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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there!

My husband and I just got out first puppy together. We've had dogs as kids, but this is our first pup we are raising on our own. We've wanted a pup for a long time, and we finally got our little Brussels Griffon (Marty) two days ago. He's 2 months old.

So far, here are the good things:

  • He's only had 2 accidents inside in the past 3 days, both times we've caught him and immediately rushed him outside
  • He sleeps in his crate all night (he does whine about every 2 hours, we take him out to pee, but we don't give him any other attention to the whining - once he's back in his crate he whines for a couple of minutes and we just talk to him "it's okay Marty, go to sleep" and he will go back to bed
  • He eats most of his breakfast and dinner (sometimes he leaves some in the bowl, tough it's only been 2 days and he might still be getting used to us and his eating times (6:45 breakfast, when his breeder fed him and 6:45 dinner, only about 30 minutes later than when his breeder was feeding him dinner)
  • He's playful and active! Then he'll pass out and go back to sleep.
Here are the big questions we have:

  • My husband usually works from home, or sometimes he works remotely having meetings across NYC spread out every couple of hours, therefore he'll be able to crate Marty and come home to let him out to potty and play every couple of hours when he does go out, which I think will work out great for Marty, especially when he's still a puppy.
  • There are days where my husband has to go to his work office, about once a week, leaving and returning at about the same times I do.
  • I leave to work at 8 and don't get home until 6:30. I have a one hour lunch break that I could use to travel home to let Marty out to potty and play briefly (only about 10 minutes spent with him, because I have to include transit time) I know leaving him home all day would be disastrous, which is why I'm willing to use my lunch time to travel.
  • We live in a studio apartment, so room is tight to add a puppy play-pen. I mean it's basically a dorm room in there. He doesn't seem to mind the space now and runs around the carpet and towards the kitchen. Once he's old enough to go for walks and has gotten all his shots, we'll be walking him all the time.
  • This being said, we can't hire a dog walker on those days yet either since he hasn't gotten all his shots as well.
  • I'm scared to leave him alone for the one day a week that my husband and I will be at work. I know so many people have dogs and do this, so I know it is capable, I'm just a super anxious person. Will he cry the whole time and make our neighbors hate us? Will he have physiological effects later in life from being left alone for about 5 hours? I know he's going to have an accident in that time frame while he's still a puppy, so we're going to leave a blanket only on one side of his crate in hopes he goes on the plastic part. Will this ruin his potty training outside?
I mean, the thoughts of this have been running through my head since before we got him and have worsened now that we got him. I keep telling myself people leave puppies all the time and there's worse pet-parents than we are who wouldn't even care this much, but I'm so nervous I literally haven't eaten more than a handful in the past 3 days. I don't sleep at night, even when Marty isn't crying, and I've had my own breakdowns of crying at least twice now. I love dogs, and I only want the best for him, but I'm driving myself insane.

Does anyone have any advice for us? Mostly me because I am a wreck just thinking about this.

Sincerely,

An anxious, concerned, pet parent
 

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I have always had to work all day and worked with a long commute and left my puppy alone all day and it has not been a disaster. HOWEVER, I had my own house and a basement area with a concrete floor so I could set up a puppy pen with an attached crate. I put a pan in the pen area with wood shaving in it (you could also use shredded paper) and the puppy used that as a potty area.

Your puppy needs to learn about being left alone and how to be quiet NOW and not later. It is best to imprint this routine on his brain sooner than later as they learn so much before turning 16 weeks old.

I would try to find a way to set up a pen as noted above on a hard floor (such as in the kitchen) (they make foldable X Pens). I would set up a pan for pee/poop as noted about. I would take a Kong type toy, fill it with plain low fat yogurt and freeze it and give that to the puppy before leaving him alone so he has something to do. Also leave a couple of safe, washable toys with him. (Get lots of toys but only give him 2 or 3 each day and then change them so he has New Toys each day).

I go to work daily. I have 3 dogs. Two are in outdoor Kennels and one is in an indoor Kennel. There is no one to take them out. They are fine. I get home and they are my first priority to get out etc.

Someone has to earn the money to pay for the dog food and the roof over us all!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much @3GSD4IPO
I definitely know it’s do-able, not everyone has the luxury of a work from home job, and just because you have to leave your dog alone doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet parent.
Unfortunately we have a really small apartment that I’m not too sure if a play pen would really fit, but we’ll look into it for sure.
Really the barking/whining is what scares me for our neighbors complaining or him getting so stressed out he hurts himself.
 

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I know what it's like to have anxiety so I definately feel for you. If your main concerns are annoying the neighbours and traumatizing him, start practicing. Leave him alone for short periods, even listening outside the door. Come back in when he is quiet so he is rewarded for being calm by your presence. Take it in baby steps. You can do this! Make sure he has something to do like the Kong mentioned above. If you want him to have room to pee, try a baby gate on your kitchen or bathroom (not a closed door and making sure cleaning supplies etc are safe.) usually it is recommended that crates are only big enough for comfortably laying down and turning around to deter accidents, but if he is too young to hold it, and you obviously want him to be comfortable, start training to puppy pads. Take a deep breath. It's all about preparation step by step, little by little. Ask him to do time alone at home in durations you know he can succeed at first, before pushing him a little. I'm hoping your husband's mobile work is far enough in the future to do some preparation. If not, everyone will survive. As long as he is contained safely and no accidents are foreseeable, it won't be the end of the world. In the meantime, take care of yourself! If you are stressed he will be stressed so do it for him if not for you.
 
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