How to Keep Your Dog Happy While You’re at Work

Dogs are naturally sociable animals. Being left on their own all day is quite an unnatural (and boring) experience for many dogs.

As a result, dogs left alone all day tend to get themselves into mischief as a source of entertainment. Whether that takes the form of destructive behaviour or constant barking, it’s hardly an ideal situation for either your dog or your neighbours.

Fortunately, if you’re struggling to keep your dog amused while you’re out there are a host of options you can try.

Exercise Early

Like us humans, the more tired your dog is, the less they will fancy getting into trouble! If you’re going to be out at work for long periods of time, then one practical tip is to start the day with a long walk.

Dispense with the same old boring walk around the same old roads, and instead get creative. Take your dog to new areas to mentally stimulate them. Don’t just settle for walking but also consider going for a jog, playing fetch or doing some obedience training.

The goal is to stimulate both the body and mind. Not only will your dog have the time of their life, but the first few hours while you’re away they’ll likely be recovering from all their exertions.

Activity-Related Toys

Your dog no doubt has their favourite toys, and making these available during the day is certainly beneficial. However, why not change things up with toys which encourage activity and concentration from your dog?

For example, a Kong can be filled with peanut butter. Many dogs will spend hours trying to lick the last of the delicious filling out. Alternatively, a range of other toys will dispense small treats over time. For example, Boredom Breakers and balls filled with treats, which must be rolled around in order to gain access to the kibble.

Get creative with your choice of toys, and don’t be afraid of investing a little money into exciting new options on a regular basis. Over time you’ll build up a collection of toys which can be rotated to keep play fresh and exciting.

Human Voices

Some dogs find that hearing human voices during the day can help to keep them calm and encourage them to behave. Leaving a radio or the TV on quietly in the background can be beneficial under such circumstances.

On the other hand, you know your dog better than anyone. A small minority of pets will find unfamiliar voices stressful, which can actually encourage barking. If in doubt, try leaving the radio on for short periods of time to see how your dog reacts. If the impact seems to be positive, then consider leaving this on while you’re at work.

Pop Home

Just because you’re working from nine to five doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog needs to remain alone for this entire time.

If possible, try to pop back at lunchtime for a toilet break and some affection. Alternatively, see if a friend or neighbour who is known to your dog can turn up once or twice during the day. They may even be willing to take your dog out for an additional midday stroll.

Baby Cams

If you’re concerned about how your dog behaves in your absence, or you’ve had an uncomfortable chat with your neighbours about daytime barking then consider installing a simple web cam in your property. Under such circumstances you can keep an eye on your dog from the comfort of your smart phone.

You can learn plenty from such an exercise, such as which toys seem to have the greatest appeal for your dog, or what noises seem to set off a barking attack. By slowly getting your dog used to these noises over time you should be able to reduce the impact they’re having, and retain your neighbours as friends.

The Great Release

It’s all too easy to tumble through the front door after a long day at work, desperate to put your feet up. But think of your dog. You getting home is the most exciting part of their day!

Reward your dog’s good behaviour with a walk they’ll be pleased with. Doing so is not only kind, but also helps to burn off some more energy after your pooch has been cooped up all day (ensuring you a nice quiet evening!).

Regular Patterns

As a final note, be aware that dogs are creatures of habit. They tend to be happiest with regular schedules, so extra thought should be applied if you’re going to be home late from work (such as when the Christmas party season rolls around).

Under such circumstances try to do what you can to maintain your normal schedule – even if you have to walk your dog after work before heading out to the glitz and glamour.

This article is courtesy of Paige Hawin from PBS Pet Travel.

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What You Need To Know As a New Dog Parent

Getting a dog home may be the first step in becoming a dog parent, but it definitely isn’t the last. There are several things that need to be taken into consideration before you even think of getting a dog home. This includes choosing the right breed of dog that matches your personality and lifestyle, the gender of the breed and everything in between. As a dog-parent, you need to take all these things and much more into consideration and be prepared to take the responsibility of your pooch. This infographic will get you started on the basics of dog parenting.

Dog Parenting 101: What You Need To Know as a New Dog Parent

Courtesy of: Barkily

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Petfinder turns 20! #MetOnPetfinder

This post is sponsored by Purina. As always, our thoughts are our own.

Happy 20th anniversary Petfinder! One of our favorite websites, Petfinder has helped facilitate more than 25 million pet adoptions through its shelter and rescue member organizations. Anyone who has adopted a pet knows what a great addition they can be to the family. We would love to hear your stories in the comments!

BabyOutside

Our dog Baby changed our lives forever when she became part of our family. I’ve told her full story here before, about how she brought my dad’s smile back after he had suffered two strokes. She took on the role of therapy dog without even realizing it. But there’s more to her story than that.

