You have a busy schedule. But you also love dogs. And you want to have one so bad!
But is it possible with this lifestyle of yours?
But before you add a furry member to your family, there are some things you should know.
Read on to discover:
- The breeds that can tolerate being left alone for 8 hours a day.
- Breed-specific traits to look out for when choosing your furry friend.
- 9 must-read tips to set up your dog for success from early puppyhood.
- Who are the cuddly-looking dogs that aren’t cuddly at all and are more independent than you think.
- And much, much more…
Table of contents
- 13 dog breeds that can be left home alone for 8 hours
- A few words on separation anxiety
- 9 tips when you leave a puppy home alone
- #1: Give your pup a few puppy pads
- #2: Have a dedicated place for your puppy
- #3: Leave a few old T-Shirts that smell like you
- #4: Hire a dog sitter or a dog walker
- #5: Tell your neighbors you have a puppy home alone
- #6: Interact with your pup a lot when you get back home
- #7: Hide your socks
- #8: Puppy-proof the puppy’s room
- #9: Introduce baby or dog gates
- #BONUS: Let your dog feel the music
Before we continue…
… I want to emphasize the fact that all dogs need affection when you’re with them.
Sure, some breeds might tolerate being alone for a period of 8 hours. But that doesn’t mean you should invest a minimum amount in effort in caring for them.
Having a dog is not all fun and games but also a responsibility. So familiarize yourself with the breeds. See which fits your lifestyle best. And don’t forget to check out the neat tips below.
13 dog breeds that can be left home alone for 8 hours
#1: Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers can be left home alone if you give them a task to focus on. They’re bright little dogs and would love to have some puzzle or chew toys to work with while you’re away.
When you first get a Miniature Schnauzer puppy and leave them alone, they may experience separation anxiety. It happens when the pup becomes aware that they’re on their own.
Staying alone will be a noticeable change for your puppy. Especially since they’ve been recently separated from their mum. So the pup will most likely get scared.
After teaching them to be alone, they’ll be able to relax like this representative of the breed:
If you’re considering wthether to get one or not, there are two things you should know about their health. Miniature Schnauzers are likely to suffer from hip dysplasia and hip congenital.
This tiny breed is a popular and good choice for apartments.
Chihuahuas do fine when left alone for the most part of the day. They’re low energy. And they do well in pairs. So you might consider getting a second Chihuahua.
Just look at these two pups playing while their sibling is trying to get some rest:
What you should know:
- They’re prone to obesity.
- Chis need daily teeth brushing.
- They might get aggressive as a result of small Dog Syndrome.
- Chihuahuas are prone to a medical condition called a luxating patella.
Do you want to learn more about Chihuahuas?
Check out these articles:
- 17 Surprising Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are The Best
- Are Chihuahuas Good With Kids? 7 Dangers + 5 Tips
- How Much Do Chihuahuas Cost? Puppy Price + Daily Expenses
- 101 Fun Chihuahua Facts That You Need To Know (#6 = Weird)
#3: Basset Hound
This dog is suitable for an apartment.
Basset Hounds are medium-sized. They’re curious and are happy to sniff around. But they’re low-energy. So while you’re working, they’ll mostly be sleeping.
Kind of like what this furry friend does here:
Bassets are the right breed for you if you like cuddles. They’d enjoy curling on your lap.
Things you need to do to keep them healthy:
- Clean their ears.
- Brush them daily.
- Monitor their diet to avoid obesity.
#4: Shar Pei
Shar Peis are low in energy. Despite being hunting dogs, they don’t require a lot of activity during the day.
Take a look at these doggo for example:
Despite that, you must set up your Shar Pei for success.
You can do this by socializing them from an early age. A well-socialized Shar Pei can be great company for kids.
You should also train your dog to be home alone.
Shar Peis may have some inherited health issues such as:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Eye problems.
- Patellar luxation.
- Skinfold infections.
If you’re away for 8 hours a day, a Maltese is a perfect fit for you. They’re likely to rest while waiting for you to come back. There’s little chance they will indulge in destructive behavior.
Look at how cute this Maltese puppy sleeps:
These dogs also make good cat companions.
If you get a Maltese, you’ll need to brush them daily. Otherwise, the fur might get matted.
