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First-time poster here considering a first dog/puppy. I want to run a few things by some experienced dog owners and more social people, see what you think.

1) I'm a truck driver for refrigerated company meaning long days but -generally- daylight hours. I live in the truck, no regularly-used residence. Seems that might adversely affect a puppy but not a mature dog so much. Is that right?

2) Loneliness is the main reason I'm considering life with a dog(lots of people but they come and go). I want to want a life with a dog but is that enough? What kind of comitment do I make aside from the span of years and a decent chunk of income?

3) I'm single. Good/bad for a dog/puppy?

4) What training should I do to myself before getting a dog? There's plenty of info up here (and thanks for it) but how about some self-imposed practices/routines?

Open to any random thoughts too.
 

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1) If you can provide a secure, climate-controlled living space for the dog in your truck, then I see no reason why an adult dog would have any issues. There are plenty of truckers that have dogs. You will need to provide enough exercise for him which could take a little planning if you are often changing locations (are you local or over-the-road?) but walking a dog is a nice mental break for you and healthy too.

2) Time. A dog is like a child in many ways as far as the responsibility goes. If you want to go out to dinner, on a date, away to friends etc you have to plan ahead and have a safe location for the dog and consider how many hours you will be gone. Think about your daily routine and picture that you can't leave an adult dog alone for more than about 9 hours and that while you are gone, he needs to be someplace not too hot, not too cold and safe (locked, no dangerous chemicals or items within reach etc). In return for all that time and effort though, you will get a loyal companion

3) Not a big deal if you can meet the dog's needs. Lots of single people have dogs. I do think you want to be looking for a dog over 1 year of age though, potty training and general training of a puppy takes a LOT of time and effort and long days in a truck would make that very tough. There are tons of great dogs aged about 1-3 years in rescues and shelters, you could look for one in a foster home that has already had basic training (housebroken, crate trained, sit/stay/come, walk on a leash) and that way you have some info on the dog's personality too.

4) If you are not in-shape enough to go on an hour's walk (about 3 miles) then start exercising. Almost any dog breed will need at least 1 hour per day of walking and almost any dog will enjoy more walking on a nice day if given the opportunity.
 

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Some rescue organizations will help match you to a dog. A senior dog would be very grateful, would not need lots of exercise, and would already have some training. An adult dog would be good, also. Can't suggest a general set of breeds without a little more info.
 

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Definitely get an adult dog from a rescue or shelter. You need a dog that's already house trained and has a super friendly, stable, calm temperament. A puppy would be a nightmare in your situation. My dog, Kabota, would be perfect for you. He's a beagle mix from a rescue.
 

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The absolute downside to going through a rescue/shelter and getting an older dog is the noise. I don't know if you've ever been around a tractor trailer but they make a TON of noise and they can be VERY scary for dogs especially ones who are not acclimated to loud noises or are noise sensitive. While getting a senior dog would be a GREAT idea - it very well could be an awful idea for someone who actually lives in their truck on a day to day basis.

My father is both a local and OTR (primarily OTR) driver he doesn't bring the dog with him but she has gone in the truck a few times (all locally). I know several people he works with who take their dogs with them. The difference there is that these dogs have been acclimated to truck life from the time they were very small puppies so the loud noises and other noises of trucks don't bother them. (trailers, air brakes, air bags filling and releasing, sliding fifth wheels, there are also different buzzers within the cab that go off for various things, and hooking up to and dropping trailers are ALL very loud and obnoxious and VERY scary to animals and can all be heard in the cab of the truck. That doesn't include forklifts or jacks used within the trailer itself to move freight and make the ENTIRE truck shift/move/shake/buck. All of these things are extremely loud noises)

The downside to a puppy is they have a tendency to get motion/car sick a lot. It's usually something they grow out but some don't. A puppy will also mean that you'll have to stop more frequently to let him/her go potty which could make you late for your deliveries so you would have to add in potty breaks to your time between point A and B. As a puppy grows and becomes more active you'll also have to dedicate probably an hour or two to exercise of some sort a day. Some exercise could be done while you're getting unloaded/loaded - be it playing in the lot of the company you're at or going for a walk while you wait.

Truck drivers eat at a bunch of fast food places - but you might also have to forgo those trips to the TA's and other truck stop diners while you have a puppy. It's not advisable to leave a young dog alone in a truck so you might have to live off Mcdonalds or BK or get food to go until your puppy is a bit older (if you get a puppy). Things like that could be avoided with a young adult/adult dog. Another plus to a dog is they make great early warning systems if trained properly to alert you when someone/something is approaching the cab and are a great deterrence.

