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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, everyone. I have been considering getting a puppy for quite some time now. I've decided on an Australian Shepherd and I've already done a ton of research and waited until I could accept the financial responsibility of a pet. When I began searching for the right pup, I wasn't anticipating having to work for 3 months due to me switching jobs so I thought it would be the perfect time to bond with the new pup and train him.

It is now the end of the 3 months and I will be starting my new job in a week. I believe I may have finally found the right pup for my lifestyle (laid back and moderately active), but I'm worried about leaving him alone in his exercise pen while I work (I'd leave the house around 8am and return around 6pm). I understand a puppy can't hold its bladder very long and would need to be let out frequently. I plan on taking the puppy for a long walk each morning before work and again once I get home, following by play and training sessions. I will also be buying a two-way pet monitor to interact with him throughout the day but I'm not sure how effective that will be in bonding while I'm away at work. I would like to hire a dog sitter I found nearby for the in between potty breaks, however, I'm afraid he will bond more to the sitter than he does with me.

Can anyone please give me advice as to whether this is a feasible plan for a new puppy (bonding before and after work, drop-in visits throughout the day by a sitter) or if it would be better for me to wait? Should I be concerned about my puppy bonding more with the sitter? I will return to school in August and my schedule will be a lot more flexible then. I just want what is best for the puppy.
 

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Is this an 8-week old, brand new little pup? Your puppy won't actually want/need a long walk at any time during those early weeks; the general guideline that I've heard is 5 minutes per month of age, starting at 4 months (and before 4 months, just incidental play-exercise and here-to-there walking is sufficient). You want to be gentle on their rapidly growing little bodies!

Young puppies = sleep deprivation, which isn't fun with a long/rigid workday...and ten hours of alone time during the day, even with a visit from a dog sitter, is a long time. I'm not sure that a puppy would be able to figure out that it was you on the other end of the pet monitor...maybe, but it's probably more effective with a dog that knows who you are and the sound of your voice already. My puppy slept a lot in those early weeks (and still sleeps quite a bit) but never, ever a long stretch. It's more like play for 20 minutes with me or another dog, chew on a bone or play with a puzzle toy solo for 20 minutes, nap for an hour...then potty break and repeat.

I think I would wait until your schedule is more flexible, unless we're talking about an older pup here (then I think you could make this work, with an ex-pen and potty pads, plus help from a dog walker).
 

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I was in school full time when I got Kuma, and since I took the bus to school, I had no way to come home during the day. He was 12 weeks old when I got him, and we set him up in the bathroom with safe toys, a bed, water, and pee pads, and he was just fine. It didn't affect our bonding or his development in any way. Obviously the ideal would be if you could come home at lunch to let him out, but life isn't always ideal, people work, and it certainly can be done without negatively affecting your puppy. The only real downside that I've experienced is that it makes house training take a bit longer.
 

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I work and got a puppy last December I definitely think it can be done he's in a play pen while I work too
I don't feel working means you can't have a puppy I spend more time with my puppy when I'm home than a lot of people do when they don't work and stay at home all day
Training is the quickest way to bond with a puppy lots of little training sessions a couple before and a few after work (just short 2-4 min is all that's needed with longer sessions occasionally) helps a lot with bonding and always keep it fun!
However Aussies are very hyper dogs usually
they need someone that can get all that energy out to keep from being bored and terrorizing your house they will be a lot more work than a lot of other breeds



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It can be done. Plenty of people do it. Until he can hold it, you will have to have a crate attached to an x-pen with pee pads so he has a sleeping place and a place to potty. When you are home, that's when you work on potty training and teaching outside is the place to go, but you can't really expect them to hold it until 6 months old. Potty training may take a bit longer, so you have to be prepared to remain hyper vigilant for 6+ months. If you want to have a sitter to take the pup on potty breaks, sure, but I don't really think it's necessary if you can provide a good setup for pup.

I wouldn't worry about bonding too much. I'm away 9 hours a day and my dog follows me everywhere, has no problem understanding who is family and who is a visitor. As puppies they love everybody, but as they get older they become more attuned to their person and care less about everything else. He's an Aussie/Collie mix. They're typically velcro dogs to begin with!

I don't think a pet monitor is going to help at all. Ever seen the video of the guy who's husky ripped apart his couch while he wasn't home, and just had to watch on the monitor? Lol. Sure, get one if it makes you feel better, but I don't see any benefit to the dog.

Also, as a warning, adolescent Aussies are hellions. I would not consider them "laid back" or "moderately active" in any capacity. They tend to be reactive as youngsters and often react before they think. Sometimes even the adults are beyond what a normal pet home is capable of. It wasn't until about 1.5 years that I was reasonably certain my dog had a brain (and he's only half Aussie). You have to be prepared to have plenty of mentally draining games, because you'll never tire them out physically! Make sure you purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder with show-line or companion Aussies if laid back and moderately active is important to you. I'm not saying that Aussies are bad fits for average pet homes, mind you. Plenty thrive there. It's just so much better when you purchase a pup from somebody who knows their lines and can match a puppy to your needs and lifestyle! They're becoming so popular these days that bad breeders are breeding unstable dogs (at least around here. They're in shelters everywhere and you can throw a stick and hit an "Aussie breeder")
 

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If you have your heart set on an Aussie adopting a more mature one from a shelter is an option. You might not find one with markings or colors you like but you might luck out and find one with the perfect personality for your situation. The way I see it is that you can learn to live with how a dog looks but living with an unacceptable habit (excessive barking etc) is an uphill battle with a lot of frustration neither you nor the dog need.

