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Yes, it's yet another "can I leave my dog(s) home alone" thread. I would normally just consult an existing thread, but it seems every one I find has some critical difference in circumstances that renders it invalid for my case.

I'm in the process of getting a dog, or rather, in the process of deciding whether I can get a dog, and the main hurdle to overcome is the fact that I live alone and work during the day, so any dog I get will inevitably be left alone for long periods.
I've read a number of sources trying to figure out exactly how much of an obstacle this is, but I read ten different sources and get eleven different answers, ranging between "yes, it's fine" to "no, under no circumstances."

Anyway, a bit about the circumstances.
Context

I have to leave for work at about 8:00, and I usually get home at around 6:00, or sometime shortly after. I work Monday to Friday, and due to the commute I really don't have time to head home for a quick walk during lunch time (unless I somehow managed to renegotiate hours).
That gives me a rather unwieldy 10 hours for the dog to be alone.

The kinds of dogs I'm looking for are medium to large dogs. In rough order of my top picks:
  • Border Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Husky
  • etc.
Yes, all intelligent, active breeds that require a lot of both mental and physical stimulation. I'm not making this easy for myself, am I?

I am absolutely not planning on getting a puppy. My sources may have been a bit contradictory, but every thing I've read is crystal clear on the fact that that's out of the question given my circumstances. No, the dog will be adopted, and already an adult.

I don't have a yard, unless you consider a small concrete area with a shed and cloths line to be a yard.

The Plan
So far I plan to take the dog for a long walk before work. Perhaps an hour, maybe more. And then another walk when I get home. Some of this time will also be spent training the dog, and doing other activities to address it's mental stimulation.

The dog would have plenty of toys around the house. I've read the kong toys and the like are good for keeping them entertained, but I'm not sure it would be enough for such a long period.

External Help
So, as for people who could walk the dog during the day.

Wife or girlfriend?
Yeah ... about that whole human dating thing ...

No one who lives close enough and doesn't also have to work.

Everyone lives too far away to be able to pop by for a quick walk.

Neighbors?
I don't know my neighbors. What with this pandemic going on at the moment, and having just recently moved, I haven't interacted with them at all. Although, I didn't interact with any of my previous neighbors, so ...

Doggy daycare or walking services?
Now we're getting closer to a plausible solution. However, I would consider this a last resort, as it's just another expense on top of the rest that a dog would bring (and from a very brief look at the services, not a particularly cheap one). However, if this is the only answer, then so be it.

Questions
With all of the circumstances well and truly laid bare, I have to ask, how plausible would it be for me to take care of the type of dog I'm looking at?
  • Would it make a difference if I got two dogs? That seems to bump things up notch as far as care is concerned, but I do wonder whether two would be able to keep each other company during the day (as long as I make sure to get two that get along with other dogs).
  • If i went with some kind of walking service or doggy daycare, would it be acceptable to only use such a service on certain days (eg, Tuesday and Thursday), or would the dog still go mad being left along on the remainder?
  • If none of the dogs on my list can stand being alone like this, then are there any others that can? I've read that certain breeds (Greyhound, Akita, Shibu Inu, etc) do better left alone than many others, but I want to know how true that is, and whether 10 hours would still be too long. If it just comes down to getting a more appropriate breed, then that'll have to be it.
  • Would crate training help out here? I would rather give my dog free reign of the house, and 10 hours seems like an awfully long time to be crated, but I wonder whether it could be used as a temporary measure to help the dog become accustomed before giving it free reign. I don't really know anything about crate training.
I'm going to be stuck with a cat, aren't I?
 

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I would say even a cat could cause a lot of damage in 10 hours..Although the most likely scenario is that it would go off and find a nicer place to live, cats tend to do that when they dont get the attention they want.

Owning a dog is like having a child, its not just a case of feeding and watering them they need to be raised nurtured and cared for and they need to know that they are cared for. Latch key kids get up to all sorts while the parents are away and pets left at home are the same . A couple of hours (max4) is ok but 10??? thats just asking for trouble and totally unfair on the pet.

The breeds you are looking at are as youve already said high energy. They are totally unsuited to the lifestyle you describe. Ive had a border collie and a GSD... honestly left alone for that amount of time a BC will take your house to bits looking for something to do and most likely become resentful, A GSD will often become more protective of his/her domein and you might find yourself unwelcome in your own home. Two dogs? double trouble. They might entertain each other but if thats playing tug of war with your couch the couch will loose. Walking and regualr routine is essential for the dogs you describe one day on one day off isnt an option.

Crates loved by some hated by others are not suitable for leaving an animal in for long periods of time.. end of..

Honestly keep this plan on the back burner. Wait until you have a better lifestyle or smeone around to share the responsibilty with you. Its not all about you.. its about the dog.
 

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Plenty of people work and have dogs. I work and have an Australian Shepherd/Collie mix. He's fine with a good 45 minutes to an hour of one-on-one exercise and/or training a day (he's almost 5, though, it was a bit different when he was younger) and is satisfied to follow us around the house the rest of the day. We also spend extended amounts of time outside on the weekends. I live in the country on 22 acres now, but we used to live in town with a small yard and he was still fine. We also do agility once a week, but we haven't been doing that lately because of the pandemic! He is crated in the house about 8 hours a day. That's about normal for most working dog owners.

