Dogs Suitable for a Working Couple

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Member Since
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 7:31am PST 
I already posted once looking for recommendations on dogs that would co-exist well with my two 10-year old cats, and got some helpful feedback.

My next hurdle is convincing my husband that two working people can have a dog in their lives. He's worried that it's "too much work" and that we are out much of the day during the week. (I have grown kids, only one of which will still be home form college part of the year; the other is in grad school and living on her own.)

I understand the work that a dog would bring and am capable and willing. I plan to have someone come in to walk the dog on workdays (I have someone who has taken care of my cats for years when I'm away). In addition, I would proably do doggy daycare, perhaps once a week, as I hear from friends that dogs love it (there are one or two near my home). The other thing I can probably arrange is to work from home at least one day a week. Bottom line: I've thought this through and believe I can make it work.

Having said all that, I realize that some breeds would do better than others without constant human company. I'm looking for pointers on this. I know working couples with all kinds of breeds, but want to be intelligent about this.

One last thing: my plan is to get a puppy. All of my cats came to me as kittens and I love the bonding and training process. Plus, I think it would be easiest to get the cats acclimated to a puppy. I would consider getting two if that would be beneficial for the pup(s) in question. (And I know that two is more than twice the work - just like kids - but I survived that!)

I welcome all advice!
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 8:03am PST 
I think you would be very unwise to get a puppy. If you or your husband were home, maybe, but not when you both work. For starters, puppies physicallycan't hold their bladders very long, and need frequent potty trips. If you want a house-trained dog, you don't want to put the pup in a position where it must relieve itself in its crate while you're out. That way lies only trouble.

But if you have the support, are willing to pay for a sitter to come in several times a day, every single day that you and your husband are both working (and can find one who's reliable), then if you want the pup to bond to you, you don't want to get two pups the same age. You want one. You really, really want one. Get a second later, and not the same age.

You'd be much better off finding an adult dog who's good with, or at least not bad with, cats. (Really, it's just fine if your dog ignores your cats.laugh out loud ) Addy came to me just shy of a year old, house-trained, crate-trained, socialized with cats--and with no obedience training.cheer

Does it seem strange that I'd cheer the lack of obedience training? Training is the best way to bond with your new dog! We bonded to each other very quickly; you don't need to get a puppy in order to get a close, satisfying bond with your dog. If you get a young adult, you'll escape the stresses of potty training--and especially the stresses of potty training while you're b0th working. An adult dog will adjust more easily to a new household where the owners work all day, provided that they get adequate attention and activity when you are home.

Bottom line, being home one day a week, doggy daycare once a week, and a dogwalker every day is fantastic for an adult dog, who'll think they've died and gone to doggy heaven, if you are also giving them the time they need evenings and weekends, but totally inadequate for a young puppy, who is just leaving his mom's pack for the first time, and really does need someone there a lot of the time.

Please reconsider and get an adult dog. Shelters, rescues, and responsible breeders all have adult dogs that need furever homes, and it'll be a better fit for your home and lifestyle.
Jackie Poo,- NPC

I swear, I- didn't do it
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 8:06am PST 
Actually, if you work alot, rather than a 2nd dog, I'd suggest either hiring a daily dogwalker or investing in Doggie Daycare once or twice a week.

When we had Jackie as a puppy, it was a lifesaver to take her to daycare. She's a high-energy breed and smart too so all that time alone? It left her to think of ways to entertain herself and that was a bad idea.

A 2nd dog is helpful though when that puppy has grown and matured and knows the house rules and such. It's really not cheaper than daycare though. We thought it might be, but then we got Arrow. Her health care has far exceeded the daycare costs.

If you are willing to use a daycare or a dog walker, I'd say any breed who's temperment description doesn't include words like "velcro", "Shadow", and other indications of being extremely needy would work.

An independant breed would be better for you and be more able to thrive as a "daycare dog". And a good daycare would help with the housebreaking and obediance training. Unfortunately, many of those are high prey drive so it may take some hunting to get one that'll work with your cats.

Edited by author Wed Mar 19, '08 8:08am PST



Too smart for my- own good!

Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 9:13am PST 
I have a little different opinions. I don't think it matters that a person works, even with a puppy. I think it matters more what you are willing to do when you're not working that matters!

I have two fairly high energy breeds (GSD/Border collie mix, and a chow/aussie mix) and I am single and work 8-9 hours a day and we're fine! I even raised them both from puppies, although slightly older puppies (~14 and ~11 weeks). But I also dedicate the first 2 hours after I get done with work to them, we hike, walk, run, play etc.

