Having a dog requires a ton of your time, but does being busy mean you shouldn’t have a dog at all? Luckily it’s possible to raise a well-adjusted dog even while working a full-shift. There are several efficient ways to keep your dog occupied and secure while you’re away for work. These include doggy daycare, entertainment with dog TV, toys, games, music
1) Sign Up for Doggy Day Care
Sign your dog up for doggy day care. It works out great when you’re working really long hours. But, there are a couple of things that you’d definitely want to consider before dropping off your beloved pet into the care of someone you do not know:
- The first thing you’ll want to look for is the ratio of employees to dogs. Also, cleanliness is a major factor. When you’re choosing a doggy daycare center make sure that other dogs are vaccinated and treated for fleas.
- While you’re away, good daycare facilities hire specially trained people who know how to keep dogs happy, active and safe. If your neighborhood has one, go check it out and get some feedback from other dog owners who use the daycare.
- Make sure that the environment that you’re sending your dog into has good health management and it’s not too crowded. Try to pick a daycare that has a lower number of dogs and it’s providing an environment for dogs who want to be socializing, instead of dogs that are being taught to socialize.
- The dog training method that is used has to be done throughout the early stages of your dog’s life. Then you’ll provide an environment for your pooch to go and practice the social skills in that environment; which is the doggy daycare.
A complete guide from CNN on how to find a good doggy daycare can be read here.
2) Get a Dog Companion
Think about getting your dog a companion. Naturally, this method to save your pet from loneliness depends on many factors:
- If you can afford it and have the space for it, consider adopting one more dog. By doing so, you’ll save an abandoned animal’s life and provide your pet with a companion to socialize with, which sounds like a win-win.
- When deciding to stick to this plan make sure that the new pet is healthy and has been vaccinated in advance. A lot of shelters would also let you foster the pet of your choice. So if everything goes smoothly you can eventually adopt it.
- Hire a dog walker if there is a pet care facility in your area. They’ll most likely provide a dog walking service. This means that you can schedule regular visits and an experienced person will take your pooch for a walk during the day if you work long hours.
- An experienced dog walker will be able to give your pooch an adequate amount of daily exercise. So make sure to get someone who is capable.
What Should You Do When You Go To Work
The most important thing an owner can provide a dog is security. It’s important for competent dog owners to have good management skills, teach for mastery and have high expectations for their pets. Capable homes have rules and techniques that can assure peace while you’re away.
- A well-managed home is a predictable environment. It isn’t a guessing game. If you have to give your pet a list of demands or reprehension, that means that your dog doesn’t really know what they have to do while you’re gone.
- The home must be a safe and protected environment where a dog can come to learn without fear. Dogs need to feel that their humans are in control and are responsible for their environment. Teach them how you’d like for them to respond when you leave.
- All training techniques should be rehearsed. The greater the structure of a lesson, the lower the error rate and the higher the achievement rate. You’ll find that adequate home management is what will ultimately keep both you and your pup confident and assured while you’re temporarily away.
- Don’t ever mistreat your pet while they’re learning. The punishment chosen must be adequate, reasonable and befitting. The number one problem with dogs isn’t discipline, but it is the lack of technique and routine.
- It may be a good idea to supply your pup with a GPS tracker. That way you’ll always know where your pup is with the help of an app.
I have also written an article that goes in-depth about managing anxiety in dogs when they are left alone.
1) Home Entertainment
When you come home to resist the urge to play with your pup the moment they greet you at the door. It will help normalize your departure. Then, they’ll start to learn that your leaving is an everyday thing and not the end of the world. Here are 11 ways to keep your dog entertained while you’re away:
Toys don’t need to be expensive, but having a toy that is challenging for your puppy or dog will be tremendously entertaining. Chasing and playing with kongs are a really suitable way to keep your pet busy. Complete a toy with peanut butter or your dog’s favorite food right before leaving for work.
Playing an enjoyable game with your dog can be full of entertainment and rewarding too. Hide the snacks through the entire house or yard and make an effort to not let your pet see where you put them. It can also help distract and calm your dog if they tend to be a little nervous or uptight.
Studies show that music can reduce a dog’s anxiety and nervous behaviors like barking and destruction. However, your fur baby is more likely to relax with music similar to classical because the simpler the sound, the greater the relaxation response. Choosing something easy to listen to can create a soothing atmosphere.
