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My friend has a dog (Hybrid Indian Spitz) who just gave birth to two little pups (one male, one female) two weeks ago. His parents don't want any more dogs, so they want to give them away. He is very fond of the male pup and doesn't want to give it to someone, but his parents won't let him keep it. So he tells me that I should keep it, that way he can at least see him. Even I think the pup is really cute, and I want to keep it

The problem is, I live alone in a one-room apartment. I have a job and I am working 5 days a week. I have to leave for my job early, and I come back home at late evening. So he will be home alone most of the day. Plus there are children in the building playing and running around, so if I leave the pup home alone, they might knock the door just to make the pup bark.

I have did some research on the 'things-to-know-before-keeping-a-pet-dog', I know there will be cost involved in vaccination, plus the responsibility of training and taking care, housebreaking, going out for walk and exercise. I have read that the Indian Spitz are very adaptable to environment (I am guessing living in a one room apartment will push that adaptability to the limit).

My question: is it OK to leave the pup/dog alone for whole day in a one-room apartment, especially with the possibility of kids playing outside? I am worrying these kids' behavior could have potential to torment the pup.

  • Is there a dogwalker in your area? You may be able to arrange for someone to visit in the middle of the day and take your puppy/dog for a walk. – mhwombat May 10 '16 at 18:01
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In your case, you probably shouldn't get the puppy.

Many dogs are okay being left alone all day, because they spend most of the day sleeping anyway. Many, many people have jobs and leave their dogs home all day, but with a one-bedroom apartment you have to put in a little more effort into the dog. If you want to leave them home ALL day, then you should try to get someone to come and take the dog out during the day. Being in a smaller space, the dog can also become really stressed if you don't take it out for longer periods of time. Say, if you leave it home all day and then only take it on a ten minute walk after work, then put it back in the apartment, it can feel cooped up and could get stressed or start to destroy your apartment.

One (more expensive) alternative is a dog daycare center. This can help socialize the dog and also keeps it exercised and entertained. If you do this 2 times a week, the price isn't going to be too bad and it is still better than nothing. A general work day with a dog in an apartment is taking it on a long walk/run before work to tire them out, leave them home with a bit of food/water, come home for lunch and give them a bathroom break, give them a short walk (depending on how close you live from work), then right after work give them another longer walk or a nice park/dog-park visit. Then, right before bed, you should take them out again.

Another important thing to keep in mind is entertaining the dog. This is important in a one-bedroom apartment over a house because of the small space. Make sure to leave them with safe toys (for example, they mustn't be made of rawhide) to play with. If a dog becomes bored, they can become destructive. Another way to keep them entertained is to use puzzles with treat rewards. This can stimulate the dog's mind, which is as important as their body. This can also be accomplished with training when you get home from work or in the morning.

Puppies needs are different. Puppies can't hold their bathroom breaks for as long as older dogs with more bladder control, and have many more needs when it comes to socialization. If you are leaving pretty early in the morning and coming back pretty late in the evening, then I would say you probably shouldn't own a dog. As given above, it is POSSIBLE to own adult dogs if you put in a lot of effort, but puppies have a whole different set of needs.

So to answer your question, yes it CAN be okay for a DOG if you devote more time to compensate for this alone time and have someone to take care of the dog at least a couple times during the day. Although I worry about how early "early" is and how late "late evening" is.

For a PUP I don't think they can hold a bathroom break very long and need socialization, so I would say unless you have someone to take it out and play with it during the day and fulfill these needs then you SHOULDN'T get the pup.

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The big concerns all potential dog owners should consider are:

  • Bathroom Breaks it's best for the dog to have free access to outside, and at the very least bathroom breaks should be on a schedule. Dogs, like us, tend to get used to "going" at the same times every day. Like human children, puppies don't have as good bladder control as their adult counterparts. You won't be able to leave your puppy in all day if you work a 9-5 job.
  • Feeding times Again, it's best to have a regular schedule with this. However, you could automate it with an automatic feeder.
  • Socialization This is the hardest point to handle I think -- Dogs are pack animals and very social. Normally for people who are gone all day, I'd suggest getting a second dog and then spending as much time as possible with them when you are home, but with you living in a one room apartment this may not be realistic. Another option to consider would be doggy day care (most medium-large cities will have options) or hiring a neighborhood teenager to come over and spend time walking/hanging out with your dog.
  • Exercise While small, Indian Spitz tend to be pretty high-energy dogs. Especially since you don't have a yard where he'll be able to run off extra energy, you'll have to spend a lot of time walking and playing with him in your free time. Bored/under-exercised dogs tend to be destructive, disruptive dogs that won't fit in well in apartment life.
  • Training Getting a puppy is a big commitment. They require a lot of training along with the other points. Unlike cats, dogs don't naturally know that they can't poop in the house, and won't know basic obedience commands like sit/stay/lie down/etc. There are great classes at most pet stores/community centers that can help you with this, but if you already have long hours it's unlikely that you'll have the time to dedicate to such an endeavor. If you're already familiar with training dogs, you might be able to handle this yourself (I've had luck training young dogs with 20-minute a day sessions in my own home)

Overall, I'd advise you against getting a puppy in your current situation. It's not impossible, but it would be a lot for you to manage. If you do decide to though, I'd highly recommend talking to the parents of the kids in your apartment building. If they're old enough they may be able to help out with walking and dog sitting while you're away. I did this (in addition to mowing lawns) in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Just make sure you have a good relationship with the kid and their parents so you can make sure they'll be responsible!

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