Training probably wouldn't be THAT hard - as you could do that during your mandatory 10 hour breaks, loading/unloading and your "weekends" you have to take. It's actually probably very manageable.

You'd also have to consider veterinary care and how you would provide that on the road. What if an emergency pops up - you'll have to find a vet in whatever city or town you are in at the time.
 

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I'd look for a dog between about 2 and 5yo. You could go older if you want, but your time with the dog will be more limited. You definitely want a dog that is housetrained and does not have noise phobia. You'll want to discuss those things with the shelter/rescue before committing to that dog.
 

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Some rescue organizations will help match you to a dog. A senior dog would be very grateful, would not need lots of exercise, and would already have some training. An adult dog would be good, also. Can't suggest a general set of breeds without a little more info.
A senior dog would be great, but keep in mind size. If the dog is arthritic it might have issues moving around in the truck, especially if it is larger. Actually, a larger dog wouldn't be the best way to go (though I did see a Husky in a truck once!)
I knew someone who had a teacup poodle living in a truck with him...and occasionally a co driver (kinda funny to see a big tough lookin trucker carrying around a teacup poodle, but hey, he LOVED that dog).
One thing I could see being a real issue with a senior dog is getting it used to the truck, could be a tough adjustment.
 

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A senior dog would be great, but keep in mind size. If the dog is arthritic it might have issues moving around in the truck, especially if it is larger. Actually, a larger dog wouldn't be the best way to go (though I did see a Husky in a truck once!)
I knew someone who had a teacup poodle living in a truck with him...and occasionally a co driver (kinda funny to see a big tough lookin trucker carrying around a teacup poodle, but hey, he LOVED that dog).
One thing I could see being a real issue with a senior dog is getting it used to the truck, could be a tough adjustment.
A man my father works with takes his Siberian in his truck every day - unless he goes to a place where they don't allow dogs (hazardous waste facilities sometimes won't allow animals). Tonka climbs out of the truck on his own. Another man (a much larger man) has a very small (but overweight!) chihuahua that goes with him in the truck. I've seen very large dogs that live comfortably in trucks.

I think many of you are underestimating the size of the cabs and how much moving a dog actually dogs in a truck. lol. Many trucks have bunk beds that a dog will lay on, and most are very happy to just sit in the front seat and look out the window or lay on the floor between the seats or by the bunk. If the driver doesn't have an overnight cab (truck with a bunk, but I"m sure this one does since he said he basically lives in the truck) many drivers will take out the passenger seats and build a base to put the dogs bed on (the man with a husky did this for Tonka).

Some drivers, who are the road for 6,8 or even 10 months a year that NEVER go home have extremely lavish trucks that cost as much if not more than some extremely nice houses. These trucks have sinks, washers and dryers, microwaves and refrigerators, showers, some even have king sized beds!

I also think you underestimate how much time drivers have. EVERY driver has to take a mandatory 10 hour break for every 14 hours they drive. They also have to take a mandatory weekend or "two days" off every 5 days (that's what they have to show in their logs). There can also be times where they have to wait to be unloaded or loaded which can be an hour or several hours.

Truck drivers are not constantly driving and hopped on things that keep them awake anymore lol.
 

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Actually, I was just given a perfect example.

My father has to go to New York City all this week and for the next probably month delivering wide loads (building panels). When delivering a wide load into New York they have to close down the bridges to allow the trucks to get across and the ONLY time they do this at 8:30 every night. My father will have to leave here, go to New York - sit until 830 when they let him across and then spend the ENTIRE night in the city in his truck until they hang the panels. He'll then come home the next day, pick up another trailer and do the same thing. He's spending AT LEAST 12 hours sitting. He'll be doing this every day for a month or longer.

Now that's not an all of the time occurrence but I think it will also give some of you a bit better idea as to some of the things a truck driver encounters.
 

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You're right on the time truckers have Niraya! Not saying they don't work long and hard, but the enforced hours gives some decent time. My ex was a trucker, I remember him getting laid over waiting for a load for sometimes up to a week! Having a dog in a truck is great too, it gives some motivation to get out and walk on those off hours. I'm pretty familiar with the size of truck cabs, some are HUGE! Heck, my bedroom is smaller than the inside of some of those cabs...when I think senior dog though, I think of the neighbour's.....120lbs or more and can barely walk, wouldn't be a good truck dog, despite being such a sweetie.

