Leaving my lab alone while I’m at work - help!

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by Ryan Benedict, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Ryan Benedict

    Ryan Benedict Registered Users

    Jul 25, 2020
    Hi there - I really want to get a lab (I had one growing up and love them) but I live alone and work at an office all day. I also sometimes travel overnight. I can afford to have someone walk him/her for an hour a day but I’m concerned that my 8 hour weekday absence will be tough on my lab. I can spend a couple of hours in the morning and evening with him/her. And I can occasionally afford doggy care during the day. Any advice? Some articles suggest getting another dog entirely. Other sites say dogs adjust. Help! Thank you!
  2. sarah@forumHQ

    sarah@forumHQ Moderator

    Oct 1, 2018
    Hi Ryan,

    Take a look at these articles on our main site, they might help with your decision making:

    How long can you leave a Lab alone

    Advice on raising a puppy when you work full time

    Honestly, unless you have a LOT of resources for dog walkers and day care, then it's very unfair on a puppy to leave them home alone for 8 hours a day. And the long term effect it will have have on their behavior will make you both miserable.

    That doesn't mean it will never be the right time for you to get a dog, but perhaps the time is not yet. I can relate to how frustrating this is though - I've been there myself!

    Maybe in the meantime you could volunteer as a dog walker for a local shelter, an elderly person in your community, or through a dog walking website?

    And I hope you get to enjoy a dog of your own one day :)
    Edp likes this.
  3. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Aug 25, 2018
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    I'd quite like to own an elephant and a monkey but fortunately it is very difficult to do this, because the life that I would give them would be awful and nothing like one which would meet their needs.

    Sadly there are no such difficulties in obtaining dogs, even when people live in very unsuitable circumstances - and it's the dogs which suffer. They develop all kinds of behaviour problems as a result, many of them permanent, and they end up in shelters...

    Please try to channel your interest in dogs into more productive outlets. Perhaps there is a shelter near you, where you can help out at the weekends or walk their dogs? Perhaps you can spend time now studying canine behaviour and training so that when your life works out differently in the future and you have more time, you will be ready and know how to train...

    And if you decide to overlook all this... at the very least your dog will need daily daycare - you'll need to be affording that more than 'occasionally'. Daycare where I live can run to about $450/month if it's 5 days a week, which is a huge amount.....
  4. ELLE

    ELLE Registered Users

    Aug 4, 2020
    I actually don't have a pure lab. I have a 1 year and 2 month old petite double doodle and I am new to this forum. My dog is actually a mix of labradoodle-goldendoodle-mini poodle.

    I used to put my Willow in her crate for a nap at 10am in the morning and she would sleep there happily for 2-3 hours (that is often when I would try to schedule any appointments, and had to leave her home alone). She would have a second nap in her crate at 3:30 -5:00pm inside her crate as well. During both naps, the crate door would be closed and she never minded that. She loved her crate which was situated in mine and my husband's bedroom. During her naps, we also got her used to our bedroom door being closed too in order to minimize her anxiety right down to zero (because she hated being away from us. When the bedroom door was closed and her crate was closed, we would wait for her to fall asleep for her nap and then sneak out quietly and slowly to our appointment or grocery shopping etc...)

    At all other times, at least one of us was always home with her and she would be running and playing all over the house. During these times we would have training sessions or play times, often, throughout the day. This arrangement worked extremely well for us and for her.

    However, when the covid lockdown happened, we were all home with her daily. At first we were able to keep the nap times in her crate, but as time went on, this became tougher and tougher. My parents are elderly and both quite ill. My huaband also broke his foot in 4 places and for the past 6 months, has been either in a cast or in rehab and physio so was unable to keep up with putting Willow in the crate for her naps, during the times when I had to go help my parents for a few hours each day. Also, my daughter has some health issues and has been remote learning from home (due to covid) so has tons of school work and is in her room for a good portion of the day. She did her best to help out with crating Willow for naps but was not able to strictly stick to Willow's nap schedule all the time.

    Now, due to all this, Willow has had to have most, or even all, of her naps out of her crate and in the family room near my husband on the couch or on the floor. We have a bed for her in the family room as well but she hardly uses it and prefers to sleep on the couch or on the floor by my husband who is on the couch. Now we need to get Willow back into the crate for her naps because our old routine (before covid) may be somewhat resuming in September. So, we are trying to get her used to havithe her naps in the crate because she has a great deal of anxiety if we leave the house when she is awake and out of her crate. As I mentioned earlier, we used to put her in the crate, close the door, and close our bedroom door and wait for her to fall asleep, then sneak out quietly for a couple of hours. We usually returned before she woke from her nap or while she was in the process of waking up.

    Once we came inside we always went straight to our bedroom and let her out to potty, play, etc... However, we have researched a lot and tried all suggestions that have been offered including giving her a frozen treat filled kong or treat filled towel to occupy her and then hopefully she would relax and fall asleep but no such luck! She cries and barks after she finishes her treat and wants to be let out. We tried ignoring her but she is relentless. We tried playing a lot and taking her for a long walk before her nap to tire her out, as well as taking her to potty. However, when we get back, although she is obviously exhausted and ready to drop, she still refuses to fall asleep in her crate. She barks and cries a lot and won't let up. We tried going in to give her a treat and quiet praise every time she is quiet but that didn't work either. Yet, when we let her out, she falls asleep on the family room floor close, to where one of us is sitting.
    She sleeps in her crate nightly and through the night, thank God, with no problem at all and has been sleeping in her crate at night ever since she was 8 weeks old. However, ever since we began trying to train her to have her naps in her crate again, she has been slightly reluctant to get into her crate for her nighttime sleep. Whenever she senses that we are near the crate door at all, while she is in there to get her toy , for example, she quickly runs out of there assuming we were coming to close her in....but that was not at all what we were doing at that time. We have never tricked her to go in there and shut the door without her knowing and being calm.

    She used to love her crate so much before covid and before we tried to get heto back into the routine of having her naps in there again. But now she is only willing to sleep there during the night and is mostly willing to be in there for a couple of minutes during the day to eat her meals or play a game of "find the treats in your bed" and munch on treats in a towel or kong and only with the crate door open. That's what I have been doing for a couple of days to regain her trust because I never want her to feel like she is trapped in there but rather, for her to always feel like it is her safe and happy place to relax.

    Can anyone please offer any advice on how we can get Willow back to having her naps in her closed crate, alone, in our bedroom? Please keep in mind that we found this was the happiest and best way to greatly reduce her anxiety when we have to leave her alone for a couple of hours a few times a week. Also, I forgot to mention that we tried daycare but she did not adjust well there and we don't have anyone who can help watch her during the times that we need to go out. Thank you.
  5. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

    Feb 8, 2016
    Portland, Oregon & Mt Hood Oregon
    Our dogs have always had the run of the house all the time, and with a dog door, access to our fenced back yard so they could go out if they needed/wanted to. Most of the time at least one of us was working from home though we occasionally would be gone 8-10 hrs. That really did not bother the dog(s) but we were home most of the time.

    Now we also dogsit one of our friends dogs almost every day. She does not have a fenced yard yet, and even if she did, she would probably not want to leave her dog with access to the yard. hHe sometimes barks at other dogs, and also she has deer in her yard much of the time. We don't charge for sitting Lokie, and having him here gives Cooper something to do some times. Most of the day they sleep, but occasionally play together.

    You might look around for a friend who would do doggie daycare for you. They would have to be pretty good friends.;)

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