There are plenty of alternative options for pet parents to find a work-pooch balance in their life. Spending lunch break with your pup, hiring a dog walker, and dog day care are all positive, healthy and beneficial ways to avoid leaving your dog alone all day. Providing your dog with a safe at-home environment and including toys, games, and even setting up an interactive camera are resolutions for dog owners who have little choice but to leave their dog home alone.
What to do if you work full time.
One of the main problems with leaving adult dogs, even well-trained ones, is that they can get bored and resort to destructive behavior when left alone for long periods of time. Pet parents who work a full-time job and are lucky to be close to home can arrange to go home for their lunch hour, using this time to walk, feed, and play with their dog. This time spent together benefits the dog by allowing him to have social interaction, get exercise, go potty, and stretch his legs during the day.
READ MORE: What To Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
If spending your lunch break with your pup is not an option, providing treat dispenser toys, puzzle box toys with treats hidden inside, plush toys, balls and other toys your dog favors will keep him occupied while he is home alone. Pet parents with a new puppy will likely need to enlist some help because a puppy can't hold its bladder for an entire work day and needs more frequent toilet training attention. An older dog who is more "laid back" may be fine left alone, but they could still benefit from the mental stimulation of puzzle toys or dog food toys during your working hours.
Use doggie day care
Search for a doggy day care with knowledgeable and caring staff. Being at the day care meets a dog's daily needs for activity and attention. Some day care facilities offer additional services such as grooming services and obedience training. Before enrolling a dog in day care, check with the rules and regulations of the facility. Take a tour of the facility, meet the staff and review health, vaccination, and safety policies.
READ MORE: When to Stop Crate Training
Install a pet camera
At times, doggy day care may not be an option for busy pet parents or those on a limited budget. An alternative option is to install an interactive pet-cam. This allows pet parents to check in and communicate verbally with their stay-at-home dog throughout the day. When your dog is not expecting interaction with you but they get some attention via the camera, it can help with mental stimulation, even if can't give the dog a potty break.
Hire a dog walker
Dog walkers provide daily exercise, fresh water, and socialization. Some dog walkers also provide an extended service by arranging play dates for your dog, even bringing him to a dog park for his play session. Keep in mind when hiring a dog sitter, that they will have unsupervised access to your home when retrieving and returning your dog from his walk, unless your dog happens to be able to be left in the yard.
One bonus of hiring a pet sitter or walker is that you often can choose the time they visit your home and they days that they visit. Perhaps the help is not needed every day, but just on days when you work long hours. If you have the ability to pick a time for the visit, you can request that they give your dog a long walk in the mid-day, to break up the long hours of alone time before you return.
READ MORE: Commonly Misunderstood Dog Breeds
Be attentive dog parents when you are around
Pet parents should spend quality time with their furry family member when they return home. Quantity of time is not nearly as important as quality of time. In your free time, play games such as fetch and tug-of-war or go for a walk and visit a dog park after work if possible. Dogs enjoy bonding and playtime with their pet parents, whether during the week or on a weekend visit to the lake, beach, or park.