View Full Version : Working and still keeping a happy cavalier?

3rd September 2005, 07:16 AM
Can anyone share their experience with combining working and owning a cavalier? what do you do with them when you go to work? Ideally they would like to be with their owner every minute, but when you do have to go to work, what would the max number of hours per day that a cavalier can be left alone and still be a happy dog?

I have had my cavalier for almost 3 months now. I can take her with me to work sometimes, which is not ideal.

Also, I was advised to leave her at home in a closed area, rather than in the garden. Any idea why? it feels to me like it would be more interesting for her to be in the garden. Your thoughts and experience would be helpful. Thanks.

Harry & Heidi's mom
3rd September 2005, 08:49 AM

I work full time and my cavalier is almost 5 months old.

We walk him for half an hour in the morning, my dad pops in around lunch time and walks him for half an hour and i'm back at tea time, and he's fine with it, mainly as he's been used to it from being small, might be harder for an older cavalier to have to get used to being home alone.

even on my days off Harry will sleep at the same times i'm normally out :lol: :lol:

to keep him busy while i'm out i have a "talk to me" treat ball that plays a recorded message, a kong and all his teddy bears, i also leave the radio on for him to listen to, as silence must be boring.

would love to have the option to take him to work, that would be great, but no work would get done ha ha ha ha.......

the 2 reasons i can think of for NOT leaving her in the garden are....
she could be stolen, and you don't want that, and 2 if the weather turns bad she would be cold and anyway cavaliers like their home comforts ;)


3rd September 2005, 12:44 PM
They definitely are not outdoor dogs (like most toy breeds) -- very much an indoor dog that loves being outside but that is with the companionship of the owner. Many people leave their dog in the kitchen though you need to be sure cupboards cannot be opened as many food items are poisonous to dogs, including raisins, grapes, chocolate (especially dark chocolate, cooking choc or cocoa powder -- a quite small amount will kill a cavalier); macadamia nuts, etc.

I keep mine in an upstairs bedroom when I am out. They clearly mostly sleep though they have a couple of safe (eg nonbreakable) toys to play with. My neighbours say they rarely bark except at cats out on the roof!). I leave them water and I always give them a tripe stick to chew -- if I take the tripe out they both run upstairs as they know they get this very spoecial treat ONLY when I am going out, and in 'their' room.

If you are gone all day you need to find things to keep her busy when no one is there. Kong toys are good for this (espeically frozen ones), leave the radio on, etc. At five months a dog generally finds it very hard to hold its urine/poop for longer than an hour per month of age so she really should not be left alone longer than about 4-5 hours maxiumum. In general this should be the max time any dog is ever alone during the day. Many people either come home at lunch to give a walk and toilet break, or pay someone to walk the dog, or leave the dog at 'day care' with someone.

A companion animal goes a long long way to help relieve the boredom and loneliness of being home alone. It doesn;t have to be another cavalier of course though that is ideal! :) But in general a single dog home alone all day is not a very interesting life for a dog unless you work to make it so for them as per advice above. This is of course the reality many of us face because we DO work -- but I work with a lot of dog rescue groups and in general, all strongly advise getting two dogs if you have a household where no one is home all day long. I know my two are so much more content to have a companion and they are actually *easier* to care for because the focus of the dog's life isn;t solely on you. As cavaliers bond so closely annyway I think it is healthier for them to have another point of focus rather than only the owner as they are more prone to separation anxiety (IMHO).

Oh yes to conclude I totally agree with Heather's warning -- they are at high risk of being stolen too if left outside. A lot of people like this breed and they are easy to snatch. I'd never leave a purebred of any breed outside because they offer a target for the unscrupulous, often people who want to breed from them. :cry:

Harry & Heidi's mom
3rd September 2005, 01:12 PM
Hi Karlin,

please don't give me a reason to get another dog ;) icon_whistling

Harry gets out about every 4 hours, out with me until 9am, then out with granda at 1pm and then grandma takes him with her to collect my kids from the after school club at 5pm then he has constant companionship until 9am the next day as he sleeps on my bed with me at night (we have our cuddles then)


3rd September 2005, 03:57 PM
If not another dog, a cat works too! :)
Abbey is our only dog, but we also have two cats. The three of them keep each other company while we work, and she also has the radio and different frozen Kong or Kong-like toys that I switch out each day to keep her interested...there's a container full in our freezer!
She's not contained in a room, but she's 3 and pretty mellow. From what it looks like, she pretty much sleeps on the couch all day! She has her walk in the morning before we leave, then her walk when we get home and then after our meal we usually take her to the park.

edit to add, it's VERY important to take their collar off when they are home alone!

3rd September 2005, 05:30 PM
Hi Yaelelish,

I used to leave Maxx from 1.30pm until 5.30pm a couple of afternoons and he was fine. I did used to leave the radio on and also give him a treat before I left. If it was hot, my neighbour would pop in at lunchtime and check up on him, let him out for a wee etc.

I also used to leave the radio on for him (as I do if I ever leave him alone). Maxx has always had the run of the house and we've never had a problem with chewing or messing whether we're in or out :)

I do agree that Cavaliers prefer to have company though (any excuse for more eh?) and most definitely as Heather has said, don't leave them in the garden. At least if they are indoors they can find a cool/warm spot - they are xposed to the elements and theft if left outside :shock:

3rd September 2005, 07:50 PM
That's helpful thanks. Karlin - regarding the frozon kong toy you mentioned; could you clarify? is it the regular Kong that is being first frozen? do you put anything inside? other than when I play with her, I never saw her showing any interest in the Kong.

Also, I notice that she doesn't touch the chew toys I leave for her when she is alone. So I conclude she is not comfortable when I leave. I do leave the radio on, and she also does get a special treat when she goes into her little room when I leave. From what I read it seems I am doing the rights things, so maybe it should take more time to get her used to it.

