What Can You Do With Your Dog While You’re At Work? A Guide For Working Pet Owners

While we want to be there for our dogs every moment of the day, it can be difficult to know how to care for your furry best friend when you go to work. Dogs require a lot of care, especially in their puppy period, and needing more attention can hinder their health and development. So, what are you supposed to do when you have to leave for your full-time job or any extended period? This guide will discuss how you can raise your dog while working a full-time job. 

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Why Can’t I Just Leave My Dog Alone?

A new puppy will follow you around for the first few weeks (or even months) of ownership. This is natural – dogs of all breeds will bond with or imprint on whoever is taking care of them. If you’re the one paying them attention, feeding them, and your scent is all over the home that they live in, they’re going to assume you’re the one who’ll protect them from harm! 

When you leave the room or house that your dog is in, it’s normal for them to experience separation anxiety – this happens in some breeds well after puppyhood. Pugs, for example, were bred to be companion dogs, so when their companion, i.e., you, leave their side, they’re going to become highly distraught. If you work a job requiring you to leave your dog alone daily, it might be best if you don’t get a breed known for its companionship. 

However, it doesn’t matter what breed you get at a certain point. Dog experts don’t recommend you leave a dog alone for more than a few hours at a time at most. Not only is house training an issue here, as even a dog with the largest bladder can’t hold it in for more than eight hours, but mental health is another factor at play. If you don’t want to cause psychological damage to your dog, you’ll want to think of ways to give them company while you’re away. 

Have Someone Check In On Your Pet

dog walker

No matter how well you’ve trained your pup, it’s still a good idea to have someone come by to check in on your animal if you’re going to be away for more than a few hours. This person could be a friend, a neighbor, or a paid pet sitter. If you live in an apartment complex, it might be a good way for you to make friends with an elderly neighbor or someone who lives in your building. A pet sitter might be more viable if you live in a remote area. 

You should also consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your furry friend in doggy daycare. Doggy daycares come highly lauded as a way to get your dog some much-needed social activity while you are away. They are placed in a high-energy social environment with other dogs and will also be cared for by well-trained professionals. Some staff members might even have veterinary training, so they’ll be cared for in a medical emergency. If hiring a pet sitter or enrolling your pet in daycare is outside your budget, then we understand. There are other alternatives that you could consider. 

Get Them Used To Your Being Away

what to do with your pet when you're at work

Generally speaking, you’ll need to spend the first few weeks of owning a dog getting them used to you, your schedule, and your house rules. This is a pretty comprehensive process. They need to understand where they can go to the bathroom, how energetic they can be in the house, when they get fed, and many other things. This is also an excellent time to educate them on how to behave alone. 

Dogs won’t react well to you leaving them alone for the first time. This is due to many factors, a big one being their primal instincts. Since they view you as the leader of their pack, when you leave the house, they instinctively believe you’ve gone out on a hunt from which you might never return. This is why when you first take in a dog, whether a puppy or a rescue, you prepare them for what they should expect to do when you leave. 

It’s critical for the first few months of a puppy’s life that they are educated on what it means for you to leave. It’s also imperative that they understand you’re always going to come back. You can begin getting used to your leaving by starting in short stints. An hour at a time at first, then two hours, then a gradual adding-on that will prepare them for the actual time you’ll be away at work. If you get to come home for your lunch break, that’s ideal, as, again, most dogs shouldn’t be alone for longer than a few hours anyway. 

Make Sure They’re Mentally Stimulated

Ensuring your dog doesn’t get bored is important for leaving them alone for any period of time. Not only is it not nice to leave your dog without a way to pass the time, but leaving them with interactive toys and long-lasting treats can help prevent your pup from ruining your furniture or scratching up your carpet.

A puzzle toy, a chew toy, a bully stick, or a kong toy with a hidden treat are all great ways to ensure that your dog is able to stay entertained when you’re away. While not a substitute for a dog daycare or a dog walker, a chew toy will do wonders for getting pent-up energy out.

Conclude With Comfort Measures

At the end of the day, how your dog responds to your leaving home will depend on your dog. Each of them is unique. Some mind more, and some might mind less. Some might prefer to spend their time in solitude in a crate. Many owners have reported that leaving the television or radio on reduces their dog’s stress. It would also help to leave them plenty of things to stay active with: chew toys might help keep them from gnawing at the bits of your furniture you’d rather remain intact. A scratch pad might keep them from ruining that nice Persian rug you just got. 

Your best friend in helping assuage your dog’s fears when you leave them is to train them well. Do your best to ensure they know you’re always coming home. Remember also that dogs can read your mood and emotions. Try to leave in a positive mood – if your dog notices you’re feeling anxious when you leave, they might be inclined to feel more anxious themselves. 

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