My husband's a contractor, and by law is required to take 100 days off for every 365 days he works on a contract. His 100 days is coming up in September. And my own job doesn't care where I work, so long as I am productive. ("I don't care if you only 'work' two hours a day if you're getting everything you need done.")

We have a decent-sized corner lot with a fence (it needs some work - there are some holes by the stream), but we also have four cats and not a lot of knowledge of doggie care. My plan is to use a lot of training and positive reinforcement, and to spend as much time as I can with the pup to ensure a good, trusting bond. My choice will be to leave the dog unattended as little as possible. I don't want to be one of those people who tosses their dog into the backyard and comes back two days later and goes, "Huh, where'd he go this time..."

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There are still going to be days where it poops in the house, though, right? Things like that make me nervous. I can scoop a litterbox but I've never had to reach down and grab a dog turd through a plastic bag before.

Do you have any tips or good resources for first-time potential dog owners?