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Can You Get A Dog If You Work Full Time?

Updated: Feb 8

A group of dogs all sitting and looking happy. From left to right: A GSD husky cross, a black cockerpoo, a terrier x poodle mix, a black labrador and a beagle.

As a dog trainer and pet sitter, I've been asked the question "Can I get a dog if I work full time?" a lot and my answer is always the same: Yes, but it's going to be time consuming and expensive and you're going to need to do three things.

1 . Find the correct breed for your lifestyle

Firstly, you need to be realistic about the breed that best suits your life. Truly realistic, not "I go on hour long walks on weekends so I should get a shepherd". All dogs come with their own traits and fulfilment needs and finding the right one is crucial. As you're reading this blog post I can confidently say that you should not get a working line dog, you're going to need a dog that will be okay with lots of down time whilst you're at work and working line dogs need more than that- they need to professionally work.

Small toy breeds can still have lots of energy and go on long walks. Shih tzus, all types of terriers, italian greyhounds, malteses, schnauzers etc all can go on long walks and hikes with you and also settle nicely at home while you're at work.

Even if you want a dog that you can take running with you, you'd be surprised at how many breeds would be good for this, you do not need a collie. A labrador, show cocker spaniel, whippet etc would all be great matches for this.

2 . Can you realistically fulfil a dog?

All dogs require training and exercise but a dog that is going to be left for long intervals even more so. You're going to need to crate train before anything else.

Your day to day routine is going to change a lot because you're going to need to mentally and physically exercise your dog before you leave for work and after you get home, to ensure they are tired and content enough to rest in their down time.

Will you get up an hour earlier than you already do to walk your dog, hand-feed them their breakfast and play with them?

When you get home from work will you take another hour to do the same, walk them and play with them and hand-feed their dinner?

Be honest with yourself about whether or not you will commit to this. It is not fair on a dog to say that you will and then get bored two weeks in, snooze your alarm instead of walking them and have to leave them home all day with no prior stimulation.

3 . Can you afford additional daily pet care?

This is maybe the most important part. You cannot crate your dog and leave them home alone for 8 hours every day. It's animal abuse.

An adult dog will need, at a minimum, a dog walker that will walk them for an hour at the midpoint of the day. This will break up their day so that it looks like this:

8am - Walk and mental stimulation with you

9am-12pm - Sleep in crate

12pm-2pm - Out with dog walker

2pm-5pm - Walk and mental stimulation with you

It's still six hours in the crate but they'll be fulfilled and tired and they'll sleep and rest and then be ready to spend the evening with you.

Prices for this can vary and you should look at the prices of walkers and pet sitters local to you beforehand - we strongly recommend checking out our How To Find A Good Dog Walker blog - but, at the time of writing, you're probably looking at a maximum of £100/week.

A puppy will need significantly more pet care as it won't be able to go on the more affordable group walks and it will need more toilet breaks.

From 8 weeks to 16 weeks I would recommend 3x pet visits spread throughout the day, ie. 10am, 12pm, 2pm.

From 16 weeks (4 months) to 6 months, 2x visits and 6-12 months solo puppy walks, with appropriate rest for their joints.

No Doggy Daycare

I will be doing a blog post on it in the future but from a training standpoint, we do not recommend doggy daycare. If you decide on it anyway, please save our website because you will likely need our training to undo the problems it causes. A puppy pet sitter and adult dog walker will both be more affordable and better for your pet anyway.

Hopefully this blog post helps give you a better idea of what to expect. I'm never going to sugar coat it, dogs are tough and they need lots of our time! If you've read this and are thinking a dog might be too much for you to commit to, I'd strongly recommend considering getting a cat- and I say this as someone who used to be a die-hard Dog Person and thought cats were mean. They're every bit as cuddly, affectionate and playful as a dog but they don't require long walks or training, they toilet themselves and clean themselves and they're okay being left during the day. They're basically just low maintenance dogs!

Happy Training!



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