There are a lot of dog relaxation music videos on youtube like this one.
Leave the television on. As you head out, always remember to keep your tv on. There are tv channels that are made especially for dogs. For example, dogtv is a 24/7 channel that shows dog-friendly programs. These shows are scientifically developed to keep dogs from feeling lonely when they’re left at home on their own.
6) Play Dates
You might find that your friends are in precisely the same boat as you are when it comes to leaving their puppies. An excellent way to help would be to provide play dates. You’ll realize that the dogs perform, sometimes ferociously initially, but they calm down once the excitement is all over.
7) Snack Time
There are ways to mentally enrich your dog. Put their snack into a food toy, then they’ll get mental stimulation by finding creative ways to fetch the snack out of the toy.
If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your pup at home you can always call a friend or family member to check on him/her. To ease your mind, there are many dog monitor apps where you can literally see your dog at home. You can pre-record things and even talk to your dog if you were to witness an anxiety episode.
Once you find a toy that your dog likes, hide them around the house. Therefore, the dog will have to hunt for them. This kind of game allows your dog to eat, be active and then fall asleep. So it is a highly beneficial technique to use when you’re at work for a full shift.
10) Prevent Separation Anxiety
To help minimize separation anxiety, exercise before leaving the house. Take your puppy outdoors for about 30 minutes to an hour so they’ll get their potty break-in and their energy out. The goal is to give them enough mental and physical stimulation so they’ll be too tired to even notice you’re gone.
11) Create a Doggy Zone
Create a secure doggy zone. Find an area of your home where you can set up a secure spot just for your pup. You’ll want to put up a portable pen and attach it to a pet crate. Place a potty pad a little ways away from the crate so your pup can teach themselves to keep a clean bed.
Crate training has been covered and I have given extensive information about crate training in this article.
12) Waiting for Your Return
Open the blinds and curtains and set a chair near the window. Your pup would absolutely love to see you coming in the driveway when you return. They will also love to watch neighbors pass by, keeping them occupied while you’re away.
Do’s and Don’ts
- My biggest suggestion is to make sure to be very observant of your pet. Have confidence and a consistent routine. You might even need to wake up an hour earlier. Dogs are instinctively social animals and can get anxious when they’re lonely or bored.
- Dogs can feel energy. Therefore, you should try not to feel sad and nervous when leaving your pet alone.
- Be confident and certain. Confusion leads to the origin of most dysfunctional issues. Being uncertain about what to do is one of the most irritating things on the planet to a dog. So dogs cope the only way they know-how and that’s usually by acting out.
- Assure your dog’s safety by keeping doggy doors safely secured. Also, it’s important to keep the windows and gates locked.
- Be careful around other animals. Make sure that you are aware of all of your dog’s activities while you are away.
Setting Rules for Your Dog
We use rules to set limits. So set rules for your dog and your dog-sitter. With great techniques, things will go smoothly in the home without discipline.
Training your dog to cope will ultimately make your absence easier to deal with. Throughout the training, be supportive and loving, you’ll soon have the results you want.
Dog Schedule for Working Owners
If you’re a dog owner and have a full-time job. you may also be worried about your dog staying alone at home. A bored and lonely pup can become destructive to your furniture and clothes. So, it’s very important to improve boredom in dogs by having a set routine.
- Your pet will not be joyful or mentally healthy if your dog is at home alone for hours on end without needing to do something daily. Start waking up and taking them to use the restroom at the same time daily.
- Always have a consistent feeding schedule. Dogs will be less prone to expecting food and snacks all day. If you can’t make it home on time to feed them, try to have someone else check on them every few hours.
- Sometimes we simply must wear our dogs out, especially younger dogs. Make sure they’re exercising to keep them busy.
- Have a grooming schedule. Grooming would be best received if your dog remembers the grooming team. Try to choose the same location with the same staff members.
- Always remember to get vaccinations and flea treatments. Get it around the same time, each month and year. Keep it in a calendar because it’s easy to forget when you’re busy and working a full schedule.
Conclusion on Having a Dog and Working 9-5
You can teach your pet that saying goodbye for a few hours doesn’t mean you’re leaving forever. It’s natural for dogs to be upset when human family members leave. Especially, if they’ve never been taught to relax. Fortunately, there are ways you can both build and keep your dog’s confidence in your absence.