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I will be picking up my GSD puppy (female) on Tuesday (she'll be seven weeks old). I'm either going to name her Izzy or Kylie...not sure yet. Anyhow, I am a teacher, and for the next two months, she will be heavily supervised (gotta love summer vacation). However, once school starts, she will be alone for approximately ten hours per day, Monday through Friday. So, when school begins, she will be about three and a half months old. I have a backyard with detached garage (w/privacy fence).

My original plan was to keep her outside in the backyard when I was at work, leaving a door to the garage open in case it rains, etc. My backyard has two giant trees, so shade will not be a problem.

So here are my questions:

1) At 3.5 months, do you think being left in the backyard for ten hours per day (this includes commute) is too long? I have a 48" crate, but think ten hours is way too long for a dog to be sitting in a crate.

2) While I am at work, during an Indiana winter, would it be ok to leave her in the detached garage with the door open or closed? A part of me thinks having it open would be good so she can go outside if she wishes, but at the same time, I don't want her to get too cold. She will be about seven months old when it gets cold.

3) Aside from a doggy daycare/dogwalker, what would you guys recommend? Any tips to make it more bearable?

Thanks
 

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#1 - Leaving a 3.5 month old outside, unsupervised for 10 hours is NOT a good idea.

#2 - Why not leave her in the house, either in a crate or confined to one room.

#3 - if you can't do the doogy day care or a have someone come let her out a couple times a day (while she's young) you could look into setting up an indoor area for her to go potty. Some people don't like that idea but sometimes you have no choice.

My two foster pups (Chinese Crested) have a pen with a sleeping area, a play area and a potty area. When we are home they are loose and are starting to signal they need to go outside to potty.
 

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In my opinion 10 hours in a crate is way too long. You mentioned you have a privacy fence in the back, is this a place that your sure she will be safe? Remember if she's by herself for long periods she's likely to get board and board dogs tend to be more distructive. Is the fence set up in such a way that she can't get out? If not, I would use this time now to make any changes to it such as maybe burying chicken wire so she can't dig under.
Are there kids on the other side of the fence that might tease her. Kids can sometimes do the darnest things-sometimes they even try it when I'm home and my dogs are playing in the front yard. Right away I'm out there to stop it but you couldn't do that if you were away.
Is this a safe area where someone wouldn't be able to toss something over that may cause your pup harm?
For me, I've never felt safe having my dogs outside when I'm not there (everyone is different). I would try to find someone you trust that could visit with your dog during the day at least for the first year.
Good luck and enjoy your new pup!!
 

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I think Lauri is right, confined in a room in the house is likely your best bet. I so worry with dogs outside and kept help but to think you end up having more behavior problems when you do this (such as excessive barking issues and maybe even agressive issues). If the dog is inside and in a safe place I think you might feel better.
 

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Indoors with at least one stop by a dogwalker. Leaving a puppy outside unsupervised is an invitation to theft, accidents, injury, bad habits, annoying the neighbors, etc. Even in a fenced yard. Minimum I would do is a chain link kennel with a roof, tarp over the roof, set in cement. Even then, all it takes is for a thief to hop the fence with fence cutters and there you go, your family friend is gone in a heartbeat, one that will be sold for a pretty penny. No, best bet is indoors, crated or in a SAFE x-pen in a SAFE room with a puppy sitter/friend/neighbor/relative/dog walker coming in at least once during the day. It's hard enough for an adult dog to be alone 10 hours but for a puppy who is in her critical formative period, this is far from ideal.

During winter, and I remember those Midwestern winter nightmares, she should also be indoors. Sure, GSDs are built for German winters, but this takes acclimation and even the breed's founder recognized that these dogs belong with the family and not stuck outside in a kennel. Please keep her inside and sign up for some puppy classes now for socialization, bonding, and yes, a little training.
Good luck!
 
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