Needless to add that with an older dog ''teenage tantrums'' etc will probably be over and you'll get a better idea of the dog's temperament.
 

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I think it would be better to wait for your schedule to be better; however, your plan now can definitely work. Keep in mind the frustrations and sleep deprivation that come with a new puppy and try not to underestimate how much extra work it's going to be having a puppy to look after.

As for the bonding, I personally don't think that will be an issue. You are the primary caregiver doing the feeding, training, and lots of other activities with the puppy.

Also keep in mind the breed temperament. I have no experience with Aussies, but I've never heard anyone who owns one describe them as "laid back" in any way.
 

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My Aussie was a rescue. As noted above they can be a real handful. They are very loyal dogs and should bond easily. They can be very sensitive to you being away. They need very challenging mental activities. I walk my dog 3-12 miles a day slightly tempered by weather. We go to weekly classes for socialization and training. I have my own training exercises but we do the classes too. They provide the mental part.

Even layed back ones need lots of love and being around people. They can be food hogs. We have a beautiful pup that's now a year old in our appt. he is already chubby as the owners only give him a short walk around the area.

I see them in classes quite often. Most are pretty active. You can't really tire them out.

Oh yes, they like to " talk" and have vary good voice for their size.

If you socialize your pup properly with other dogs and people he should be a fine dog. I'd say they are more people friendly than dog friendly.

Good luck,
Byron
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alisa♥;5144330 said:
Is this an 8-week old, brand new little pup? Your puppy won't actually want/need a long walk at any time during those early weeks; the general guideline that I've heard is 5 minutes per month of age, starting at 4 months (and before 4 months, just incidental play-exercise and here-to-there walking is sufficient). You want to be gentle on their rapidly growing little bodies!
He will be 12 weeks when I get him and I would only need the dog sitter for a month until my schedule becomes more flexible. Thank you for your advice on the exercise! I'll definitely follow those guidelines so I won't stunt the pup's growth. I used to foster a puppy so I'm prepared for the sleep deprivation, though I used to have a roommate so he was never alone very long. Do you think him being 12 weeks will make a difference?
 

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If you want to have a sitter to take the pup on potty breaks, sure, but I don't really think it's necessary if you can provide a good setup for pup.

I wouldn't worry about bonding too much. I'm away 9 hours a day and my dog follows me everywhere, has no problem understanding who is family and who is a visitor. As puppies they love everybody, but as they get older they become more attuned to their person and care less about everything else. He's an Aussie/Collie mix. They're typically velcro dogs to begin with!
What you said about bonding is a relief! I did plan on having the sitter mainly take him out for potty breaks since I don't want him to get used to going inside the house and make housebreaking more difficult.

Also, as a warning, adolescent Aussies are hellions. I would not consider them "laid back" or "moderately active" in any capacity. They tend to be reactive as youngsters and often react before they think. Sometimes even the adults are beyond what a normal pet home is capable of. It wasn't until about 1.5 years that I was reasonably certain my dog had a brain (and he's only half Aussie). You have to be prepared to have plenty of mentally draining games, because you'll never tire them out physically! Make sure you purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder with show-line or companion Aussies if laid back and moderately active is important to you. I'm not saying that Aussies are bad fits for average pet homes, mind you. Plenty thrive there. It's just so much better when you purchase a pup from somebody who knows their lines and can match a puppy to your needs and lifestyle! They're becoming so popular these days that bad breeders are breeding unstable dogs (at least around here. They're in shelters everywhere and you can throw a stick and hit an "Aussie breeder")
Lol I was looking for a puppy that won't go too crazy when I'm away but is also eager to play and exercise when I'm home. I'm meeting with the owners and their dogs in a few days, but the owners told me the pup likes to play and cuddle for a while then goes off to lay down and be alone. The sire is very active but the dam is usually calm unless she's working the cattle. I'll see for myself when I meet with them. I have a lot of ideas and games for mental stimulation, which I'm super excited about because I love the trainability of aussies.
 

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Thank you all for your responses and advice! I appreciate the thoughtful answers and I will definitely take all of it into consideration. I'm also willing to adopt an older dog and I'm now looking into adopting a dog from the city animal care services.
 

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He will be 12 weeks when I get him and I would only need the dog sitter for a month until my schedule becomes more flexible. Thank you for your advice on the exercise! I'll definitely follow those guidelines so I won't stunt the pup's growth. I used to foster a puppy so I'm prepared for the sleep deprivation, though I used to have a roommate so he was never alone very long. Do you think him being 12 weeks will make a difference?
Yes, I think that will make a difference for sure! Every day seemed to get better as far as night-waking goes for my puppy, so I'd suspect a 12-week old will sleep a longer stretch during the night than an 8-week old would.

Keep us updated on your future pup, and your visit to this current litter! I get the impression that you're committed to doing whatever you need to do in the event that one of these puppies steals your heart :wink:
 
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