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A dog makes a fantastic addition to virtually any home and family, but your new furbaby also comes with a great deal of responsibility. This is especially true if you decide to adopt a puppy. Raising a puppy has been likened to looking after a toddler and with good reason. They can be unpredictable, clingy and destructive. They need to be toilet trained and taught which behaviors are acceptable and which really aren’t. However, they also have a great deal of love to give and together you can form an unbreakable bond of trust and companionship. Indeed, your canine pal will very quickly become a much loved and valued part of your life.
Nevertheless, the responsibilities that come with raising a puppy are considerable. For this reason, many people who work full time are reluctant to become puppy parents, worrying that they don’t have the time and energy to commit to their furry friend and ensure they raise a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog.
Fortunately, we are here to debunk the myth that you can’t raise a dog while working full time – with patience, planning and the support of friends/neighbors you most certainly can. It just means that your furbaby will have a slightly different lifestyle to a dog who is raised by someone who is always at home.
Wherever possible, take at least a few days off when you first get your puppy. This will give you a little time to get your new furbaby into at least something of a routine, and crucially give you time together to establish the first strands of a bond to one another.
During these early days together, you should begin by trying to get your pup to nail the basics in two areas – crate training and toilet training. More on these coming up!
While a minority of owners think that placing your dog in a crate for any period of time is cruel, most agree that it is a vitally important part of your pup’s early training. Not only does putting your furbaby in a crate preventing him from damaging your floors, furniture and more, it will also help to protect him from injuring himself – something which can be common in the early days of puppy ownership since they have little concept of danger. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you crate your dog when you aren’t at home – for his safety and your sanity!
Firstly, if you work full time you need to expect accidents to happen. If you can your puppy to get to grips with the basic concept of potty training then you are off to a great start, but realistically, no young pup can hold their bladder (or bowels!) for hours at a time. Therefore, once you will need to arrange some way to ensure your dog can relieve himself when he needs to. This could mean popping home during your breaks, having a friend or neighbor come and let him out, or employing the services of a dog walker.
Mental stimulation is very important for a curious puppy with too much time spent doing nothing, so the sooner you teach him to amuse himself using toys the better. Studies show that dogs that lack enough stimulation are more likely to develop behavioral problems. Fortunately, there are a wide range of different puppy toys available, ranging from squeakers to chew toys where you can stuff a treat into a secret hidden compartment. Puzzle feeders are a great way to distract your puppy while you or their sitter/walker leaves and will keep him stimulated and stave off boredom.
No knowing what your doggy is doing when he is left unsupervised can be worrying – particularly if you decided against crate-training your pup. One of the best ways to put your mind at rest is to invest in a dog-cam. These can be trained on your dog’s crate or placed in hidden spots around your house to ensure that he hasn’t run off. They are accessed wirelessly and securely, and can be streamed to your cellphone.
If you don’t have the support of family or friends, you may wish to consider looking into a doggy day care service. This is very much like kindergarten for canines, and all your pup’s needs will be taken care of when you are tied up at work. This also means that a lot of the hard work will be taken care of.
If you would like a recommendation for a dog walker, dog sitter, day care service or any other resource which might help you raise your dog while working full time, don’t be afraid to contact our clinic in Jacksonville, Florida for more information.