Raising a Labradoodle puppy when you work full time is not ideal, but it is possible. The key is to know what your Labradoodle puppy will need during the hours you are away.
Ideally, you should try to take time off work when you first bring your puppy home. This way, you can look after them and start to form that strong bond with your dog.
If this isn’t possible, you will need to arrange for someone to help you, such as a professional dog sitter.
And, once your Doodle is old enough, you can consider alternatives like doggy day cares.
Raising a Labradoodle Puppy When You Work Full Time
In most cases, a Labradoodle puppy will be 8 weeks old when they first join your family.
Your puppy is very brave to leave everything they’ve ever known and trust you to provide for all of their needs!
But, two months old is still too young to stay home alone all day. Especially since young puppies don’t have large bladders.
Labradoodle puppyhood is a brief but critical time period in life. So, it’s important that you do everything you can to help it go by smoothly.
Puppies can be a lot of work. In fact, an 8 week old puppy might need more care than you first thought.
When Labradoodle Puppies First Come Home
Although picking up your Labradoodle puppy is exciting and fun for you, it can be very scary for your pup.
They’re leaving their mother, their siblings, and the only home they’ve ever known before this.
So, they’ll need you by their side to help make the transition less stressful.
On top of this, puppies need to be socialized and trained pretty much from the time they come home.
For instance, potty training is a priority for most families. And, socialization is vital in puppies younger than 16 weeks to reduce behavioral problems when they’re adults.
Along with all of this, you’ll want to start forming a bond with your dog. This includes playtime, feeding them, and more.
All of which is harder when you work full time.
Can You Raise a Labradoodle Puppy if You Work Full Time?
It is possible to raise a Labradoodle puppy if you work full time, but it is going to be quite challenging at times.
In most cases, you will need to hire someone to help you out. The best option is often a professional dog sitter, or someone that works closely with animals.
They will be more knowledgeable about puppy needs, and will be able to follow any instructions you leave regarding potty training, socialization, and daily routines.
It may be easy to find friends that are willing to look after your Labradoodle puppy whilst you’re away.
But, despite good intentions, many friends may be less happy to put in the work needed when they realise how tiring puppies can be!
You need to find someone reliable to look after your puppy. And, both you and your chosen puppy sitter need to be aware of exactly what your Labradoodle needs each day.
Can Someone Just Check on my Puppy?
Many people hope to hire a friend or dog sitter to just pop in and check on their Labradoodle puppy every few hours.
They may even hope to go home during lunch to do it themselves and save some money.
But, this is not enough contact for a very young puppy.
Once you understand what a young Labradoodle puppy needs, you’ll see why it’s best to have someone there for the whole day.
What Your Labradoodle Puppy Needs When Home Alone
These are the essentials that Labradoodle puppies need in their daily lives:
- Crate and sleep time
- Regular meals
- Frequent potty breaks
- “You” time
- Training and socialization
- Exercise and play
Let’s take a closer look at these needs.
Crate and Sleep Time
Most Labradoodle owners opt to use a crate for their puppy. This gives their Doodle a safe space to rest, nap, and play whilst they are away from home.
Crate training aims to mimic the confined comfort of a low, enclosed den. This is similar to the den that a young wild canid might take shelter in whilst their mother is out hunting.
But, despite this, don’t expect a Labradoodle puppy to instantly grasp that this is what a crate is for. After all, your puppy has only just said goodbye to their littermates, who they shared a bed with.
They’re now alone in a place where everything and everyone is new.
At first, your Labradoodle may be anxious about crate confinement. So, let them sleep in the crate next to your bed for the first few nights at home.
And, build up their time in the crate in very small increments.
A Crate, Not A Cage
It’s important to note here that you should never just shut your Labradoodle puppy in their crate whilst you’re working full time.
This can be stressful for them, leading to depression, built up energy, and anxiety.
Puppies need lots of sleep, some up to 20 hours per day, but they won’t get this all at once.
The crate can be an effective training tool when used properly. But, if abused, it can lead a very unhappy puppy, and may have you coming home to lots of potty accidents.
Ideally, you will not leave a Labradoodle puppy alone in a crate until they are happy in there, after you’ve slowly built up their duration with positive reinforcement.
In an emergency, puppies will be fine for an hour or so in their crate alone. But, this is much shorter than the average working day.
So, you need a puppy sitter that can spend the day with your dog, and not just lock them away.
Until they’re adults, puppies will need 3 to 4 meals a day. This is because their small stomachs will struggle to eat large meals twice a day, like an adult Labradoodle would.
If you split your puppy’s calorie allowance into only two meals, your puppy may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and general stomach upset.
Your work schedule may allow you to feed the morning and evening meals.
But, most owners who work full time outside the home find that they need help with feeding during the day.
Alternatively, you can try to arrange to come home a couple of times in the day, even when you’re paying for a dog sitter.
Feeding your Labradoodle puppy personally is a great way to build your bond, and you can use their daily food allowance in training.
