The Working Man’s (or Woman’s) Conundrum in Today’s Dog Ownership

I recently worked with a client at my house.  She had a lovely Pit Bull mix who was full of energy and excitement!  He was 10 months old and she and her boyfriend were at their wits end trying to deal with him and his excessive energy.  As I watch dogs bounce and fly around during training, I often wish I had just a fraction of their vigor and zest for life!

This couple’s problem is probably one of the most common problems I encounter in dog training.

They work 10 hours a day.  Now I realize that most of you are probably hackling in anger at the thought of a dog being left alone for 10 hours a day, but the truth of the matter is that this is a very common scenario.

I wish that you had to get a license, pass an ethical, knowledge and skills test, and promise to be able to spend a certain amount of time with your dog in order to own a dog; but the truth is that there are too many dogs and not enough good homes to involve such sanctions.  If requirements to own animals were stricter there would be an even higher and more astronomical rate of euthanasia.

Not all people who work are unfit owners; even those that have to work crazy long hours can make sure their dogs live fulfilling lives if they are willing to make some sacrifices!

I have had jobs where I had to work long hours in order to pay the bills and with the economy plummeting most dog owners are faced with long work hours and lots of commitments on their days off!

So What Can You Do If You Find Yourself Facing the Same Problems?

You Must Find Happiness at Work and at Home with Your Best Friend!


Acknowledge that you have a problem and you need to make a change!  As difficult as it sounds if you want to keep your dog, not be abusive and ensure you are both happy you need to make some significant changes in you and your dog’s life.


Get up earlier!  I empathize with those of you who want or think you NEED to get as much sleep as possible, but your dog needs exercise and positive interaction with you as much or, dare I say it, MORE than you need your sleep!

In order to make sure your dog is ready for his day of solitary, you MUST wear him out and spend time bonding with him!  So, start running or biking or playing ball in the mornings until he is sincerely tired out.  That means that 5 minutes of ball playing probably isn’t going to cut it; you need to leave him exhausted!

The good news is this is just as good for you as it is for him and after about a week your body won’t feel as groggy anymore!


Make some efforts to make your dog’s day alone as happy and exciting as possible!

  • Hide and leave treats for him to discover throughout the day.
  • Make sure he has things to chew on and play with while you are gone.
  • Stuff bones with peanut butter and give him novel things to chew on occasionally.
  • Leave the radio or TV on to keep him from being overwhelmed by outside noises.

And Then:

If you are gone 8 hours or more get someone to come over and let your dog out to walk or even to play with him.

Neighborhood kids often love making a little extra cash and you can pay them to come and play with your dog afterschool.

If those are not options take your dog to a doggy day care!  Doggy day care, especially those that will walk your dog or let him play in play groups, are wonderful because when you pick your dog up he is already tired and ready for a nap when you get home!


If you can’t do doggy day care and return home with an exhausted dog; it is your responsibility to exercise again him when you get home!

Remember your dog has been alone for the last 8 hours and he has probably spent most of his time sleeping, so when you get home he is filled with enthusiasm and full of energy!  In order to insure his life is fulfilling, you must spend time with and exercise him when you get home from work, too!

If you exercise him and wear him out immediately when you get home, then #1:  you won’t procrastinate taking him out and #2:  you can then cook dinner or spend time doing whatever you need to do to unwind after your hard day at work.

Don’t Forget:

Not only does your dog need exercise, he also needs mental stimulation and training!  You must spend time teaching him and working with him and the good news is that mental stimulation and training can be tiring to your dog so you “hit two birds with one stone” analogy!

You don’t have to spend an hour training, just spend a few minutes during commercials from your favorite show to get your clicker out and teach your dog a trick, or work on his down stay, or his attention and focus.  Any time you spend training will help solidify your relationship and will help him to listen to you throughout the day.

On Your Day Off:

Spend time together.  Go hiking or biking and include your dog in your plans if possible!  There  is no sense in having a dog if you don’t spend time enjoying one another and spending time together!

The reason my clients were having problems was because they were spending all of their time working but no one was really devoting time to Duke, neither before nor after work.  When they did spend time with him, they were yelling at him for jumping up on them and because he was not listening to their commands; but in truth they had never taught him obedience or even manners.

If they got up early and exercised him, left him with games to play during the day, had someone let him out then came home and took him for a walk or a run and then taught him a trick after dinner, I guarantee they would all be happier together!

I realize it is difficult to get up early and spend time working with your dog but if you want a dog and the companionship, love and devotion that goes with dog ownership you must make it a priority in your life!  You can have a demanding job and still be a kind and successful dog owner!

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  1. Cynthia says:

    Hey Chet I agree with you on doggy day care. My puppy is six months old and has been in ddc for the last 9.5 weeks. He was a little shy and uncertain in the beginning, but now he is so happy to get there, and when he knows that we have arrived he just wants out of the car so badly he almost can not handle it. And yes he is ready for a nap on the way home and for about an hour or so after we get home.
    Thanks for your blog.