Yes, young puppies (younger than 12 weeks old) need special consideration and a little more time but they don't stay that way forever. After about 12 weeks so or they should be fine with a mid-day potty break. Heck, I was working 10 hour days when Riley was less than a year old and I would come home during lunch to let her out but she wasn't destroying anything or having accidents at all even on the one or two days I couldn't get home for lunch. Raven also never had accidents while I was gone and she was even younger and I only came home for lunch the first week she was here. shrug

In an ideal world we would all be able to spend lots and lots of time with our new pups but that's not always going to happen. Working couples and singles are perfectly capable of successfully raising a puppy with a little extra effort for a couple of months. I would advise to get a slightly older pup (over 10 weeks) if possible but with the provisions you already have in place I think you will make out just fine. Like I said, I think it's the time/energy when you aren't at work that matters more than anything. And for the record on weekends when I am home all day the pups sleep, or follow me around and give me dirty looks for not letting them sleep because I am cleaning or something. wink

My little dog-a- heartbeat at my- feet
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 9:16am PST 
Ive always worked and had puppies, but thats me and may not work for you. My husband and I stagger our schedule so our adult dogs are not alone for more then 6-7 hrs at a time. When they were puppies we came home for a midday check on them. Since moving we cant do that so my next puppy will be gotten when Im on summer break (I teach). Working people can definitely have dogs (you gotta pay for vet and food bills). However, you should know dogs are about 10 times the works of cats and puppies are 100 times the work of kittens (Ive had both so I know). If you leave a puppy alone you cant do so for more then 4-6 hrs and only that long with an older puppy. The dog must be securely crated or penned in a puppy proof area and there will be accidents. You need to commit to hours of play time when you get home and lots of exercise. Weekends will need to be all about the dog (at least at first). I would seriously consider hiring a dog walker or investing in doggy day care.

Got Food?
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 9:23am PST 
"I have a little different opinions. I don't think it matters that a person works, even with a puppy. I think it matters more what you are willing to do when you're not working that matters! "

Riley, this is so true. I have friends that have companion breeds - the type that really like to have their people around - but who work full time. Because they live for their dogs when they are not working, they still make wonderful homes. Mind you, with these breeds having a second dog buddy at home when you are not is very important.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 10:00am PST 
Just to clarify my plan: I wouldn't leave a puppy in a crate all day. I would make the crate accessible as a little snuggle place, but inside a confined area. I have a half bath on my first floor. I would leave the door to that room open to the hallway that leads to my kitchen and use gates to keep the puppy confined to a combo of the bathroom and hallway. She/he would be able to see into the living room (gated) and into the kitchen/family room where the cats may meander. All of this area has a tiled floor (easy to clean). It's an L-shaped area that would be large enough to have the crate and food somewhat separated from a "piddle pad", which I understand people use successfully. And again, a dog walker initially twice a day, and once a day possibly forever.

The notion of keeping a not-fully-housetrained puppy in a crate for 8 hours was never on my radar screen.

Is it time for- my nap yet?
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 10:54am PST 
Hi.. just wanted to say, gates are easy to climb. I climbed my first gate at 9 weeks. I would suggest a dog that has a very low energy level. All three of my Boxers are quite good at escaping. They are described in the breed books as Medium energy. I agree that they are medium, they do have their spurts, but overall are pretty easily tired out... That said, puppies are insane in the membrane... wink

That said, my DH and I both work, although I have taken some time off to care for our new puppy... You can make it work. The dog walker is a must, at least until the pup is about 6 months, and I would continue it after then, just so the dog can have a play/potty break during the day... up to you. A pup can hold it (usually) for it's age in months plus one. So, a 3 month old pup can usually hold it for about 4 hours.

I would suggest buying a book that details many different breeds and doing some research. My husband is the puppy fan, personally, I think adult dogs are easier... If it were me, once I had decided what type of dog I wanted, I would contact a rescue first and let them know I am looking for a young whatever dog. Usually young is under 1 year. Trust me, under 1 year is definitely a puppy and you will still have the bonding time... Good luck on your search!
Roscoe the- Racehound&tr- ade;

Faster than a- speeding- jack-rabbit
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 12:27pm PST 
A Two working people & a pupppy. That may not be the best option. Why not adopt (rescue, not buy) an older dog? This way you can still enjoy the training process, and enjoy the part that you're saving a dogs life.
Puppies are HUGE responsibilities and will need lots of training and supervision, all which may be hard to do with two working people.
And what's the difference between a puppy and an older dog but a few months? Thousands of puppies end up in the shelter.

As for breed. How active are you. It's obvious you are doing research, which is great, but you want to think about a few things.
Do you want a laid back dog, or more of an active dogs.
Beagles usually can be either, depending on the dogs personality, but like most dogs they can become destructive if not given adequate exercise.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Wed Mar 19, '08 12:43pm PST 
An excellent book for getting realistic descriptions of breeds is Your Purebred Puppy, by Michelle Welton. It's on Amazon, as almost every thing isbig grin, http://www.amazon.com/Your-Purebred-Puppy-Second-Completely/dp/08050 64451/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205955569&sr=1-2

Welton gives both the ups and the downs of every breed she describes, plus at least a basic guide to the most important health questions to ask if you buy from a breeder.
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