Another option is to take them to the groomer. You can request a “puppy cut”. This way their fur will be short and easier to maintain.
More about Maltese:
- Prone to hypothyroidism.
- Suitable for households with older children.
- They’re good with kids but can be easily injured.
This graceful creature resembles a miniature Greyhound. And that’s no surprise since Whippets descend from Greyhounds.
Whippets are small and like to sleep a lot. They prefer comfortable soft places. Consider getting a warm comfy dog bed.
Like the one this pooch has:
A benefit of getting a Whippet is that they have few health problems. One thing to look out for is arrhythmia.
Other pros include being good with children and other dogs.
If you like how the Whippet looks but you want a bigger dog, I’ve good news. The Greyhound is for you.
Although these dogs are large, they like chilling on the couch and napping all day.
Don’t believe me?
There are a lot of Greyhounds that are retired from racing. You can adopt one, knowing that their current lifestyle has got them used to being crated.
But it’s best if you let your dog familiarize themselves with the house. Establish rules, stick to them, and allow your dog to move around.
After a workday, go to the dog park and exercise your dog.
Warning: Your Greyhound might run off if you’re unleashing them in an area other than a dog park.
What to expect:
- These dogs are loving and get along with children.
- Greyhounds will bark at strangers, but they’re not aggressive.
- They have a strong prey drive and will run after squirrels, rabbits, cats, etc.
#8: French Bulldog
This cuddly and affectionate fella has medium levels of energy.
What this means for you:
- Not very long walks.
- No excessive exercise.
But what your French Bulldog needs from you is your companionship and attention. So make sure to give them that as soon as you get back home.
You might find your doggo sleeping like this:
This type of dog can make a great addition to a family with kids. Frenchies are also not big barkers. Which is in favor of your and your neighbors’ ears.
French Bulldogs have some health issues you should look out for. Due to their short snouts, they may have difficulty breathing. Especially when the weather is hot or humid.
Bullmastiffs are quite big.
Judging by their size, you might expect them to have a lot of energy that needs draining. Well, the truth is they’re low-energy dogs.
I mean, just look at Grizzly here:
Even though they’re chill dogs, you’ll have to do some work once you add a Bullmastiff to your family. You’ve got to train them asap. Otherwise, they might become independent.
Besides that, they make good family dogs. They’re gentle and loving. This breed will get along good with well-behaved children.
And they will also guard your house.
Health issues they’re prone to are elbow and hip dysplasia.
#10: Chow Chow
Chow Chows look like fluffy bears and need moderate exercise. Their fluffiness might tempt you to cuddle with them.
But don’t be deceived by their looks. These dogs are not that cuddly. They’d rather keep their personal space.
Otherwise, they like to chill at home.
Just like this fluffball:
Apart from that, the Chow Chow’s tendency to be suspicious of strangers makes them a great watchdog.
This breed is not good for households with small children. The dog may get aggressive.
Keep in mind:
- They need regular grooming.
- The Chow Chow sheds more during warm seasons.
- Chow Chows may suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia.
Akita is a working dog like the Husky. But unlike Huskies, Akitas have medium or even low energy.
And you can expect them to take a nap after eating:
They’re nice mellow dogs. But they’re reserved with strangers. And may get protective of you.
While Akitas will tolerate being alone, they’ll crave your attention when you come home.
Some Akita dog parents share that their Akitas get hyper for no longer than 30 minutes. After which they take a long time to “recharge”.
If you want to properly exercise an Akita, take them out for a brisk walk. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes, then slow down the pace.
Akitas are active when they go outside, and prefer to nap while at home.
- They make good watchdogs.
- These dogs are heavy shedders.
- They’re not suitable to coexist with cats or other small animals.
- Akitas are possessive of food and may attack another dog or a child who gets close.
- Training them could be challenging because they are strong-willed and get bored easily.
- Akitas are difficult to read as they don’t show obvious signs of aggression and may attack another dog or a house animal suddenly.
#12: Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is another suitable choice.
These dogs are intelligent and independent. They make great apartment pets. And as long as you dog-proof the room you leave them in, everything should be fine.
Check out this Boston terrier who is enjoying the coziness of their home:
- Not big barkers.
- Could be difficult to housetrain.