Baby was a puppymill puppy, and because of this she had a lot of health problems stemming from her breeding. Luckily she found us, and we found her. Our vet always told us how lucky Baby was to have us, because many would have just put her to sleep instead of doing the treatments needed. Well, this may be true, but we were the ones that were LUCKY. She brought a smile to our faces, warmth in our hearts, and even now that she has passed away, we are still smiling at the remembrance of her antics.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Petfinder is asking pet parents, pet lovers and pet advocates to join the celebration and its effort to donate $200,000 benefiting 20 shelter and rescue members. How? All you have to do is watch this video!

Please watch and share the video, and then share your Petfinder adoption stories on social media by using the hashtag #MetOnPetfinder. When the one million views goal is met, 20 Petfinder shelter and rescue members will each receive a $10,000 grant from the Petfinder Foundation to help continue to transform the lives of the pets in their care and cultivate more lifelong relationships. And all you have to do is watch before October 24th!

More than 25 million pets and millions of pet parents can claim that they #MetOnPetfinder since the site was established in 1996 – that’s an average of 1.2 million pets per year who have found their forever homes via Petfinder.

Petfinder encourages adoption when adding a pet to your family. The website is easy to use, allowing you to search by zipcode and type of pet (and there are dogs, cats, small animals, reptiles, and more)! By removing barriers within the adoption process, Petfinder’s goal is to make the pet adoption process easier by connecting people with pets. Petfinder has long been one of our favorite websites, and we are so happy to be able to help them celebrate their 20th anniversary!

Connect with them on social media:

Facebook: Petfinder
Twitter: @petfinder
Instagram: @petfinder

And don’t forget to share the video and your own adoption stories by using the #MetOnPetfinder hashtag! Let’s help them help more pets find forever homes.

Posted in cats, dogs, people helping animals | 1 Comment

The Grey-Hairs: Growing Old with Pets

Guest author Katie Kapro holds her MFA in nonfiction writing. When walking around town, she often finds herself talking to more dogs than people.

Binkie cringes when I call her dog Mick Jagger. “Mickey,” she corrects. “His name is Mickey.” I’m sure her only memory of Mick Jagger is from my mother’s rebellious teenage years, a scandalous poster on the bedroom wall or a song blasted too loud on the record player. Binkie had a lot going on in those days – she worked part-time at a law firm and raised my mother and her four siblings.

Now, Binkie is 90 years old and it’s just her and Mickey, a whippet-chihuahua mix with the personality of a nightclub bouncer.

mickey the commander in chief

Mickey is the size of a chihuahua and the shape of a whippet. He carries himself with natural machissmo – his muscular chest, straight forequarters, and upward-tilted jaw declaring his power to the world. There’s no question that he pushes Binkie around, yapping everyday at exactly 4:15pm for his healthy dinner of kibble, steamed green beans, and carrots. Sometimes she pushes back. “You already had your dinner, Mick,” she’ll say, wagging her finger. He yaps. “Nope. No more for you.” He clicks away on the linoleum to pout.

I swear he understands her tones better than I do. They keep one another engaged with the world and irritate one another just enough to give life that good edge.

Mickey was the product of divorce, nobody wanted him, and he made his way to my grandmother through a series of friends five years ago. Now they are all but inseparable. As Mickey gets older – the little grey hairs on his chin now in the majority – her house transforms into a senior dog haven.

Sometimes as dogs grow old, their owners give in to the momentum of aging. They don’t take their dogs to the park anymore for fear it will hurt their joints, they don’t buy them treats out of concern it will hurt their gums. Binkie doesn’t bow to those worries. Sure, she dotes on him by laying big soft blankets over the couch and giving him extra plush toys to destroy, but she doesn’t just let him mope around the house. She’s better at this growing old thing than most.

There is an empty ice cream carton in Binkie’s freezer that she warns me about every time I visit. Instead of ice cream it holds chicken bones, fruit rinds, all sorts of perishables she doesn’t want to throw in the can in the hot garage. “Whoever finds me when I die, I don’t want them to have to deal with putrid trash too.” Ever the pragmatist. Binkie has been prepared for her death for years. She has her will all sorted out, knows who is getting the crystal wine glasses and who is getting the flag from her husband’s funeral.

She also made a plan for Mickey.

Few of us think about setting up a stable home for our pet if something traumatic happens and we’re unable to care for them. We make plans for houses, cars, kids, and even trash, but pets get forgotten. There’s the assumption that someone will take care of the dog, so why worry about the details? The details, though, can make a huge difference to the physical and emotional health of an animal.

Say a man includes his dog in his will. That’s great, but it turns out it can take weeks or even months for a will to be read and fully processed.

Instead, the man could set up a pet trust. As part of that process, the pet owner names a pet trustee who will step in immediately and make sure his dog doesn’t slip through the cracks. It’s also a huge help for the person who ends up caring for the animal – after all, we all like a little notice before bringing in a new family member.

It can be less disconcerting on an existential level to focus on the day-to-day instead of the vast, unknown future. But it doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. Be like Binkie: get good at growing old. Whether we’re in our twenties, forties, sixties, or nineties, we’re all aging; we might as well get good at it and take care of our animals in the process.

Posted in guest post, pet care | 1 Comment