The main issue is the length of time the dog would be alone. 10 hours is kind of pushing it, even for a couch potato dog. Every once in a while is okay, sometimes life happens. An adult dog can usually easily hold it that long as long as they are inactive. If you force them to hold it that long 5 days a week, you risk your dog getting UTIs. It's not really good for them. And when the dog gets older, their bladder sometimes gets weaker. More risk of accidents and infections.

That's really the only issue I see with your situation, is the length of time the dog would have to be alone. If you are committed to providing them with suitable exercise everyday, there is no reason an apartment or small yard dweller cannot have a high energy dog. It is certainly harder when you don't have that yard, but it can be done.

Having a second dog is not going to fix your long time away from home issue, so no, not a good idea.

Crates are excellent tools for house training a dog and making sure they don't eat your house. If you get an adult dog, you might not need one. My dog is fully house trained, but sometimes he likes to eat books....so he's crated when we're away. Still, it will not reduce your long time away from home.

And yeah, you're going to find very differing opinions on how long you can leave a dog alone, if they should be crated, etc. 10 hours is a bit too long to force a dog to hold their waste, and the UTIs are proof of that, so no room for opinion there, however. If you can find a way for the dog to take a potty break during the day and can commit to exercising your dog every single day, it's doable.
 

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Another option is to train the dog to relieve itself on an indoor potty tray.

These come in various sizes, usually about 2-4 square feet with artificial grass on a frame with a tray beneath.

Otherwise, expect an accident during the day with a 10 hours between walks.

I had a similar situation. I'd be away at work for about 9-10 hours, sometimes longer. My dog would have a relief during the day, but always in the same location. Fortunately, the floors were tile making clean up a simple 5 minute task. Weekends were devoid of accidents indoors. I did not crate my dog. I also did not expect him to last all day without a relief.

I tried a potty tray. Training was going well until the tray slid on the floor when he stepped on it. After that.....he had nothing to do with it. I should've thought about a rubber pad under it at the beginning. Once it slid......he was done with it. Didn't matter what I tried...he just wouldn't step on it.
 

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Another option is to train the dog to relieve itself on an indoor potty tray.

These come in various sizes, usually about 2-4 square feet with artificial grass on a frame with a tray beneath.

Otherwise, expect an accident during the day with a 10 hours between walks.

I had a similar situation. I'd be away at work for about 9-10 hours, sometimes longer. My dog would have a relief during the day, but always in the same location. Fortunately, the floors were tile making clean up a simple 5 minute task. Weekends were devoid of accidents indoors. I did not crate my dog. I also did not expect him to last all day without a relief.

I tried a potty tray. Training was going well until the tray slid on the floor when he stepped on it. After that.....he had nothing to do with it. I should've thought about a rubber pad under it at the beginning. Once it slid......he was done with it. Didn't matter what I tried...he just wouldn't step on it.
I've also thought of this.
 

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I am on my 4th GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and all 4 I got as puppies and I worked. I left home at 6AM and often did not get home until 5 PM.

As puppies I had a full size regular indoor kennel with a rabbit pan with shavings in it in my bright, dry and well lit basement while I was at work during the day. The instant I got home the first order of business was to get that puppy OUT and reward for pee and poop outside. Then I cleaned the pan and did some training, took a walk, played and so forth. AFTER that, I fed my puppy and myself and any other animals I had.

When the puppy was older and weather was nice I had an outdoor kennel inside a fenced yard. There was plenty of shade, a good dog house, plenty of fresh water and the dog was out in that area days while I was at work. I make no apologies for using an electronic No Bark collar when the dog was over a year old to prevent neighbors from filing noise complaints. The collar prevented nuisance barking and the dog could be outside. The dogs all learned quickly what that collar was about and did not bark and were otherwise healthy and eager to be in the outside kennel. In bad weather they were in the indoor kennel with either shredded newspaper or some shavings in one small area of the kennel.

Of the four dogs TWO had mistakes in the upstairs of the house and BOTH were "pee" mistakes near the door when they were 6 months old or less. I admit I watched them like a hawk and got them out a lot and praised heavily with GOOD food treats for going outside. All of them were/are housebroken with NO issues at all.

I will also add that I train avidly for the sport of IGP (formerly IPO and before that Schutzhund). I had formal training with a club once a week.. twice if I was home.. and daily training of either tracking or obedience every day when not with the club.

I retired recently and while I still use out door kennels at times, and the indoor kennels at times, the dogs are now mostly with me either walking or training (one dog is 10.. not much training there tho she loves a nice woods walk). I still train avidly at least 3 times a week.

The thing you must remember if you work and have a high energy dog is that when you first get home, the dog comes first and you will need to do something stimulating with your dog every day.. more on weekends! You also must put the dog first as far as getting the dog out and meet exercise and training needs before you take care of your own needs. I had no issue with this as I had been a farmer for many years.. animals always got cared for first.
 
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