I thought about getting another cav... but as Heather wrote... please don't give me a reason to get another dog... :?

Harry & Heidi's mom
3rd September 2005, 08:35 PM
go on you know you want too!!!! :lol: icon_whistling

i'm thinking about getting another dog, either another cavalier or another small dog, but i've just moved house (2 days ago) and i'll have to wait until we are settled first

3rd September 2005, 10:37 PM
I don't need an excuse, I just want another Cavalier :lol:

4th September 2005, 02:07 PM
I changed my first post where I'd said it was Donna's waring on stolen dogs and of course it was Heather's...

Kongs are designed to be stuffed with food items and they have to work to get them out. These can be bits of dry food or veg bits packed in with peanut butter, cream cheese, even yogurt if it is to be frozen. Freezing it makes it last much longer and it is less messy. See www.kongcompany.com/ for ideas but search on kongs and you'll find lots of ideas. Just remember to subtract that food from overall rations.

yes cats are good company too if you have a cavalier that is fine alone with cats! Mine live with four cats.

I put mine into a single room as Jaspar is far more comfortable in a smaller space that he knows means I am leaving. When he has the run of the house he runs around barking and whining for me. Leo would be fine with the run of the house but Jaspar just isn't so they go into a single room. I never liked the idea of crating a dog down to such a small space as a crate for hours -- why do that when you can offer a room where there's a bed or sofa, toys, water and room to relax and play? I think crates are great for certain tasks and roles but I find it depressing that many dogs get crated for entire days on end while people are working -- their lives are so short as it is. Crate training sure is valuable though -- mine are great at travelling, and go on the back of my bike in a crate, in the car, on trains -- and sometimes like going in their crate for a time out if there are other large dogs around on a visit.

4th September 2005, 04:44 PM
We both work and Audrey spends her days in an X-pen (4x12) with her crate open at one end. The crate has a cover so it is very den-like. The pen is in front of a large glass door overlooking our back yard. I have a great dog walker that comes mid-day to give her a potty break and spends 1/2 hour playing with her. One day a week she takes her for a play date with another small dog. All in all Audrey has been okay with this and goes in the pen without trouble. I often think of trying her elsewhere in the house but I know she is safe in the pen and can move around. She is just 16 months old and still has some puppy tendencies. I give her a treat ball with a portion of her daily food allotment in it when I leave for work and I leave a stuffed kong for the dog-walker to give her mid-day. My husband plans to retire in a few years which we look forward to- I am sure Audrey does too!

6th September 2005, 12:47 PM
An X-pen is a good idea Dee. It's just somewhere that Audrey can feel safe and not wander and pine for you :)

When Maxx was tiny we had a fairly large kitchen so we used to leave him there if we were out, or at bedtime. then we moved and the kitchen was tiny so he had the run of the house.

THEN we moved again and againe we have a large kitchen but Maxx is so used to his freedom that he still has the run of the house and no one is 'allowed' to shut their bedroom doors or he scratches them to get in :roll:

He's usually found on my bed or in our en-suite on the cool tiles but he does a running check on the kids every 2 hours or so LOL

21st September 2005, 12:42 PM

I totally sympathise with you on the dilemma of leaving our pets on their own - my partner and I have totally changed our schedules so Sam is not alone for too long 4-5 hours max as I just feel it is so unfair as he loves company so much ... Also toying with the idea of no.2 but have first baby on the way so will wait till next year as I will home all day for the next 5 months and I am looking forward to spending time with my 2 babies.

Best of luck and probably no.2 is the long term way to go...


21st September 2005, 01:49 PM

How exciting to have your first baby is the due date close? (I have two girls one is 7 and the other 5.5).
Good for Sam too that he'll have all day company for a while.
I concluded that 4-5 hours is about the max time. So I now got baby sitter that comes at around 2pm, takes Zita out for a long walk and stays with her for an hour. Then I arrive at around 4:30pm. She seems to be doing well on this arrangement so I think it is ok for now...
I keep visiting people that have puppies because I am toying with the idea of taking a number 2 but I when thinking clearly I think I shouldn't. I already have enough things I need to take care of as it is..:)


21st September 2005, 04:26 PM
I don't need an excuse, I just want another Cavalier :lol:Back off lady...you CAN'T have Chester....grrrrr.... ;) :oops:

But back to the business at hand...there's tons of great advise in this thread and I agree that doing the X-pen with the crate and a view is a wonderful idea. As long as they have a view they have lots of squirrels and other critters to look at and bark at.

I work at home but when I leave I always leave the TV or radio on for Mr. Chester. If it's the TV I like to leave it on BBC America so he can have fun with listening to the accents. ;) There have been times where I've been gone for 6 hours and he was asleep on my bed most of the time or in the window imagining he's the Mighty Squirrel Killer of DOOM!

Another good and fun option is if you have a good neighbor that has a dog and you can put the dogs together for the day while you're gone. That way they can play and you can swap back and forth with your neighbor so they spend time at both houses. You would just have to know the neighbor and the dog very well. My next door neighbor has a Papillon named Riley and he and Chester are great buddies. I kept Riley for a long weekend while his Mom was at the beach and I left the two of them together for a good 4-5 hours one Saturday and when I came home they were konked out on my bed and snuggled up together. Luckly they are both good boys and do not chew or distroy anything so I don't worry about letting them have the run of the house. But if you're not as confident, a large X-pen is great OR keeping them confined to a kitchen or other larger room is great too.

Alot of people pay for Doggy Daycare, but I think another animal in the house with them most days is a wonderful substitute.

So there's my 2 cents.

Personally, I think you should get another Cavalier...but that's just me... ;) :D