When I started my first job, I found that I had a very busy schedule. Long hours, a long commute, and a host of other commitments kept me at work for much longer than 8 hours a day. My poor rescued King Shepherd, Charity, suddenly went from being spoiled throughout the day, to spending most of it alone.
I was devastated but I quickly learned ways to balance a busy schedule with owning a dog. After all, I was the one who changed our schedule, not her. Finding a balance in a busy schedule is important for all dog owners and here are a few tips to help you.
Should People With a Busy Schedule Own Dogs
Before we launch into the tips, it is important to take a step back and look at whether you should own a dog with a busy schedule. I know, for myself, I rescued my King Shepherd several years before life turned busy and that may be the position you are in. Rather than re-home, I made shifts in my routine.
However, this isn’t an option for everyone so make sure you access your capabilities. If you don’t have support or the ability to meet the needs of your dog, then consider not getting one right now.
If you can set up support and are able to follow a routine for both of you, then having a dog may be a perfect choice.
Tip Number One: Develop a Routine
I’ve already hinted at this but make sure you develop a routine in your busy schedule. Before your dog, your routine might have focused on you but after getting a dog, you have to add them to it.
Try to have a routine where you arrive and leave for work at the same time. This will give the dog some security and he’ll know what to expect during the day. While dogs can’t tell time, they do become familiar with when you leave and come back.
Also, plan in time for bonding, exercise, and feeding your dog. One of the best tips is to feed your dog while you are getting ready for the busy day. When you are ready, he’s done eating and you can take 10 to 15 minutes going for a quick walk or playing in the yard.
Setting this routine into the day will tire him out before you leave and he’ll end up sleeping for several hours in the morning.
Tip Number Two: Don’t Skimp On Exercise
It’s great for you and wonderful for your dog. Exercise is necessary for dog care— done daily and for the recommended time for your breed. However, the amount of time you spend exercising your dog will depend on the energy level of your dog.
Some breeds require hours of exercise, while others get enough exercise with a quick, 15-minute walk.
As I mentioned above, make exercise part of your morning routine and then repeat it in the evening. Come home, take him out for a potty break and then feed your dog while you are getting dinner ready for yourself. Head out for a walk after dinner to meet your dog’s exercise requirements.
Really, the key to meeting the needs of your dog is to tie it into your daily care routine. It keeps you true to your dog while benefiting both of you.
Tip Number Three: Don’t Neglect Bonding
One of the best parts of owning a dog is the time you get to spend time with him. Remember that bonding is about quality, not quantity. You can also add daily care to your bonding times, such as grooming or training.
With bonding, you want to spend at least 10 minutes a day where your attention is on your dog. This will help him feel connected to you. In addition, there is a benefit for you as time with a dog reduces stress.
Tip Number Four: Make Training a Bonding Experience
As I already mentioned, training can be a great bonding experience. It is also great for being social with new people as you can sign up your dog for weekly training classes on your days off. This will help get you out, provide training, and really build on your dog’s socialization.
When you can’t get out to formal training lessons, schedule in two to three training sessions a week. Dogs require training throughout their life. However, don’t stress, you can keep them short. Never train for longer than 10 to 15-minute sessions.
Tip Number Five: Find Alternatives During the Day
The final tip is to find alternatives during the day for your dog. When you are home for long periods, find a different alternative for while you’re away. Some excellent choices are:
- Doggy Daycare: These are facilities where your dog gets to play all day while you are working.
- Pet Sitter: Whether it is a family member or someone you hire, having someone come in once or twice a day will break up the day for your dog. You can hire them to take the dog for a walk, feed him lunch and a bunch of different services.
- Bring to Work: If you have the ability to bring your dog to work, take it. Your dog will love the attention and you’ll have a reason to head outside on your lunch.
Owning a dog is not for everyone but people with busy schedules can own a dog. All it takes is dedication, some shifts in your routine and the desire to follow a new schedule. By following a routine, you can be a proud dog owner.