how long can a gsd be left alone? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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how long can a gsd be left alone?

sorry to be brand new and asking questions im sure have been answered but i searched and couldnt find anything.

long story short, ive been wanting a GSD for the longest time and have been watching the "Urgent" section for anything that pops up in the southeast. ive seen one that i like but before i go out and get her i thought it better to ask and make sure im not putting the dog in a bad situation.

I work nights 6pm-6am and was wondering if that is too long to leave a dog alone even if its sleeping most of the time. the good thing is that its not every day but 2 days where itd be alone all night and the next 2 id be there all day and night.

sorry if this is in the wrong section.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:01 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Although it is not ideal, an adult dog can go for 12 hours. Is there any way you could come home for a quick stop to let the dog out? Or hire someone to come let the dog out around 9pm or so?

Carolina Johnson

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

assuming its a slow night I might be able to make it around to let it out but thats not a guarantee (im a law enforcement officer so getting free time to do that really depends on how busy the bad guys are). I might also be able to find someone on the other shift to help out but again, no guarentees, so im going with a worst case scenario here.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:12 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Also, it depends on the dog. Bear has no problem being left alone for long periods of time. We've never gone 12 hours though. However, in a LOT of ways I think Bear is more of an exception more than the rule when it comes to GSD's.
Let me just give you some examples:
1. He does not require a lot of exercise, nor doe she seem to care if he gets it. He enjoys it when it happens (Which is every day), but he doesn't get upset if it doesn't (Which has happened two or three times.) As long as he's with us, he's happy.
2. Bear does not stay in a crate. Ever. He is older and simply doesn't need to. We tested the water a few times for short periods befor eleaving him alone, and with the exception of a few isolated incidents (The first time ever he messed up the blinds pawing at the window, and he had an accident on the floor once during a horrible thunderstorm, which he's terrified of) he has not messed anything up. I think for the amount of time you're talking the dog will probably need a crate. At least at first.
3. Bear does not get "excited". I have two kids, 9 and 5, and they can be bouncing off the walls and he takes it all in stride. Doesn't get "revved up" unless we specifically play with him and get him excited.

I think if you look at the majority of GSD's, these are not characteristics you expect. Bear is older, but he's NOT a senior yet I guess (5.5) so its unusual. You have to really be prepared for the dog's temperment, especially from rescue, to not necessarily be what you thought. IN fact, I'm convinced that Bear didn't show us his "true" personality until he'd been with us a month. I think he wanted to make sure we were going to be around for awhile or why bother?

Not trying to discourage you. They are the BEST dogs in the world, but you need to be prepared.

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All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:33 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

I don't have anything different to add regarding the "hours alone" issue, but wanted to encourage you to consider a rescue organization in addition to looking at dogs in shelters. Almost all rescues utilize foster homes and will have a better sense of the dog's schedule and personality. Just about all of us work too, so you'd know what the dog was used to in terms of time alone.

My current foster could handle the 12 hours, my last could have never made it that long. Both are adult dogs so they are both physically mature enough to "hold it" but Doc just had a shorter tolerance. Luckily, I was laid-off the entire 7 months we fostered him so it worked out!

DrDoom raises some good points about schedules above and beyond the dog's elimination needs. Our rescue takes owner surrenders and dogs from shelters and I agree, it takes a while for them to get past the shell-shock and show their real personality.

Jill
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:33 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Where in the southeast are you located. Maybe one of the local rescues could help you find a mature GSD that is right for you and your lifestyle.

I would recommend that you try to find a friend, co-worker, or neighbor that can let your future dog out on the nights that you have to work 12 hour shifts. I will say that from time to time, I have left my dog for 12 hours due to my work schedule, but it is not something I would recommend to make a habit of. One of my dogs got a bladder infection, because she would not go to the bathroom in the house and I was working long hours during tax season at the time.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:49 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Would you be able to have a secure kennel for the dog? 12 hours left in the house or a crate is do-able for many adult dogs, but is really pushing the envelope and certainly not ideal. Especially not on a regular basis.

A kennel would solve the problem as that way the dog isn't forced to "hold it" and can have access to food and water and go potty as needed when you're gone.


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:56 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

i see that you'd only be doing this schedule 2 nights on and 2 off? If you have a friend or close neighbor that you trust enough, ask them to help you out on those days that you're working a 12 hour shift. and like you said, if the bad guys arent out and about, you may be able to stop in and let the dog out. It really depends on the dog that you get like some of the others have said. A puppy defintaley couldnt go that long, but an older (and by older i mean somewhere around 3-7ish) should be able to hold it for that long, although its not good to do all the time. My 2 GSD's, like Dr.Doom's dogs, could go 12 hours just being couch potatoes sleeping the day away. But they also get plenty of excersise throughout the week. we go on a 2mile walk every morning before work.

Ailyn, Mommy to:

Mya - 3 year old GSD
Bear - 1 year old GSD
Abby - 3 year old ACD/shep mix
Teddy - 2 year old amer. pit bull

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: jazy's momWhere in the southeast are you located. Maybe one of the local rescues could help you find a mature GSD that is right for you and your lifestyle.

I would recommend that you try to find a friend, co-worker, or neighbor that can let your future dog out on the nights that you have to work 12 hour shifts. I will say that from time to time, I have left my dog for 12 hours due to my work schedule, but it is not something I would recommend to make a habit of. One of my dogs got a bladder infection, because she would not go to the bathroom in the house and I was working long hours during tax season at the time.
im in FL and i know of the one close to where i live in wildwood.

http://www.gsrfl.com/
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 02:04 PM
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Re: how long can a gsd be left alone?

Considering not only time at work but commute time, that is a long time for the dog to 'hold it'. If you can get someone to let it relieve itself at some point, you can leave your dog alone for 12 or so hrs. but you will both be much happier if you exercise and mentally stimulate the dog prior to leaving it alone and when you return.

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