I have been thinking about getting a dog (a medium or large breed - most likely large), as I have always wanted one, and my daughter wants one. I live in north-central Florida, where we have hot summers, warm springs and autumns, and cold to warm winters, in case anyone is wondering what the outside conditions would be. The issue lies in that I work 12-hour graveyard-shifts on a rotating schedule, and my daughter is with her mother on days I work.

I work from 7pm to 7am. If we look at my work-schedule on a bi-weekly basis, the first week I work Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The second week, I work Wednesday and Tuesday, and I am off the rest of the days that week - Mind you, I would be getting off at 7am on my first "off-day", and then probably sleeping until about 2pm.

My idea is that my dog would be both an outside and inside dog, but while I am at work, she will live outside, and while I am home, she can come inside. It would be about 12.5 hours by the time I leave the house to go to work and the time I come back, so that's far too long to let her stay inside having to hold in her movements while also seriously increasing the risk of an accident caused by an inability to hold in said movements or from her simply getting bored and tearing up the place.

While she is outside, she would have about half an acre of fenced in yard to frolic in. I would obviously build her some type of kennel with access to plenty of water, and food for the night. The house is located in a rural area.

On days that I am off and home at night, though, I would like her to be able to sleep inside.

So, my questions are:

Is it too long of a period of time to be leaving her alone and outside?

Is this schedule too crazy for her to understand that she can only come inside and/or sleep inside while I'm home, and the opposite while I am away? (This is the main question I am seeking an answer for.)

What kinds of affects would this have on a dog if my daughter and I take the time to love her while I am home?


1 Answer 1


12 hours is not that bad if you give them attention on both ends. You are going to get off shift tired but give them a few minutes if not 20. Most dogs really like to go for walks.

The breed matters. Not going to list off what you can get from a Google searches "dogs that need a lot of attention" and "dogs that are independent".

In addition to a dog house have an overhead roof for rain and shade. Consider a dog run even with a fenced yard. The can be time you want them in the run.

In many way two dogs is easier than one. If they are young they will play with each other. Not as important in an older dog. I would not have an age difference of more than a couple years as the problem is when the older dog gets old and frail they can get knock down by the younger dog.

If it is cold and they have built up a winter coat then don't rotate in and out. They will get too hot indoors. You can bring them indoors for a couple hours. You can even have them sleep indoors but it might not be comfortable for them.

My dogs sleep indoors in temperate weather and indoors in summer and winter. They adjust.

  • Maybe add options for a doggy door and/or heated dog house, to your answer? Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:49
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    @JamesJenkins OP is from Florida and states "while I am at work, she will live outside".
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:54
  • You talked about "If it is cold and they have built up a winter coat then don't rotate in and out", I assume you are trying to create a more general answer that is not specific to Florida. Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:55
  • @JamesJenkins I am not. Most dogs can deal with mild winter with coats. Even in FL they will get a bit of a coat. Many dogs can even deal with a cold winter with an adequate shelter. I think a heater is dangerous.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:59

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