Something to consider Hasmatt is whether you own your own truck....if not are you sure the company you work for is ok with a dog in the truck, and those you deliver to? As for teaching yourself, the resources on here that you've seen are the best start, but if you're not used to going for walks, you might want to start before you even get a dog....not sure how good or bad shape you are in, but getting your legs ready for the walking can't hurt (don't forget to stretch, especially after all of that sitting!). Maybe check your logbook/delivery time requirements to see if you can fit a couple of longer breaks in there for short walks and pee breaks for the dog. If you have a regular route you'll have a major advantage there! Maybe even scout some good spots for walks and breaks. Be prepared, your first couple of weeks with a dog (maybe more!) could be pretty rough. You might want to cover EVERYTHING in non-absorbant materials. You might also want to check around the towns you often drive through and get lists of vets and kennels in the area in case of emergencies, or perhaps destinations where you can't take your pooch. Do you cross the border at all? You'll need paperwork for that from a vet, so if you're getting a dog and hitting the road right away, be prepared for that requirement! I'm guessing you've already planned out where you'll put food and water bowls? Don't forget where you'll store your stock of dog food!
I really wish you luck in finding a perfect canine "driving partner". Let us know how it goes!!
 

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Thanks, GS :p! I guess I just think everyone already knows these things and I tend to forget or just not realize that truck driving isn't all that common to most people. Being raised in a truck driving family and having been around trucks since I was a baby I just assume it's normal. So when people say things that are the complete opposite I'm just like "whoa! These things are common sense!" but I guess only for me lol. I apologize for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, that's a lot of great stuff. Never would have thought about the noise especially. I'm in a Volvo so it's not too bad but the refer still vibrates.

Car sickness is something I missed too.

Pretty sure the internet will provide listings for vets in various populated areas. Can't imagine using a kennel unless I went on a plane or something, when should I keep a kennel in mind?

I can definitely walk 20 X 3 minutes a day. The only problem areas are major cities, elsewhere I can just pull off on patches near "wilderness."

The company will okay it (most liekly), this heap is 800k miles old.

The area I run is consistent but the times are not so that will be a challenge.

Thought about puting his/her bed in a nook beneath mine but the passenger seat/floor is a better idea. Never a good idea to sleep underneath where I walk around.

Here's one, do pets have a problem with altitude changes over mountain ranges and barometric(i think that's the right word) pressures or allergies?
 

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Volvo's are the more quiet trucks, at least what I've been around! My dad is a freightliner man, so that's all he'll drive. He has a Classic XL right now and it makes a ton of noise lol.

When stopping off along "wilderness" areas - something to keep in mind is you will NEED flea and tick preventative. And every time you have the dog out be sure to ALWAYS check him/her for ticks!

The kennel thing - it's a good thing to acclimate the dog to a kennel just because. If something should happen a kennel is a safe spot. If for whatever reason you have to leave your dog with family or friends for any amount of time - the dog will have a safe place to go and will be used to it. If you have to maybe board the dog somewhere - the dog is used to the kennel and won't hurt itself. Sometimes dogs just like having their own place - even if you never "use" the kennel for anything it's always a very useful tool to have around.

I doubt the the time changes will be of much, if any concern. A puppy will spend the majority of it's time sleeping - as it gets older it will need more exercise and stimulation but they fall into routines very quickly when they are consistent.

Could just let the dog sleep in the bunk with you, also :p. It doesn't have to have a specific "bed" unless you don't want him/her in the bed with you.

I'm not really sure about the altitude changes. I imagine it would be something similar to what we experience but I don't truthfully know. I've never heard of any dogs having any abnormal problems in the trucks going through mountains and valleys.

Dogs are also just as capable of allergies as people are it will be something you have to watch for.
 

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Could it be possible to bring the truck to the rescue and test potential adoptees on how they react to the noises? Might be a terrible idea, but it's a thought! My mom almost acquired a Doberman to take with her on her truck when she drove, but it fell through and she ended up taking her cat instead.
 

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<snip>
I'm not really sure about the altitude changes. I imagine it would be something similar to what we experience but I don't truthfully know. I've never heard of any dogs having any abnormal problems in the trucks going through mountains and valleys.

Dogs are also just as capable of allergies as people are it will be something you have to watch for.
I just drove, with my rottie and travel-trailer, from SC to California over Arizona and back to SC with a stop over a few days at 9,200 feet altitude in Colorado. I had more problems with the altitude than my dog, which might have been a good thing since it kept me from over working her. The drive itself worked amazingly well ... but ...
she lives in SC and didn't know you could go to the bathroom unless there's grass
she is a working dog and needs a LOT of exercise, both mental and physical, and I had to take some extra time every 3rd day to really work her mentally. (I found a place to put out a track and she was fine for two days again. LOL)
It was THE BEST to have my rottie ... I was never nervous or scared no matter what neighborhood I was in and we had and awesome trip.
 
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