Puppyhood is one of the most challenging times for dog parents. You’re adjusting to the new demands on your attention, your puppy is trying to acclimate to a brand new and somewhat alien environment…it’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s exhausting. Couple these changes with the fact that you are raising a puppy when you work full time and it can start to seem overwhelming.
Fortunately working full time and raising a puppy is a well-travelled road and there is plenty of advice available from those who have walked in your shoes. First, let’s cover the basics:
Create a space for your puppy
One of the most important things that a new puppy parent can do is to provide him with a sense of security. This starts with giving him his own space, around 6X4 feet is ideal. Many people use a puppy-pen but you can use a small room, like your bathroom, as well. If possible, it’s best to give him a space that you can gradually expand, an area that will be his for the long term. The space should have a comfortable bed, a few toys and something with your scent on it-old clothing works great.
Set a regular routine
Dogs of all ages like a predictable schedule and puppies in particular need stability. The fewer surprises the better. Try to keep mealtimes, walks and bedtime consistent, and try to drop in at least once a day while you’re working. You also may want to consider investing in a system like Furbo, it’s popular with working puppy parents because it allows you to see him, speak to him and even throw him an occasional treat!
Leaving your puppy alone during the day
The general consensus for leaving a puppy alone during the day is one hour for every month, a two month old puppy will rarely be capable of holding his bladder for more than two hours, a three-month-old for three…etc. Clearly this is a generalization but it’s a good starting point to help you build your new dog-friendly schedule.
Puppy pads are a common back-up plan for new puppy parents and it won’t hurt to lay some down in his area. Just don’t be too surprised if your puppy sees them as a fun thing to shred rather than a place to relieve himself!
House train a puppy when you work full time
Small things count during your puppy’s first few months and good housetraining is really just a set of small calculated steps. In other words, don’t get caught up searching for new theories on how to housetrain your puppy! When you work full time your schedule will dictate the rules.
First and foremost plan to get up a minimum of ½ hour before you did in your pre-puppy days, this will give you a chance to take him on quick walk and then get in a little bit of that oh-so-essential playtime. You’ll need to save a few extra minutes for a last potty break once you’re ready to leave for the morning as well.
Next is an often neglected but always crucial step in housetraining - Leave quietly without making any lavish displays of affection. Challenging I know, but the less emphasis placed on your departures and arrivals the happier and better adjusted your puppy will be. It’s a life-long habit that you should try to form early as it not only cuts down on accidents it cuts down on separation anxiety, which is the most common root of behavioral disorders in dogs.
Accidents will happen often, particularly in the first six to eight weeks. It is also fairly common for puppies to experience periods of regression in their housetraining when they are left alone on a regular basis. Planning for these things helps reduce the stress level for you and for your puppy. Keep your cleaning supplies well-stocked and remember that most puppies will have a natural desire to avoid soiling their own areas, but a tiny bladder can only last for so long!
How you raise your puppy when you work full time can have a major impact on quality of life for both of you, it pays to start things off right.