5 Tips for Juggling Work and Your Dog

Sparky Steps - 5 Tips for Juggling Work and Your Dog

5 Tips for Juggling Work and Your Dog

More than half of households own pets in the United States, and dogs are the most popular choice of animal companion. In the last 10 years, dog ownership has jumped 29 percent, according to a Research and Markets report. Some dog owners have schedules that allow them to spend most of their time with their furry friends, but a lot of people work full-time and have to leave their dog at home. This can be a tough situation. Dogs are social, active animals that need time to run, play, and be with you. But, it is possible to juggle your full-time work schedule and your responsibilities as a pet parent. Here are five tips to keep your dog happy and healthy while you are at work.

 

  1. Work on Crate Training.

Some dogs will have no problem being given free reign of the house or apartment while you aren’t there, but a lot of pups can’t be trusted. The last thing you want when you come home from work is to find accidents on the floor or destroyed furniture. If you know you are going to be leaving your dog alone for long stretches, you’ll need to work on crate training. Crate training involves showing your dog that the crate is a safe, comfortable place for them to be when you aren’t there. Make the crate comfortable with a dog bed. Remember; do not use the crate as a way to punish your dog. This will teach them to associate the crate with a negative experience, making it more difficult to get them inside and more likely they will feel anxious when they are.

 

  1. Set Aside Time for Exercise Every Day.

You might be wiped out after work, but your dog has tons of energy to burn. Make exercise a regular part of your routine. This ensures your dog has time to play and socialize with you. A simple walk or a long session of fetch in the morning before you leave and after you get home keeps your dog happy and in shape.

 

  1. Give Your Dog Things to Do When You’re at Work.

Eight hours is a long time for a dog to be alone with nothing to do, which is why a lot of dogs act out with destructive tendencies. Instead of letting your dog get bored and anxious, find different toys and treats to occupy their time. A KONG with frozen peanut butter inside can keep a pup happy for hours (just don’t rely too heavily on treats). You can also try toys that have a puzzle element to engage your dog’s natural sense of curiosity.

 

  1. Know the Signs of Separation Anxiety.

If your dog spends the hours away from you ripping up their bedding, clawing their way to escape, and/or barking, they are suffering from separation anxiety. Never ignore those signs. You can work to correct mild separation anxiety with training techniques (the ASPCA has some great tips), but more severe cases will warrant a conversation with your vet.

 

  1. Find a Dog Walking Service.

Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, eight hours alone in a crate is a lot to ask of your dog. Break those eight hours up by hiring a local friendly dog walker. This gives your dog a chance to go to the bathroom and get some exercise before you get home. Find a company who will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the person taking care of your dog when you are away from home. Just because you work full-time does not mean you should give up the love and companionship of a dog. It just means you need to get creative. When you come home and see the pure joy on that furry face, you’ll know it is all worth it.

 

Written by Carrie Pallardy

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