This is a problem I was hoping to avoid, however I once again find myself in the position that I have to leave my house to make a living. Unfortunately sometimes being an entrepreneur just doesn’t make ends meet, so I was faced with the decision of staying with my dogs or paying for their food and care. None of which is cheap and then multiply it by four.
So, here again I find myself having to leave my four dear furry friends early in the morning and not seeing them again till late in the evening. To catch up on expenses, I had to take two contract jobs, so I am gone from 7am until sometimes as late as after 7pm. This just started about three weeks ago and it has been a difficult adjustment.
The question is, how to keep four dogs happy when you are gone 12 hours a day! The answer I find is…..
Exercise & Entertainment!
The first thing I had to start doing is getting up at 5:30 and making a short round with the two little ones and my senior dog at a slower pace, then a longer, faster-paced jog with my German Shepherd Lizzie. The good part about this whole thing is I am starting to lose the extra 10 pounds I had put on. The bad part is, I HAVE TO GET UP AT 5:30am!!! This is no joke for a habitual night owl. But my guilt overpowers my desire to sleep, so the doggies get their walks.
If you don’t already do this, try! It’s good for you and your dogs. And the total suck starts to wear off once you start walking and it actually feels good. If you can force yourself to get up and out the door, you’re home free. Your dogs will LOVE you for it! If you really can’t, try to find a good, bonded, local dog walker to take them out while you are gone. Make sure of course to check references and be certain you are placing your precious poochies in trustworthy hands.
I also leave “entertainment” in the form of a supply of big knuckle bones to distract her with if (when) she starts getting overly obnoxious. Do be careful what you leave as distractions. Rawhides, for example, are not a good idea because they can cause your dog to choke and should be used under supervision.
Dogs are pack animals, so they hate to be alone. Having more than one dog is built in entertainment. The two Papillons love being together and as long as they have each other, they are ok with me going away for a while. As a cautionary note, do not leave two dogs of greatly different sizes together unattended. I would NEVER leave the Papillons loose with the large dogs unattended. A large dog can kill a small dog even in play or if they get in a small disagreement.
Bonus: A Dog Sitter
I also have the benefit of a doggie sitter in the form of my retired mother. The downside is she is rather frail, so I do have to make sure that the Shepherd Lizzie is adequately exercised before I get out the door. I’ve also trained an infallible “BED” command, so if necessary even my mother can secure her in the crate when necessary. It does give me a lot of peace of mind knowing they are not alone nor do they have to stay in crates all day.
If you don’t have the benefit of a retired bored parent, see if you can get that trusty dog walker to come in and check on them if you will be gone too long. Of course, if you have a secure back yard that is helpful, but not an excuse not to take them out!
I would not leave toy dogs in the yard unattended. They are too vulnerable to everything, including predators of all kinds including birds.
I MISS MY DOGS!
Though these techniques keep my dogs healthy and happy, I still miss them so much. I miss having my furry friends under my feet and on my chair. Instead, I am now sharing an office with a human, though nice enough, is nowhere as enjoyable an office pal as my four dogs.
Here’s hoping and praying that things go my way soon and I can return to work at my home office where I belong!