  2. Rachel says:

    I totally agree with you! In fact, the dog we just acquired a couple months ago was given up for that very reason…..he was left alone all day and the owner was tired of him “escaping” and being “too hyper” all the time. We got him and every morning for an hour, I play with him, take a walk, throw the ball, etc. and then again at night. It is work, but he has become a real companion and much more calm when nighttime comes and he is allowed in the house. Plus, we have another dog, so now he has someone to play with out in the back yard while we are gone. They are both much happier and content now.I would suggest that if someone works, they get an older dog (from a shelter, of course) that does not need as much exercise or get a cat!–they do much better alone since they are by nature more solitary than dogs anyhow!(Just make sure it gets fixed.)


  3. Walied says:

    Hey Chet,
    My pup is only 4.5 months old and the hints have helped alot. I’m away from home abt 8 hrs daily during the week but i do spend abt 1.5 hours with him. I also leave some toys laying around for him to play with, unfortunately we dont have a doggy day care where I’m from but he does get to play with other pupps his age.

    But I’m having a trouble getting him to swim with me, any tips?

    Thanks for the blog it helps a lot especially when you a first time owner. The hints and tips are awesome.
    Thanks again.


    Minette Reply:

    I would find a dog that does swim and have a swim party! The best way to teach a dog to swim is with a confident doggy swimmer! Your dog will learn to swim for the ball or the stick or whatever the toy probably in time.

    I say probably, because I have had a few dogs in my time that were “waders” they like going in and getting their tummies wet but that is about it! No harm done if they didn’t want to swim!


  4. Netterine says:

    Just to make sure that i’m on the same page here, does this article apply to dogs who stay indoors during the day? My dogs (JRT and JRT x Border Collie) have a garden where they keep each other busy the whole day, so after the excitement of me getting home from work wears off, they’re very calm and relaxed while i go about my routine.

    Personally i wouldn’t keep a dog in a house without a garden, but that’s probably because i’m South African and we have enough space and housing options with gardens that an apartment isn’t necessary.


    Minette Reply:

    For me, I don’t leave my pets alone outside where they can bark and dig and become aggressive.

    I have seen too many dogs poisoned because they bark when their owners are at work and their neighbors finally put an end to it in a sad and nasty way 🙁

    So I keep mine indoors but give them plenty of exercise and things to do if I have to be gone for the day!


    Tammy Reply:

    I leave my dog outside too, where she is MUCH happier. Yes she digs and gets dirty, but its in her area of the yard, so she can. Not sure why everyone gets so upset when a dog digs…it’s fun! I check with my neighbors to make sure she isn’t a nuicence, make sure she has her toys and things to keep her busy and it keeps us all happy! Then we go to a dog park and do the 3 mile loop 4 times a week.


  5. Coralie says:

    Hi Chet
    Thank you so much for all the information you send. I have a very active german shepherd who thnks she is a border collie. She loves to round everything up and is extremely active. I am getting to know and understand her personality and needs. Spending time with her and challenging her as well as lots of exercise makes such a huge difference to her. At the moment, after a busy afternoon she is asleep beside me.
    Thank you for helping me enjoy our wonderful friend.


  6. Dave Simpson says:

    My dogs are alone while we’re sleeping. Cindy inside and Spike outside.
    Rewards: Always!
    “Rubbish, come…” Totally obedient. (Cindy’s nickname)
    “Spike. Quiet !” Ditto.
    Spend as much time with them as you can.

    ‘Guy Fawkes night’.
    Mine get a bit upset after an earshattering ‘bang’, but settle quickly.
    I get distressed when I see other people’s dogs running wildly in the street. Where are the owners, and why are the dogs loose?
    Next day there are notices in the “Lost” column.

    Don’t these people realize how sensitive a dog’s hearing is?


  7. David McElwain says:

    We are in a slightly different situation. We live in Singapore and have a full time helper who looks after Dhoby our bitzer when we are away or at work. She walks him and obviously loves him but feels a strong sense of responsibility towards his care so she does not often let him off the lead in the park or elsewhere for fear that he may run, get hit by a car, or generally cause a nuisance. This is understandable but it often means that when he comes home from his walk he is still hyperactive, being only 1.5 years old. When we walk him, we let him off the lead and let him go crazy which obviously tires him out, (isn’t that the idea? ). So yes, it must be a little frustrating for him and confusing, but at least he’s getting lots of attention.


    BJ Reply:

    Hi, It’s so fantastic that your daytime helper is paying such good attention to your dog! I applaud the fact that she will not put him at risk by letting him offleash! It’s her responsibility to preserve his safety and yours to do the actual energy expending with him. I have a great suggestion, however. Try teaching her how to use a nice, long retracting leash! That let’s the dogs think they are loose and they come home tired. Let us know how it goes, k? Again, you are lucky to have someone who is with your pet all day and who does not allow for dangerous situations. Peace and all good, BJ with Peaceful Pets At-Home Pet Care


    Minette Reply:

    I would agree with your helper 😉 whenever I pet sit I don’t want the responsibility of taking the dog off of the leash and the death and sadness that may occur. I guess I am a safe rather than sorry kind of person! I occasionally let my own dogs off leash because I know they will listen to me.

