View Full Version : can they be left on their own?

14th December 2006, 11:33 AM
Hi all,
My sister and her husband have been married for a couple of years and have always talked about a dog but have resisted temptation because they both work full time.

The issue has come up again and she has asked me to ask the experts (you lot) what your opinion is on leaving a little CKC on his/her own for (worst case scenario) 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

They would probably try to get an older one were they to get one at all, but they don't want to get one and it be miserable!

Thanks :)

14th December 2006, 11:39 AM
I think most people on the board would agree that 8 hours is too long for a cavalier to be left alone. They should at least have another dog for company. They really are velcro dogs and like to be with their humans as much as possible. The other option is to employ someone to walk the dog half way through the day.

14th December 2006, 01:10 PM
Oooh boy, I am going to try and give both the small and the large picture on this one as I have wanted to write something for the library on this issue for a while, to help people think thru the realities of a dog in a working home, and this will form part of it. This will be long, as my answers often are!! :lol: :lol:

As someone who places rescue dogs, I am reluctant to put a dog into a home where members work full days as the dog is left alone all day. Dogs are social, pack animals, and unlike cats, can become despondent left alone every day for half their waking hours.

That said, there are ways of approaching this but it generally takes full commitment, money and time. If someone can get home daily at lunch to walk the dog and spend time in the house, that is one possible solution. If the dog can go to a day care facility or stay with a relative, that's another. If someone can be emplyed to take the dog for a daily walk, that is a solution too. And two dogs are definitely far better in such a situation than one -- the best option being to take on two older dogs that already know each other as it isn't safe to leave two dogs who barely know each other alone together (they could be confined separately eg in separate rooms til it is known they get along well).

I would never home a puppy to people working all day unless one is prepared to take at least one/two weeks off to settle the pup and then can make the effort to be home twice a day to get the puppy thru its first few months of housetraining or the pup goes to day care or to a relative every day.


This is always an interesting issue to me, its wider dimensions that is. The thing about dogs is that many of us grew up with them, but at a time when moms tended to be at home all day and thus a dog was never alone. That was the case in my house and every house I knew. Sometimes older relatives shared the house and they were around all day. Most of our neighbour families had dogs; all my relatives did. Also those were times when people left dogs out in yards if away and also didn't tend to have smaller toy breeds until retired -- I never knew anyone under about 60 with a toy, indoor breed, of which the cavalier is one. Toys are bred as companions and thus really need the presence of people around and don't do well left alone.

Now there is a nostalgia to have dogs like before but people's lives have totally changed. Many more people are single permanently or for long stretches. There's a lot more interest in small breds with people living in smaller homes and apartments and there being restrictions on ownership of animals in many communities. Also despite the popularity of dogs at the moment, there's actually far lower tolerance for dogs -- and all sorts of by laws banning more than 2 or 3 in a home, banning them entirely in apartments, banning them from parks except on leads, banning them on beaches and lakes...

Just a few musings. Back to the original topic: I think people do need to weigh up the feasibility of a dog if both work -- is it fair to the dog, and is it more an ideal they imagine without truly considering the reality of the commitment (from vet bills and daily walks to picking up poops and cleaning barf...). They must consider their level of commitment for the next decade plus, too. What happens when/if they add children to their family? What if they are transferred for their jobs to someplace that will not allow dogs or is in another country?

I can say from working in general and cavalier rescue that the three main reasons dogs end up in the pound, in shelters, or in rescue -- and end up dying if in the former two situations, if they canot be rehomed -- are

1) "We don't have enough time for our dog because we work full time and realise he deserves 'better'." (my comment: What this really means is: "I am not willing to make the effort to change my life to make a proper commitment to my dog and surely you can find him a better home so I can both be rid of him and pretend I am not potentially sending him to his death." Too bad they didn't think this thru before they got the dog as 'better' shouldn't mean the dog will risk dying because it is inconvenient.

2) "We have a baby coming/new baby and won't have the time to give to our dog(s) and he deserves 'better'." (my comment: same as above. Often the dog is only a year or two old. Surely the notion had crossed your mind that a baby might arrive in the future? Yet you went ahead and got a dog in the meantime, as if it was just a fun, inanimate purchase like a new iPod or espresso maker? A dog is not a huge drain on time -- you can even walk the dog while the baby is in its stroller. A dog is a wonderful companion for children and helps reduce the child's chance of allergies. What you really mean is, "We casn't be bothered with the dog(s) any more because a child is a more interesting focus for outr attention and the dog is an inconvenience."

