Leaving your dog at home during the day can go smoother if you learn how to care for your dog & work a full-time job with these tips.
At the top of many dog owners’ wish list is the ability to take their dog to work. And while many companies offer that benefit, the vast majority of us are still sadly forced to part with our furry friends every day for several hours in order to earn a living.
Unless you work at a dog-friendly company or work from home, you’ll most likely face daily separation from your dog. This leaves many dog lovers wondering if they’re doing the right thing by having a dog and working full time.
While it’s important not to wear rose-colored glasses around such a question, it should also not prevent a dog lover from making the choice to adopt a dog. However, any conscientious dog parent should carefully consider their decision—both costs and commitment, and plan accordingly.
Know Who Your Dog Is When You’re Away
If you have not yet adopted a dog, then carefully consider your choice. Age, breed, and background are going to have an enormous impact on the dog’s ability to adapt successfully to your lifestyle and schedule.
According to the dog walking app, Wag, “Labs, cocker spaniels, border collies, toy poodles, and German shorthair pointers seem to suffer more than other breeds” whereas a Maltese or a Bassett may be more amenable to hanging out at home alone. Bustle provides at least 16 dog breeds that are recommended for those who work full time.
If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, you’ll want to do so at a time that makes sense. It might be necessary to use vacation time to get the puppy situated and the training regimen started. You might need to trade off vacation time with a spouse or loved one who can stay home or get home earlier to help with puppy care.
If this is not possible or cost prohibitive, consider adopting a dog a little bit older that has been fostered by others and potty trained.
Know Where Your Dog Is When You’re Away
The environment is a critical factor to consider when developing a care plan for your dog while you’re away during the day.
There are a variety of options to consider—you can have your dog stay at home while you’re at work or you can find a doggie daycare for your dog. If you opt to have your dog stay at home, you’ll have to decide whether to crate your dog or confine your dog to a certain space.
Even if your dog is confined to a crate or room, you must still ensure that the crate and room are safe for your dog and that there is little to no chance of your dog engaging in destructive chewing and scratching behavior that can damage your home. Each dog is different and you will need to test different strategies and outfit your home to accommodate your dog.
Some dogs can succeed with free access to the household or with a dog door and access to a fenced yard. If this is not possible, consider the option of a crate or room for your dog. A secure room can be an extra bedroom, laundry room, or portion of a room. Gates can be used to secure the room.
Provide your dog with his/her favorite toys, some old shirts that smell like you and a comfortable bed. Whatever room you choose, it will need to be dog-proofed. Rover recommends making sure everything is stored in locked cabinets out of reach, any electrical items or cords are removed or secured from your dog’s teeth and paws, trash cans are removed, precious beloved household items are out of reach, and the temperature is set appropriately.
Know What Your Dog Is Doing When You’re Away
Your dog will need plenty of stimuli while you are at work. This is as much for your benefit as it is for theirs.
Dogs get bored, lonely and anxious and this can lead to destructive behavior. It is important that you provide activities for your dog while you are gone. There are now many puzzle games and treats on the market designed to occupy your dog’s mind.
PetLife Today has at least 25 puzzle toys of varying costs they have reviewed for any dog lover to consider. Additionally, CleverPet now has a digital game console with progressive levels to develop your dog’s intelligence.
Your dog will need exercise before you go to work and/or after you get home to help them relax and sleep while you are at work. I
f you cannot get home during the day to visit your dog and let them out or walk them briefly, consider hiring a dog walking company like Wag or Fetch! to come to your home, visit your pet for a brief time, check on their welfare, and take them for a walk. As soon as you are home, be sure to spend plenty of quality time with your dog, and, to the best of your ability, stick to a routine.