- If you leave them alone before potty-training them, it will take more time for them to learn.
Health issues Boston Terriers may have include:
- Heart murmurs.
This breed comes from Africa. Basenjis were used as ratters.
If you’re worried that your dog will bark while you’re away, take a Basenji. A.k.a. the barkless dog.
You may be wondering why they’re called like that.
The answer has to do with their unusually-shaped larynx. Hence the sound the Basenji produces.
For those of you who are curious, here’s what a Basenji sounds like:
Besides the advantage of not barking, Basenjis are also fine being alone throughout the day. They make great pets for newbie dog parents. These dogs are also very well-mannered.
What you can expect from a Basenji dog:
- Real escape artists.
- Affectionate to kids.
- Can live with another dog.
- Smart but can also be stubborn.
- Friendly to strangers; don’t make good guard dogs.
Now you know which breeds you can consider. Despite how well each of these is bound to deal with alone time, you must prevent the biggest issue a lot of dog parents are faced with.
So let me say…
A few words on separation anxiety
The biggest problem dog parents face when leaving their pooch for 8 hours is separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a state in which your dog is stressed due to your absence. As a result, your dog will start displaying destructive behavior. You can also notice them whining and barking excessively.
Around 30% of dogs suffer from this condition. It’s traumatic for dogs and dog parents alike.
Research found out the 4 main types of distress for dogs when left alone:
- Reacting to external triggers.
- Wanting something that’s outside.
- Wanting to escape from the house.
That’s why you want to make sure your dog has all the essentials before you leave. And by that, I don’t mean only water, food, and a dog bed.
Keep reading for…
9 tips when you leave a puppy home alone
It’s far from ideal when you’re working for 8 hours and you have a pup to take care of. But it can be done. The key lies in the preparation.
With that in mind, let’s look at what you can do next.
#1: Give your pup a few puppy pads
That’s right – a few and not just one.
The reason is that puppies need to relieve themselves every 2 to 3 hours for the first month and 2 weeks. With time, your pup will get used to holding their bladder longer.
Until then, place the puppy pads in a corner where you’d like your pup to do their business.
Once the puppy soils on the puppy pad, they’re likely to return to the same place and mark the spot again.
Bear in mind that sometimes your pup will pee on the pad while at others, they may soil the carpet, tiles, or your wooden floor.
Be patient. That’s normal. Remain calm and redirect your pup gently. If you’re missing for 8 hours a day, housebreaking will take longer.
#2: Have a dedicated place for your puppy
It’s best to give your puppy their own place. Starting with a playpen.
The playpen will restrict the puppy to a safe environment in your home. At the same time, it will provide your pup with enough space to move freely and play.
Doing this will give you peace of mind while you’re at work or just out running errands.
If your puppy doesn’t have a playpen, you can expect whatnot when you come back home.
After all, puppies are aggressive chewers. It’s not only that they want to, but they also need to chew. And their teeth are as sharp as a shark’s ones.
Or at least that’s how it feels like if they accidentally bite you while you two are playing tug of war.
If you don’t provide them with a suitable variety of durable chew toys, they might as well find their own. The improvised toys in your home could be:
- Your pillow.
- The couch.
- The Internet/TV cable.
- The glass/plastic balls of the Christmas tree.
- The wooden legs of the chairs and the kitchen table.
And many more.
These are just some of the examples I can give from personal experience. Luckily, none of these items have caused harm to my dog but better be safe than sorry.
Another big plus of the playpen is that your pup will relieve themselves inside. And not on your Persian carpet or anywhere else hard to clean.
Note: Just put the pee pads at one end of the playpen, as far away from the place the puppy sleeps. Be it a crate or a dog bed.
This brings me to the other important item on the list which is…
You might be wondering why have both a playpen and a crate.
Isn’t it too much?
Well, no. Both of these have different functions.
The playpen serves as a fence that restricts your puppy from going to places where they might get hurt. Such as around the kitchen counter or near electrical supplies.
A crate, on the other hand, serves as a den. We must keep in mind that dogs are den animals. As such, they have the instinct to hide in a den and rest. That’s how they feel secure.
So, in an urban environment, the crate is your dog’s version of a den. It belongs only to your dog. They are the only ones who can get in there at a time.
A playpen or a crate? Or both?
You should leave your puppy in their playpen if you’re going away for a long time during the day. This is how you ensure the pup will feel comfy until you get back.
The playpen you get should have enough space for the puppy to walk around and play.
As to the carte, it’s a good option when you’re going to be away for a few hours. But to crate your puppy the right way, you should start crate-training them.
If you don’t, you risk that your pup will perceive the crate as a punishment instead of a nice place to be.
#3: Leave a few old T-Shirts that smell like you
You might think this is for the pup to chew on. But… no.
Old clothes of yours serve to comfort the pup. These carry a particular smell your dog is familiar with.
And if your dog could speak, they’d probably say something in the lines of:
“I’m in love with the smell of you!”
Yep, just like Ed Sheeran sings in that song of his (with a little bit of tweaking).
Another option is to give them a comfort blanket if you don’t feel like leaving old clothes to your pup. This will be their very own blanket they can snuggle in when you’re away.
It will serve as a warm hug while you’re not there.
This is kind of like getting a pullover from your favorite person. Imagine it’s your size and your favorite color. What more could you ask for while you’re not together?
#4: Hire a dog sitter or a dog walker
Ok, if you think the expenses are piling up, I don’t blame you. But bear with me, as I’ll give you several alternatives.
Hiring a dog sitter can ensure that your pup is taken care of throughout the whole day. A dog sitter will change the puppy pads so the room won’t get stinky.
What’s more, your pooch will have a play pal. This will keep the puppy occupied with fun activities.
A dog walker is also an option. It will likely cost you less because they’ll come one time during the day. You can schedule the walk at lunch or in the afternoon.
Having a dog walker take over for you can help your puppy get used to doing their business outside faster.
But what if you can’t afford a dog sitter or a dog walker at the moment?
Not to worry. You can still make sure your puppy is safe and sound, and that they have some company.
I’ll share what helped me keep “an eye” on my dog Lissa while she was still a tiny pup.
One day I noticed one of my dog acquaintances named Rosy was looking for a volunteer on Facebook. To be her dog sitter.
Rosy had fostered two furry balls of energy. The puppies needed someone to interact with them during the day. But Rosy was working. Like most of us.
And she couldn’t stay at home with them. So she had to find a solution.
But since Rosy has helped and kept helping multiple dogs, she didn’t have the means to pay for a dog sitter. So that’s when she got creative.
Rosy made a post on Facebook, uploading one of the pups’ most heart-melting photos. She said she needs someone for an hour or two to keep the pups company a day.
She offered to cover travel expenses and to treat the volunteer with original chocolate from her own country. In a matter of hours, Rosy had already found a sitter, if not several.
This gave me an idea to implement with Lissa.
Back at the time, I worked in the corporate environment. I had a lot of colleagues on one big floor. And I’ve talked with a lot of them during the breaks.
All these conversations over time had shown me that there were many dog lovers. But unfortunately for them, not all could afford to take care of a dog.
The main reasons were that most of my colleagues were living in rented apartments. And the landlords would not allow an animal on the premises.
This opened my eyes to an opportunity.
What if I asked several colleagues that I know and trust to keep my dogchild some company?
It was a win-win because Lissa would be excited to have guests. And the colleagues would have another highlight to their week.
I decided to give it a shot and was very happy to see my colleagues agreed to the idea enthusiastically. 🙂
Since then, I have also asked friends who live nearby to take my dog for a walk if I was away from town for a day. And it has worked out perfectly!
My colleagues and friends have shared how nice the experience is for them. And what of a good dog I have.
So, as you can see, there are multiple ways you can arrange a dedicated dog lover to help you with your furbaby. Choose the best option for yourself and enjoy.
#5: Tell your neighbors you have a puppy home alone
If you’ve recently got a puppy, your neighbors will find out one way or another.
So, to make sure you set things on the right foot, it’s best to be proactive. Meaning, share the news when you pass your neighbors in the block. Or on the street.
Show that you’re excited and responsible. It’s also useful to ask your neighbors if they hear your pup whine or bark while you’re away.
Don’t worry if the pup does. It’s normal for puppies to not want you to leave.
I mean, you are their world. And they’ll have to get used to being alone for certain periods during the day.
But what you want to avoid is excessive barking and whining, as this could signal separation anxiety.
And since you’re away during the day, there’s no way of you knowing whether your dog barks or not. If you don’t buy a pet camera or your neighbors don’t tell you, that is.
#6: Interact with your pup a lot when you get back home
Yeah, okay. This is obvious.
But the fact of the matter is that sometimes we forget to do the most obvious things. And it could cost you your puppy’s happiness.
So, as soon as you get back home, leave your phone aside. Don’t be too quick to sit behind your PC.
Let your pup bring you in the moment instead. Pet them, scratch them, play tug of war, or fetch. Try teaching them commands. And reward them with a treat or few.
Interacting with your pup has multiple pros:
- You two will bond.
- You’ll teach your puppy some neat tricks.
- Teaching your dog the right habits will take less time.
- If you do this consistently, you’ll strengthen your bond.
- You’ll relieve any stress and tension that you’ve acquired during the day.
- Your puppy won’t have pent-up energy and is less likely to show destructive behavior.
#7: Hide your socks
Yes – it’s essential to keep your socks away from your puppy. Because dogs of all ages love socks. In fact, they can’t get enough of them!
“So, what’s wrong with that?”, you might ask.
You’ve noticed your pup got a hold of your socks a few times. They carried them around and nibbled on them. And your pup looked beyond cute while doing so.
It might look cute at first (no doubt it is). But if this behavior continues, it could turn into a habit. And your dog might carry it into adulthood. Which is something I doubt you want.
So, it’s best not to allow your dog to play with your socks.
If you want to know where dogs’ love for sock stems from, plus a lot more, check out this…
Reading Tip: Dogs And Socks: 33 Burning Questions Answered + 5 Tips
#8: Puppy-proof the puppy’s room
Now, this one is essential.
Some dog parents decide not to confine their dogchildren to a playpen or a crate. And that’s perfectly fine as long as the room in which your puppy stays, is puppy-proof.
But how can you make sure a room is safe for your pup?
Here I’ll list all the important actions you should take. Before you know it, you’ll be more than capable of preventing accidents that multiple dog parents have experienced.
Here we go:
Get a cable canal
“You should get a cable canal!”, the Internet cable guys told me after I called them to fix the cable for the second time.
Luckily, they didn’t charge me additionally for that, as the service was included in the monthly subscription.
“Lissa has done a good job.”, they added.
When we take aside the possible expenses for repairing the cables, there’s the time involved in fixing the issue.
I’m grateful I lived close to my workplace. Because the Internet cable guys’ work times were overlapping with mine. So there was absolutely no way of fixing this out of work time.
Meanwhile, I had to fix this as soon as possible. My boyfriend had two jobs back then. And he needed the Internet at the end of the day.
But he didn’t speak Bulgarian and neither did the cable guys speak English. So it was up to me.
I either had to ask my boss to take an hour or two and then compensate on another day, or I had to go during my lunch break. I chose the latter.
But you see what I mean. If you can avoid this hassle, why not?
Here are some of the benefits of a cable canal:
- Having one will protect all of your cables.
- Not to mention the house looks tidier this way.
- It’s made out of powder-coated steel and it’s not appealing for dogs to chew on.
So far, so good. But what about other items that your pup could chew on?
Unfortunately, you can’t fit them in the cable canal. But what you can do is…
Buy an anti-chew spray
If you’re wondering whether there’s a spray to deter dogs from chewing, you’re on the right track.
There are multiple options.
One of the most common choices is a spray with a citrus smell.
I myself have tried lemon spray. And it has worked wonders! I’d spray it in the morning, then leave the windows open for 5 minutes, then go to work.
And after I’d come back home, I’d see nothing wrong.
I’ve used lemon deterrent spray to keep the following items safe:
- The Internet cable.
- The wooden kitchen table’s and chairs’ legs.
- The leather couch (which belonged to my landlord and must have been crazy expensive).
Just so you know, you don’t necessarily have to buy such a spray. There are also options to make one at home.
Note: You can use chew deterrent spray while your puppy is still teething. As I previously mentioned, puppies can’t help but chew during this period. That’s how they relieve the itchiness of the growing permanent teeth.
Something to consider is how the chew deterrent spray works.
When I was buying my first lemon spray, I could choose between two different options.
One of them would make dogs choke because they wouldn’t be able to breathe if they get near. When I heard this, I was sure I didn’t want to take that one.
I have dust and a dog allergy, plus asthma. If some of you can relate, you know how hard it can be to breathe at times. And how nasty it feels.
So I decided I wouldn’t want my dog to ever experience anything like that. And I went for the other spray.
Which by the words of the pet store consultant, had less chemistry in it.
Keep plants out of reach
This is both for your puppy’s and your plants’ sake.
I’ve always put the plant pots at home on high shelves where Lissa had no chance of reaching them.
When we were moving, I was holding one of my favorite plants (a Dracaena Golden Coast) in my lap while traveling by car. Lissa was by my side.
She expressed interest in the plant and sniffed it. Before I could open my mouth to firmly say “NO!”, she had already bit one of the leaves.
This didn’t have big consequences for the plant, other than the bite mark. And to my relief, none for Lissa as well.
And I’ve learned my lesson not to leave it to chance whether my dog will ruin the flowers or not.
But even if you don’t care that much about the flowers, it’s still important that you don’t risk it. Some plants are poisonous to dogs.
Keep all electronic devices away
A big danger of having electronic devices in reach is that your dog can swallow the batteries. As a result, your pooch can get burns in the esophagus.
Warning: Keep all types of electronic devices away from your dog. Be careful a lot with disc batteries as they’re small and your dog can easily ingest them.
#9: Introduce baby or dog gates
By putting baby or dog gates, you set limits to where the puppy can go. And you also make sure they won’t harm themselves by climbing on stairs.
Pet gates help prevent accidents when you’re:
- Puttering in the kitchen.
- Taking care of an infant.
- Vacuum cleaning other rooms.
- Trying to focus while working from home.
#BONUS: Let your dog feel the music
Yes – you’ve read that right. The suitable type of music will make your dog feel calm.
A study called ‘The effect of different genres of music on the stress levels of kennelled dogs’ reveals how different types of music influence dog behavior.
Scientists observed that dogs felt less stressed when listening to Soft Rock and Reggae.
According to the canine researcher Stanley Coren, dogs’ cognitive abilities resemble those of a child of 2 or 2.5 years old.
So, it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t play any music to dogs that you wouldn’t play to a child of this age.
Plus, bear in mind:
Just because your dog isn’t moving away from you while you play certain loud sounds doesn’t mean they like your music.
Your dog is just loyal.
And as a companion, they’d stay by your side even though the conditions might not be ideal. Your dog might also go to sleep while listening to music they don’t like.
It has to do with your dog’s natural instincts. They wouldn’t want to appear weak by showing they’re disturbed by their environment.
Note: Keep in mind that dogs’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’. We have trouble hearing anything above 23,000 Hertz, while dogs can hear sounds up to 45,000 Hertz.
With this in mind, I’ve summed up the types of music that are safe to play to your dog And the ones that aren’t.
But before that, let me say a few words about why the certain type of music is appropriate or not.
A study done in 2002 by Dr. Deborah Wells and her colleagues further supports the fact that classical music is soothing to dogs.
When dogs listen to classical beats, they tend to lie down and relax. They’re also less prone to bark.
Research shows that harp music is not only calming to humans but also to dogs. It helps lower:
- The heart rate.
High-pitched music may cause your dog to howl. Your dog may react like that to instruments such as the clarinet and the flute.
This genre is a no-no. Dogs who participated in studies involving heavy-metal music simply left the room.
This is not to say you should stop listening to your favorite music for the sake of your dog. But what you can do is give your canine friend some space.
Let them retreat to another room, where their crate is. Or lower the volume. And most importantly, don’t leave this music as background when you’re gone.
In short, here’s what music to go for:
- Soft rock.
And what music to avoid:
- Heavy metal.
- High-pitched music.
And last but not least, let’s look at the benefits the right music has for dogs:
- Vets can use it to calm down patients.
- During events involving firecrackers, you can make your dog less stressed.
- You can use this method when training your dog, as the calming sounds will help them adapt.
So now you know how music can be your ally and put your dog at ease on multiple occasions.