3) "Due to my new job I have to move and can't bring my dog." (my comment: What this means in most cases is: "I cannot be bothered to go through finding a new residence where I can keep my dog, placing it in boarding til I can make arrangements, or taking the simple steps to get a pet passport, which will allow my dog to travel and stay with me." In only very few cases does a dog or cat need to go into quarantine these days and most dogs would rather spend a few months in a quarantine facility and return to you, then die in a pound. In most cases, relocating the dog is just an incoveniece and the amusement factor of having a dog has worn off. Moving is a good chance to get rid of it.

I do recognise there are very legitimate situations -- death, illness, changed circumstances -- when a dog needs to be rehomed. I also know there are people who realise, unhappily, that a dog is not really for them. But most of us doing rescue hear the above excuses as dogs are left at the pound -- where they are more likely to be pts then be rehomed. Same for many shelters. Rescue has to turn away many dogs because they are not very rehomeable or they are overburdened.

So: it is very, very important for people to consider what their real reasons are for getting a dog; what they will do if and when things don't go smoothly (they never do!); whether they realise their commitment to the dog should be for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part; whether they will take all the steps to make sure the dog remains a valued part of the family and not an ignored 'burden'.

For those who want a pet but work, two cats are often a much better option (a single cat will also get very lonely), and bring many of the same rewards and many special ones of their own. Also owning cats for a while enables people to see what kinds of commitments are involves, and if they could make the increased level of commitment for a dog, that cannot be left alone in quite the same way.

Cicero's Mummy
14th December 2006, 01:12 PM
I was told to wait until I stopped working for the same reason as well... that 8 hrs/5 days was too long and the dog would suffer and may exibit behavioral problems.

Again... just the opinion of others around me.

14th December 2006, 01:18 PM
Also a good way for people to test what it is like to have a dog is to mind a friend's for a weekend and see what a 24/7 dog is like. Many find it isn't what they want.

14th December 2006, 01:50 PM
both me and h2b are working full time, we got freddie 2 wks ago and have being trying to work around working and giving our little man attention, my sis looks in on him in the morning and then my ma has him for 1 til i get home he loves all of us, given him attention. This is all temp. as we are moving into our new house next friday :lol: cannot wait, we are moving in with my ma so she will be home all day and h2b is taking a career so freddie will be all happy with the 2 of them at home!

we did think long and hard about getting him and i panic everyday that he does not get enough care.

My Wesley
14th December 2006, 01:52 PM
This is the one that bugs me as well....

2) "We have a baby coming/new baby and won't have the time to give to our dog(s) and he deserves 'better'."

I have two young children and I stay at home during the day and for that reason we chose to have a dog, seeing as I'd be home, able to train him, etc. And Wesley has been a fantastic addition. Even with knowing that we will eventually add a third child to our family I could NEVER think of giving him up. And by that point I will have him trained anyway. I don't know what I'd do without him! Being a mother, I don't see how people could just give up their fur babies! URGH!

But to the topic, I'm also in agreement that it'd be rough on just one Cavalier, but two could handle it together. We're fortunate enough to have my husband work 8 minutes from here, and if by chance I ever decided to go back to work in the office (I work from home), that my office is just 10 minutes from here. And he and I both work for smaller companies, so we'd likely be able to bring Wesley as well, or enroll him in one of the many doggy day cares around here.

14th December 2006, 02:04 PM
When I got King I was working full time... But I was willing (plus my boss as well) to cut my hours for a couple of weeks in order to train my lil kid...

I would work from bout 10-1 for a couple of weeks... I didn't make much in the $$$ deptment but I really couldn't care I was happy playing with my baby....

I know some ppl whi actaully take a little vacation from work to train the pup... But that all depends on the type of job the person has...

In my line of work I've seen plenty of dogs who were left alone for horus at a time, and the ppl were having the worst luck with them... I remember meeting a 8 month old springer who still was not even 1/2 way housebroken because the owners were working too many hrs to spend time to housebreak the pup.... And they wonder why its the dog's fault that he's pooping in the house, It's not the dogs it's the owners fault...

I beleive if ppl are not on a schedule with their pups then it's gonna be very hard to train.... With King I would take him to the pads every 1.5 hrs to have him to his business... an it worked it only took King bout a week to realize what the pads were and when he's in his crate that he needs to hold his pee until he is let out and brought to the pads (or outside for those of you who don't use pads)

If your sis is really looking to get a cavalier then she should make time to spend with a pup or look to adopt an older trained pup...

Barbara Nixon
14th December 2006, 03:00 PM
I don't work, now, but when I worked part time, the dogs, even though there have always (with the exception of two years) been at least two, have never been left for more than 4 hours and that length of time was the exception.

