How long can a 1-2 year old GSD be left alone in the house?
Hello everyone! I couldn't really find the answer that i was looking for so I was hoping you guys will help me out. My family and I are considering adopting a 1-2 year old German Shepherd and I am wondering if my schedule would work with our new dog.
I currently go to school from roughly 7:30 - 3:30, but also have baseball practice coming up later this spring. (normally i would come home then at about 5:00 PM) My mother comes home at about 6-7PM depending on traffic.
So thats about a 9 hour gap when the dog will be home alone. He is house trained and I am also considering crate training him if I need to.
I will be able to give him the daily exercise the dog needs though.
If this 100% will NOT work with my families schedule then if you want, please leave a suggestion on another medium sized dog that would fit us better.
-HUGE Thanks to anyone who gives us feedback
-Sorry if this thread is in the wrong section
I never leave Elly May in the house alone for more than a hour or two.
If I had to leave her alone longer than that, I'd put her outside in the (apx 50 X 50) yard...but the occasion has never come up.
With a adopted dog things might be a little different.
It really depends on the dog, more than the breed.
There is a big difference between a 1 year old high drive WL GSD, and a 2 year old low drive SL.
Some dogs have more of an off switch than others.
Could you work in a nice brisk walk and some play time, followed by time to settle before you leave for work? These would both help.
Any chance you could get home at lunch, or before practice to let the dog out? Any break through the day will help. Maybe a family member that could break the dog?
I would highly suggest crate training, as it will keep your dog, and your stuff, safe while you are gone.
Things to keep the dog busy will help. Buster cube, frozen Kong full of peanut butter... stuff like that.
My dogs do fine at home for 9-10 hours at a time, but they have all their physical and mental needs satisfied through exercise, training and play. One was never crated, because he was 4 when we got him, terrified of his crate, and completely trustworthy in the house. The other was crated for the first year, until he was 3 and more mature.
I guess we will have to see when we adopt him. If worst comes to worst then i'll just have to call my uncle to let him out of the house and have him run around in the backyard.
Once I get home I'll give him all the exercise he needs in order to be happy.
Also, thanks for the advice on crate training! I think it would be the best option for the dog right now. Until he becomes more trustworthy and mature to be able to roam the house alone.
Since most of us work and commute, it's common to have the older dogs in the house for 9 to 10 hours once they are used to it. Crates are a huge help initially.
For me, it's not about the 9 or so hours I'm gone. It's about what I do WITH the dog when I hit the house. If it's got to be let him out and then go on with my night and not dealing with him, I may be in trouble pretty soon.
If instead I have an active PLAN to include him in walks, dog classes, exercising, car rides, visiting friend/their dogs, then my pup is set up to succeed and do well down the line.
Have to remember a dog isn't a fish to just feed and look at. I need to do things WITH them and make plans to include them to be a part of my houselife.
Depending on the individual dog and your commitment level, I think it would be fine. As long as it's a dog with a fairly compatible temperament and you are committed to giving it the attention and physical and mental exercise it needs I think you two could be perfectly happy. I think you'll find that a lot of people, including myself, have to leave their dogs alone for extended periods and do just fine.
I made this long, trying to be helpful, but for the short version just reread David Winner's and MaggieRoseLee's posts, I agree with both of them wholeheartedly :)
First, I would definitely try to learn as much about the dog itself and its existing routine if possible before committing to adopting it. How long does it's current owner/foster leave it alone for? Do they crate the dog while gone or what do they do with it? If they don't leave it alone for long periods(more than 4 hours or so) does the dog need constant stimulation through the day or does it have an 'off-switch' where it could chill out for a good amount of time? I'm not sure if you already have a specific dog in mind or were just mentioning the age range you're interested in, but picking out a compatible dog would be best.
- If you would be willing and able to get up early on school days to take the dog out for a walk to get some exercise before you leave that would probably be a big help in keeping him/her content with being left alone and to me personally it always wakes me up and gets me ready to start the rest of the day.
- Would it be possible for you/your mom or someone else to let the dog out sometimes during the day while your gone? I understand that's not likely to be feasible on a daily basis without hiring a sitter(and unless school kids are making better money than I ever did in school I wouldn't really expect that haha) but would you at least have someone you could call if needed that could let the dog out if on some occasion you were significantly delayed getting home for whatever reason?
- Until the dog has earned trust, I would recommend crating for, as David Winners already said, the safety or the dog and your stuff. A 1-2yr old shepherd is still a young dog with a lot of puppy left in them, and they could wreak absolute havoc in 8hrs time.
I'm not sure how old you are, and this is not to deter you at all just meant as a friendly caution from someone not too far off from you, I did want to ask that you thoroughly think through getting a dog and your future with the dog. Hopefully adopting a 1-2yr old you'd have 10-12 years to spend with that dog and, guessing that you're probably already in your teens, you'll probably be going through some major lifestyle changes in that time. If it's going to be your dog, please consider what's going to happen when you move out, if you go to college, etc.
I'm in my early 20s now and while I'd never say I regretted getting any of my dogs, they sure made things A LOT harder on me when I first moved out of my parents home. Trying to find someone to rent to an 18yr old with a large dog, let alone two, was extremely difficult even living in a dog-friendly city, some areas it may be impossible to find decent priced housing that allows large dogs. Straight out of highschool I wasn't making much money and balancing bills that I never really had to really consider before(rent, car payment, utilities, etc.) while paying for my dog's food, vetting, and general care costs was a serious strain on the wallet - my dogs never missed a meal but you can bet I did. I took scattered college courses to fit my schedule and budget, but what will happen if you plan to go off to college? Most dorms don't allow any pets at all. If needed, will your mom be supportive and help with the dog?
I'm in a much more stable place now as far as housing, finances, and maturity so it's non-issue these days, but looking back I think I would've wished I had waited until I was already in this stable spot before ever getting a dog.
Please do think carefully about it.
As for the OP question. It does depend in the dog. I would crate train, and initially have some one come over and let the dog out midday. Then slowly increase the time between breaks. Then start by leaving the dog out of the crate for the first half of the day then back in the crate after midday let out, then increase that time.
A healthy adult dog should be fine for 9 hours a day. As long as their physical and mental needs are met when you are home.
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It really depends on the dog. We left our 6 month old GSD and 6 and 7 year old mixed breeds alone for about 5 hours. Other than the GSD having an accident by the back door nothing was destroyed. I would not leave the new GSD puppy alone for even 30 minutes. He would need to be crated. He is high energy/drive and gets into everything!
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