Frequent Potty Breaks
It takes around 12 months for a puppy’s gastrointestinal system to stabilize. Until then, expect accidents, whether your Labradoodle puppy wants them to happen or not.
In other words, expecting your puppy to “hold it” for several hours whilst you’re away is unrealistic at best, and cruel at worst.
The general rule of thumb is to add one hour of bladder and bowel control for each month of age.
So, at eight weeks (two months) old, your Labradoodle might be able to hold it for two hours. But, this is not guaranteed, and some puppies may need to pee as often as every 20 minutes.
Especially when they’re learning where to use the toilet. And especially if they’re in a stressful situation – such as being home alone.
You will need someone else at home when you’re at work to let your Labradoodle out to pee and poop.
Otherwise, you’ll come home to lots of puppy accidents.
Labradoodles are intensely social, people-focused dogs.
Not surprising when we consider the breeds they come from – the friendly Labrador Retriever and the loyal Standard Poodle!
Labradoodles live for human companionship.
You can expect your Labradoodle puppy to want and need as much “you” time as they can get. Especially considering that this is the first time they will have been truly alone, without even their siblings or mother for company.
Although it’s great for you to spend time with your dog to build your bond, someone else will be fine if you’re working full time.
If you can’t personally be there to spend time with your Labradoodle puppy as they develop, you will need to find or hire someone else to fulfil your pup’s social needs.
Training and Socialization
As long as you get your Labradoodle from a reputable dog breeder, your puppy will have started some basic training and socialization before coming home with you.
It’s your job to continue training and socializing your puppy in all the important areas. This includes:
- Basic commands
- Potty training
- And socialization to strange people and animals
You may want to consider if your work schedule will allow you to train your puppy before and after work.
This is ideal, since the bond with your new Labradoodle puppy will grow stronger with each training session you do together.
Exercise and Play
Many Labradoodle owners choose the fun-loving, energetic Labradoodle because they want an active dog to go walking, hiking, and adventuring with.
But, when your Labradoodle is very young, you should restrict exercise to your home and yard until your dog’s veterinarian clears you to venture out.
Labradoodle puppies get a surprising amount of exercise from simply exploring your home, playing, and training.
As a rule of thumb, puppies only need 5 minutes of exercise per month of their life. So, at 12 weeks old, they should only get 15 minutes of formal exercise. At 16 weeks, this can increase to 20 minutes, and so on.
By 8 months old, your Doodle may enjoy some longer walks, of up to 40 minutes! But, other dogs may also enjoy some energetic time in the dog park, or learning to retrieve.
If possible, arrange your work schedule so you can give your Labradoodle puppy some interactive free play time before you leave. This will help to build the bond between you.
Then, in the evenings, when you’re home together, you can schedule another free play session.
What About Doggy Day Care?
Until your Labradoodle puppy is fully vaccinated, they aren’t allowed to interact with unvaccinated dogs, or to go on the ground outside.
This is because they’re at risk of serious health problems like parvovirus.
Your puppy won’t be fully vaccinated until the age of 16 weeks (four months). So, you will have to wait till this age until this becomes an option for you.
And, since most puppies come home at 8 weeks old, you’ll need to find a dog sitter for those first two months.
Or, reduce your working hours, and take plenty of trips home during the working day to look after your pup.
Should You Get a Labradoodle Puppy When You Work Full Time?
Today, more than ever before, many employers are offering workers flexible schedules or even remote work accommodation where possible.
But, the truth is, the more time you can spend with your Labradoodle puppy whilst they are young, the stronger your bond will become.
Whenever possible, you want to be able to tend to your puppy’s needs personally.
It is definitely possible to raise a Labradoodle puppy if you work full time, but you will miss out on a lot of that early care, which can be disappointing.
And, it can be expensive, as you will have to hire help. You cannot just leave a young Labradoodle puppy on their own all day.
Labradoodles are social dogs, and puppies have a lot of needs in their early life. So, they will need someone with them.
Raising a Labradoodle Puppy When You Work Full Time
Are you considering adopting and raising a Labradoodle puppy when you work full time outside the home?
It’s definitely possible to raise a Labradoodle puppy whilst working full time, but you’re going to need some help!
Let us know about your experiences in the comments.
References and Resources
- Mattinson, P. ‘Advice on Raising a Puppy When You Work Full Time’, The Labrador Site (2019)
- Anglin, S. ‘Australian Labradoodle Temperament’, Good Day Doodles (2021)
- Reisen, J. ‘How Much do Puppies Sleep?’, AKC (2019)
- Harris, T. ‘Potty Training Your Labradoodle’, Providence Hill Australian Labradoodles (2021)
- Coopshaw, K. ‘Australian Labradoodle Puppy Training & Puppy Care’, Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association (2020)
- Anderson, D. ‘Australian Labradoodle Puppy Care’, Labradoodles of the North (2021)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Nandi, S. & Kumar, M. ‘Canine Parvovirus: Current Perspective’, Indian Journal of Virology (2010)