Having a dog can be a full-time job in itself, especially when that dog is just a pup in need of some real training, and more importantly, bonding. Whether you are already working or thinking about going back to work, you may be wondering if it would be fair to a dog to be away for so many hours out of the day. If you are expecting a cut and dry answer, you may be disappointed.
There is no pat answer for that just as there are no two jobs that require you to be away from home for the same number of hours. There is also the fact that each person and each dog has varying levels of physical fitness. In order to determine whether or not it would be fair to the dog, perhaps you should peruse the following things that every dog owner should know.
Has Your Dog Been Potty Trained?
This is a huge consideration when you will be away from home for extended periods of time. Imagine just for a moment what you would feel like if you had to wait 8 or 9 hours before being allowed to use the restroom. That is what a housebroken dog will experience if left to wait until you arrive home in the evening and no provisions for dog walkers or dog daycare have been made.
Puppies are especially difficult to handle when you are away during the day for long periods of time. Not only have they not been sufficiently housebroken, but they will begin learning bad habits if no one is around to walk them regularly throughout the day. Just like infant humans, puppies tend to go more frequently and they will go wherever they happen to be until their training is finished.
If you have a puppy, chances are you will need to find a dog walking service that can be there when family and friends can’t help with those necessary potty breaks!
Dogs Get Lonely Too!
How many horror stories have you heard where the family dog chewed that new Italian leather sofa or gnawed at the legs of an heirloom dining room table passed down through the generations? Some dogs shred clothes while others chew shoes. Remember, dogs like to chew (and shred) naturally and it’s up to you to be there to teach them what they can play with. While chewing, gnawing and shredding come naturally, dogs can be taught which toys are theirs and which are off limits. Even dogs who have been thoroughly trained and would never ‘think’ of chewing a shoe when you are at home might grab daddy’s new Nikes or mom’s new Jimmy Choo’s. Is it out of frustration from being home alone for so long? Perhaps they are just lonely and the scent of mom or dad is too much to bear. It’s inexcusable behavior, granted, but it may also be inexcusable behavior on your part as well.
Crate Training Is Not as Cruel as It Sounds
There are many dog owners who wholeheartedly oppose crate training dogs. However, if you have nowhere else to keep them while away from home, you might want to consider keeping them ‘penned in’ during your absence. You could always contact a dog walking service in your area through the Wag! website who offer an on-demand service to ensure someone is there to spend a little time with them and get them out to do their business. What’s really great about a site like that is that so many people don’t know there is a central location to find a dog sitter.
You may want to find a home that will take your dog in during the day while you are at work, just like you would with your human children. However, when crate training, you must never leave the dog 8 or 9 hours without relief. That’s dangerous on several levels. Most dogs will not relieve themselves where they sleep and to force a dog to do that is cruel. Go ahead and create your dog if you must, because that is how you are training them not to chew or act destructively, but always find someone to come in at least once a day to walk them.
One Last Thing to Know
If you are going to be working a job that leaves you too exhausted to get a bit of exercise with your dog daily, it is vital that you have a kennel or fenced-in area where your dogs can get the exercise they need. Yes, you need exercise too but, realistically, sometimes you just don’t have the energy.
One thing you might do is see if there are dog-friendly parks near you so that your dog walker or sitter knows where to take the dog for the exercise they need. You may not be able to do it, but that’s what your dog walkers are trained to do! Even dogs left uncrated will get all that extra energy burned off when walked daily, so everyone will be the better for it.
Dogs are social creatures, so never leave them alone for extended periods without human interaction. That’s the most important thing of all.