be gone from about 7:30 until 5 or so on weekdays. Our pugs were fine, and never acted out as long as we crated them. The basset hounds and the shar-pei didn’t work out so well. We almost never had two dogs at once - the pugs were Only Dogs owned at different times.