>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.