When we both worked, we had two springers, but my father, who moved into the next road, used to collect them at about 10am and keep them until we got home. During this time he'd give them a long walk, too.

The single dog was a rescued collie cross who would probably been happy home alone, in preference to the kennel he'd spent life chained to, but my dad collected him after breakfast and kept him all day.

14th December 2006, 03:27 PM
Also a good way for people to test what it is like to have a dog is to mind a friend's for a weekend and see what a 24/7 dog is like. Many find it isn't what they want.

Funny story - I left my little girl for the first time last weekend when I went to Florida on vacation. I had so many friends begging to keep her, I split her time between two (well three - one set of twins) good friends. For the first two days she stayed with a pair of twins who have cats. The second two days she stayed with my old roomie who has no animals and a lot of time on her hands. Keeping my puppy made the twins realize they didn't want a dog and made the old roomie realize she desperately wanted one and not only that but she wanted a cav (she comes from a dachshund family and always wanted a dachshund). Funny how that worked out and I agree - that's a great way to see if you are ready - esp. if you take in a puppy. ;)

murphy's mum
14th December 2006, 06:34 PM
I leave the house at 8:30am, and come back for lunch between 12 and 1, the O/H comes home at 4.
Obviously not ideal, I know. If I can't get home his 'papa' comes for him, and quite often his 'nana' steals him too.
I took two weeks off when we got him, and introduced him to staying alone, with his teddy and the radio.
We wanted another dog, he would like the company but as he's 9 months we thought a puppy would be a bad idea at this time, and our local rescue centre wouldn't home with us cause we work.

14th December 2006, 07:17 PM
I think everything said is true as I was at home with our lab. But my brother and sister work and both have dogs - large ones too that require a lot of exercise (standard poodle and a lab).

First, we got our lab at 6mths and that age difference makes a big difference. A housetrained dog would be best especially since they havent had a dog before. Second if one spouse leaves a little later, one can get home at lunch and the other gets home a little earlier (as in my siblings cases) it can work. At one point my brother hired a neighbourhood teenager that lived next door. You know the kid that always wants a dog but parent wont get type... they love to come in after school and take the dog to the park and play with them. Once my siblings children were old enough to come home after school instead of going to day care - this works great as well.

But in houses where people leave for work at 7am and dont get home till past 6 or later and cant provide someone (older child, relative, employed walker) I dont think the pet or owner get what they want and need from the relationship. (I sound like dear abby)

14th December 2006, 07:39 PM
If both work, maybe they can afford to drop off the dog at doggy day care during the day. That way the dog is socializing with other dogs and people and won't be lonely while the couple is working.

14th December 2006, 07:57 PM
In the past month I've placed 6 cavy rescues. I've been very fortunate to have the option of choosing the perfect home from several applicants for each pup. Each family either has or has a cavalier and is very knowledgeable about the breed. Additionally, each family has or had a rescue dog and has dealt with issues particular to rescues and rehomings. Two pups went to full time working families, but besides having cavy companions, they either have other family members living at home or work five minutes from home and come home twice a day.

It was a lot of work for me to verify this information (which I did), but I really felt that they were wonderful candidates and great matches for these pups, so it was worth it.

But under normal circumstances, I would not place a cav to a home where everyone works full time. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but it's the truth.

14th December 2006, 08:43 PM
I had my own dog walking buisness ,and i walked poeples dogs bacause they were at work all day,i would say that the majoriy of damage done to peoples houses where from dogs left all day.I would say its to long a day for a dog.I also found poeple at work didnt really want to walk their dogs after work because they were to tired.

14th December 2006, 10:16 PM
Hi everyone
Thanks for the replies :) The reason we asked (or I asked on behalf..) is because she wanted to know the truth so I appreciate it. My husband and I work from home so our little baby has attention every day - I was curious to know if anyone has a CKC and works away from the home and what their experience is.

My sister and I grew up with dogs in the house (two rescue ones) and both know the commitments - they wouldn't even consider a puppy for that reason and would be getting one (if they were to) at the start of a two week holiday (at home) - however I know they'll continue to consider what's best for the dog her/himself.

Thanks again

14th December 2006, 10:28 PM
A really interesting range of responses too. :)

I don't have a straightforward problem with homing to a home where people work full time and wouldn't automatically say no; it is more how they will manage that situation. :thmbsup: Many people haven't thought this through and that is the kind of thing that gets discussed in phone interviews and homechecks. Many are ready and able to make the accommodations; others realise they are not at the right point to get a dog or two.

Some of the best cared dogs I know of are in working homes. Some of the most neglected come to rescue from homes where people are around all day. So it is all the individual situation. :thmbsup: