My wife and I are considering a mini poodle. Neither of us have owned pets in the past. I need a general sense if poodles will be a good fit for us. Among the things which attracted us to poodles was that they are considered to be intelligent, kid-friendly, and hypoallergenic. So far we are thinking of an indoor dog.
From what i gathered online about poodles, it seems that poodles can get bored when left alone and develop problems like depression, etc. I also read that when they get bored, they apparently try to entertain themselves and this could have undesriable effects on furniture / carpets / draperies, etc.
We both start from home at around at 7.30 AM and we get home anywhere from 5 to 6 PM. We do not have the ability to break off from work in the afternoon and come home and drive back.
In your experience, is this a big deal to leave poodles alone for so long ?
I have only owned a poodle (standard) for a month so I just wanted to comment on the hypoallergenic thing. No animal is truly allergen free. Hypoallergenic actually means "low-allergen" and the reason that poodles are better for people with allergies is that they do not shed and produce less allergens/dander. If you are very allergic to dogs you should test your reaction to the specific dog you want to bring home.
I have dog allergies so I have done a lot of research about this. I am great with our poodle but I do get a bit of a reaction after I brush him (some hair does come off during brushing). Nothing serious for me though and it's totally manageable.
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That's too long for a puppy to be on its own for sure. But you are right, even adult poodles get lonely and will destroy things or just get sad if they are alone a lot. You might want to consider some kind of day care while you're gone? A family member, neighbour or something like that? Remember too, you will have to exercise the dog every day too so that would need to happen before or after your work (in my experience before is better, so they are tired and ready to loaf around while you're gone). They can't stay outside on their own so if you did leave a poodle at home, he/she would need to be in a safe room that they couldn't escape from or get into anything while you were gone. Poodles are great and most poodle owners always want a poodle for future dogs, once they've owned one, but they do need lots of attention. They're not hypoallergenic but they are easier for allergic people to be around than most other dogs. Whether they're good with kids or not depends on the individual poodle. Mine LOVE kids, but some poodles don't really. Exposure and training make a big difference, and early socialization, but the individual dog's personality probably is the biggest factor there.
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Frankly, I'd say that 10 hours is too long to leave any dog on a regular basis, especially when you reckon that there will inevitable be days when you are delayed by shopping, traffic, etc, etc. An older dog would cope better than a younger one, especially with a short break or visit during the day - partly for company, and partly because holding the bladder too long can lead to problems with bladder stones and infections.
But have you really thought through what dog ownership means? You will need to fit in at least 30 minutes walk before you leave for work, and another hour or more walk and play and training in the evening, whatever the weather and possibly in the dark- a run in the yard is not the same (dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise). Puppies need to go out every hour or two for the first few weeks while they are getting the hang of house training - and often during the night as well - and need to continue to go out frequently until they get full control at around 6 months. Pups need careful socialising with dogs and humans of all shapes and sizes, and training to raise them into good companions - think of a human baby growing from toddler to teens in 12 months, with everything to learn! An adult dog may have undesirable habits or fears learned in their past life (house soiling, separation anxiety, fear of children or other dogs...), which can take a lot of time and effort to overcome. An elderly dog may sleep all day, but is likely to need more frequent toilet breaks and may have other health issues. Leaving the dog outside does not resolve any of these problems - it would just make them worse, and probably add a few more!
You don't say why you want a dog at this stage? It is clear though that you are considering the well-being of the dog as well as your own wishes, and doing your research, which is excellent! People do successfully combine fulltime working with dog ownership, but it is not easy. I assume from your mention of allergies that cats are out of he question? Two sibling kittens would be a much easier proposition...
ANY breed or mix can get bored, destructive. That's too long to be left alone, just for potty breaks. How you YOU like to not potty for 10 hours or more. So it goes in the house. Then you say you can't train it and turn it into rescue or a shelter. Not fair.
Cats would be a better option for you.
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Well, he's just asking for advice. He's never had a pet before.
The other option is to hire a dog walker who could take your dog out for walks and to use the bathroom. There are also day care facilities you could take the dog a few times a week for extra exercise. Whatever the case the dog shouldn't be alone that long without a break - definitely not for a puppy.
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Company for poodles
As someone said before its not just poodles that will get destructive when they are bored, but dogs in general will do that when they are tense, not exercises, and bored. Also you have to think about not the dog as an adult but when the dog is a puppy and will need more care (training, potty training, etc). You should think about getting a medium sized to small dog and possibly an adult (shelters ) I hope you find the right dog for your lifestyle!
No matter what breed, a dog cannot be left alone for that amount of time, indoors or outdoors! You are only setting yourself up for disappointment if you don't take into account the time and commitment it takes to raise a well mannered dog! As someone already mentioned, it's like raising a furry child! They don't come to you with set 'good'behavior!
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I am really impressed that even though you and your wife have never owned a dog you are wise enough to get advice. This shows me how responsible and caring you both are. I agree with everyone that it is too long to leave any dog of any age. Imagine yourself trying to hold your bladder that long everyday. Also dogs are pack animals and really do not want to spend that much time alone. When I got my first spoo I was an executive with a major firm working long hours. What I did was wake up every morning at 5:30 take her out for a 45 minute walk and then throw the ball in the house and play training games with her until I was ready to leave at 8:30. I paid someone to come over everyday and walk her midday. When I got home at 6 she was waiting for me because she was sleeping all day so I would spend the next hour playing with her and throwing the ball. I made sure I adopted a spoo that was 8 months old because on my schedule I could not potty train her. I stopped going out after work and had to have someone go a second time if I had a late meeting. This was not an easy time, I always felt guilty. I loved her dearly but it was exhausting. I now have my own business and bring my spoos with me making it much easier. Back then they did not have doggy daycare or else I would have done that. I am not telling you not to get a mini but please plan wisely. A happy well trained dog is a joy everyone should experience but a bored lonely dog is not a happy one. Good luck and thanks for being so open to advice.
Before we got our spoo at 8 weeks old, we tried out "staggering" our schedules so that the puppy would not spend so long in the crate in one stretch. One of us would walk the dog at 6am. My spouse became the "early" one who'd leave home before 7:15. I became the "late" one who kept the pup company and fed him, then crated the pup and left for work 8:45. One of us would come home for lunch at 12:30 to let the puppy out and pee/stretch. My spouse then got home at 4ish and do the afternoon walk / training and dinner, and I'd get home 6-7 and do play / training and grooming. We made sure we could keep the schedule before we got the pup. When Darku came home at 8 weeks old, he took to the schedule very quickly and did not have accidents in his crate.
I know my situation is not quite the same as yours as both my spouse and I have 10 minute commutes to our respective offices and one of us can let the puppy out midday, but maybe a combination of staggering your schedules and having a friend/neighbor/hired-dog-walker come by midday to let your puppy pee could work for you.
Darku is also our first dog (for either of us). The "dummies" series of books is silly, but we found "poodles for dummies" to be quite helpful. Our schedule, which we still go by, is based on the schedule recommended in the book (link below).