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Hello! I'm 19 years old, living alone, and I work full time. I knew as soon as I got my own place that I was going to get a dog, and because of my special circumstances, I wanted a dog that would be able to act as an emotional support animal and perform certain specific tasks, almost like a service dog, but not quite. I leaned toward a puppy for that reason. Initially I thought that I would wake up early, walk them, feed them, take them potty, drop them off at doggy day care while I was working, pick them up after I got off work, attend a training class session, go for another walk, go home for play and training, and cuddle up to sleep at the end of the day. Now, however, I'm not quite as sure as I was. Is group puppy training a good idea? Is doggy day care a good idea? I'd be raising this pup more or less alone, working from 6:30am to 3:00pm with an hour lunch. I don't want them to be alone all day. Would it be better to just have someone to check in on them throughout the day? Also, I live in Alaska, and this is my first winter up here. The puppy is going to be born in November, and I'd be bringing them home in the first week of January, when winter will still be in full swing. What are some housebreaking tips you have for pups who are brought home in heavy winter? Exercising? What are the options you'd recommend for this situation? Thanks for your help!
 

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Wow you are taking on a big job at such a young age but good for you! I have no clue about housebreaking a puppy in winter with temperatures like you will have. Perhaps the breeder can give you some info on all your questions. Nine hours of work is a long day. Puppy daycare sounds good to me as long as they also train while they care and the pup isn't just left in a kennel and play area. You probably won't be able to take the puppy there until he is fully inoculated. I think group training will be fine. We did one on one , actually my daughter did as its her dog and her first at training. But I also learned a few new things. the good thing is young puppies sleep a lot the first few weeks they are home. If you have a trust worthy friend I would have them come in as often as willing to take the pup to his potty spot outdoors (if they do that in Alaska)., or at least every 3-4 hours, but I'll tell you in the beginning that is stretching it. We took our guy out every hour the first week, at least then hour 1/2 and worked our way to 2 to 2!/2 then 3. He is 2 and I never have him wait more than 4 hours, but that works for us as someone is always around. Maybe some of the people that live in Canada will have suggestions .
 

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You will definitely be in for a lot of work! We got Bella at 8 weeks old in November and live in Wisconsin so we were potty training in cold & snow - probably not as easy as potty training in Spring or Summer, but still something that can be accomplished.

Daycare you might possibly want to wait until the pup has all it's shots? Not sure if you'd have to, but might be something to think about. If nothing else I'd definitely recommend at least finding someone to let the pup out halfway through the day. Lots of people have puppies AND work full time, so you're not alone there, but as a way to help with potty training if the the pup could be let out at LEAST once during the day will help move the potty training forward.

As for training classes, I love them! My pup has been through 3 or 4 rounds of group training classes through a local trainer here. It's helped with a lot of different skills and manners as well as socialization. As first time puppy owners, our trainer, who has many years of training experience and has also owned her own dogs/puppies for many years, has been a great help and resource to us so if you find a good trainer it can definitely be beneficial. Our trainer also offers like "fun & games" classes and nose work classes and has group dog walks that anyone can attend which is nice as well so depending on where you go to train, they may offer some other options as well which is always nice.

For the exercises and winter - honestly my pup was fine just running around the house. Puppies get tired pretty quick and sleep a lot so it doesn't take much. When my Bella turned about 6 or 7 months is when her energy really started to be through the roof - by then it should be closer to spring so you can start doing more outdoors (hopefully, anyways! Not sure when Alaska spring really starts, lol)
 

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You could also consider rescuing a dog,2-5yrs old,already house trained and all :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you for all the tips everyone!

I'll be sure to ask the breeder for tips on potty training puppies up here in winter, I'm surprised I hadn't thought of that, thank you.

I am leaning towards a doggy day care where they'll be kept active and be able to socialize and play and maybe get some training in once they've had their shots. Until then, though, I might just have to pay someone to check in on them. Ideally I would take them out several times a day, but with my job that's just not really possible. I'd be able to come home for a bit on lunch, but that's not enough. This is going to take some thought, but I'm sure I'll think of something I can do.

I think that group training classes would be really beneficial, but I guess I just don't really know how that works so I'm a bit wary of it. I suppose I can call a few training places here and see how the dynamic of those classes works.

I have a pretty big basement, so there will likely be lots of running around happening down there until it warms up outside, and then we can go hiking!!

Yes, I did put a lot of thought into getting an older dog, but because of the specific training purpose I have in mind, a puppy just made more sense. Perhaps for my next dog, I'll rescue. :)
 

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Puppies are fun to cuddle, but don't provide emotional support until they're much older! Some Boxers are so independent, and stubborn, they may be non-compliant with your needs:cry2: Veterinary care can be expensive, and it's not unusual for a puppy to ingest a foreign object. This could require surgery that might run well over $3,000. I think doggie daycare can also be pricey.

A family I know, here in Wisconsin, was forced to use their garage for puppy potty during a really rough winter! They never were able to get the dog to consistently use the outdoors after that, and had to relocate it. If you have a house with a door to the outside, you'll also need to make sure a path is shoveled to put the puppy on the ground. I've done this in freezing temperatures, with gale winds, and puppy diarrhea! It's nasty, but it helped to have a husband that took turns!

If you have a dog rescue organization nearby, you might volunteer to do foster care. Getting a young dog that has been crate trained already, in the spring, might be another option. It's so AWFUL to have to relinquish a dog you've grown to love. I just want this to work out for you, and for you to know what puppy care requires.
 
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