>Hi All!

>I am thinking of getting a dog. I have had dogs before but that was when I
>was younger and living with parents. The problem is that myself and my wife
>work during the day and there is nobody in the home for about 9 hours per day.
>We are there all over the weekend though.

>Is there a breed of dog that will be happy with this? Does anybody else have
>the same situation?

Dogs are highly social animals. Dogs left alone for extended periods can experience a high degree of separation anxiety. However any intelligent dog can adapt to being left alone during the day. As a puppy she may need to be PROPERLY crated to prevent her from getting into trouble (destroying or swallowing poisons and/or various household items). Further, the puppy will need frequent exercise, during the mornings BEFORE you go to work and AFTER you come home. A very young puppy may need frequent walks throughout the day to relieve herself. A young puppy will need a walk during mid-day to relieve herself AND to be checked up on. If you can not do this, then a pet sitter/walker may be required. Obviously she will need adequate water and food throughout the day, though her feedings as a young puppy may need to be carefully timed with her walks for obvious reasons.

The key is how much attention you can give your dog when you are home (evenings, weekends, etc.) If you make your dog a regular part of your life and through training and play give her a purpose and a sense of self, she will be fine. If you ignore her, relegate her to the backyard, rely on her crate as a "crutch" to get her out of the way during inopportune times or fail to socialize her with people and dogs you will have a disaster. Again, it will require a great deal of effort and energy to SUCCESSFULLY raise a puppy while working full time. Why some people think that a puppy will raise herself without supervision, effort and focus is beyond me. The reality is that most dog problems are really OWNER/BREEDER PROBLEMS.

I would also suggest purchasing and reading a few "dog books" before you purchase. There a number of books that map out the physical, psychological and mental traits of various breeds. Though obviously there is much individual variation within a breed, which is why it is helpful to know your puppy's parents. One especially good book on dog care, psychology and training is Brian Kilcommons, "Good Owners, Great Dog", published by Warner books.

As far as breed selection, you want an intelligent breed matched to your activity level and personality. Do you want an extremely active dog who is eager to please and loves to play with a great need for attention? Would you prefer a calmer dog who is perhaps less affectionate? Do you want a dog that is highly protective? Do you mind frequent barking both as a means of self expression and to alert you to strangers? Do you want a dominant breed or one that is more submissive? In general, for first time owners, I would recommend an easy going type dog that is eager to please and highly people oriented. For example: There are many sweet Dobermans, Rottweillers and Pit Bulls, but in general these breeds are raised for their dominance and guard dog characteristics. Keehsonds, American Eskimos, Shelties, Golden Retrievers are generally far more easy going. However their are high strung, ill bred exceptions. Again, what is normal behavior for a Rottie may be very deviant for a Golden Retriever and vice versa. Further, some of the more popular breeds are subject to health problems as a result of sloppy breeding techniques.


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