    Have her work on obedience and add commands and fun and excitement to the walk, this will stimulate his body and his MIND and maybe one day she will then feel comfortable to release him from his leash but know she is in control!


  8. danielle says:

    the doggie day care is a good idea but i can not aford it so that whould not work for me but i do not work so my dog is with me most of the time but when i have to go to the store or a doc app she is with me husband it whould be nice to have a job where she can come but right now that is not able to happen


  9. witz says:

    The issue is also choosing the most appropriate breed and age for the profile of the owners. Not to take away from the fact that circumstances can change and effect the dog, if people made the right assessment of what fits there lifestyle it might be better all around.


    Karen Reply:

    I TOTALLY AGREE!! Before anyone makes the commitment to becoming the parent of a dog they need to do their homework and decide which age and breed is appropriate for their lifestyle and experience with canines.
    While puppies are absolutely adorable they aren’t the best choice for everyone…an adult or even a senior dog may work out better for some.
    And I feel that one of the most important things is to RESEARCH THE BREED that you are considering…and decide what is it that makes you think that you’re interested in that breed? (Is it because Eddie seems like such a laid-back cool dog on Frasier? Check with Jack Russell owners…how calm and quiet is the breed…how much TRAINING did it take for Eddie to ACT that way?) We had a Siberian Husky that would have made us pull our hair out had we not known that some of their favorite things are running, digging, chewing and, well, I’ll put this delicately, not putting up with cats. Huskies can run up to 40 miles in an hour’s time if they get loose…they can dig a hole in your lawn that you’re up to your knees in…they’ve been known to chew up the inside of a Corvette convertible that was left within their reach…and cats…well, they can be okay with THE CAT that they grew up with but other cats can be fair game. These are things people need to learn about BEFORE they choose a breed…even a mixed breed…try to find out the characteristics of all the possible breeds involved.

    Doing a little research may not be fun and may dampen a little of the ‘romance’ of getting a dog but it can definitely add to the enjoyment and longevity of your relationship with your new best friend.


  10. Billie says:

    I still think those who cannot get back to their dog by no longer than 4 hours should not have a dog at all. Also many people have dogs when they have children just to complete the ” so called image of the happy family” and really pay no attention to their pets.

    Unfortunately as you say, we can’t govern who has a pet who does not, becasue its all about money for the breeders.


    Beth Moore Reply:

    As a retired widow living rurally I am in the fortunate position of being able to devote time to my dog, an almost three-year old German Shepherd rescue gal. I am a German Shepherd fan and shortly after I had to let my previous old girl go due to severe arthritis, the chance to get this one came up. I had reservations, as all my other Shepherds had been obtained/trained by me as pups and I well knew the energy that had to be worked off. However, my heart and home was very empty and I decided to take her. After a year we have worked out a good routine for both of us. She is a chewer and I keep Kongs [mostly decapitated] for her to chew on in the house instead of household objects which suffered a fair amount of her attention when she first came to me. She has developed a love affair with her Kongs, and nearly always has one in her mouth. When we get up in the morning and go outside for her morning outing I “chuck her Kong”. I have a beaver stick made to order and I use it to throw her Kong for her to chase for about twenty minutes. Then breakfast, and after breakfast we go out and I throw frisbees for her for about ten minutes ~ she has become an excellent frisbee catcher/jumper/runner AND that totally exhausts her. In the afternoon we walk a rural park road for about an hour and I chuck her Kong as we walk. Result, I have a happy, well adjusted German Shepherd AND I have lost about ten pounds since she came to me. A win-win situation.


    Cindy Reply:

    I absolutely agree with Billie – dogs should not regularly be left for longer than 4 hours. There are countries (Switzerland) where you have to take a course and test before you get a dog. It protects dogs and people from serious mistakes that cause suffering all round.


    Minette Reply:

    If people could only get a dog if they worked 4 hours or less (although it would be nice for everyone if they only had to work that to survive!) then the rate of euthanasia for dogs would be even more astronomical!

    I hate the euthanasia rate as it is because there aren’t enough good homes for dogs, if people can make a commitment and work I say they should be able to love and be loved by a dog!


    jona Reply:

    As Stated earlier, if only “ideal” situations dictated who was “allowed’ to have a dog many more dogs would be put down .
    I adopted a dog, I work 8 hr days, can not afford doggie daycare and have no one who she will let come in the house to walk her. When I come home we spend the entire time together either walking or training then just relax in a chair afterwards. In the summer I take her to the park right after work for 2 hrs but in the winter it’s dark by the time I get home so we go for a walk and play a bit then on weekends I take her to the park everyday for abut 3 hrs each day. I don’t believe myself to be a “bad” dog owner and I think it’s unfair for only people who work 4 hr days to be considered “better” dong owners. I have seen lots of people who don’t work at all spend less time with their dog all week then I spend in a day. What they need to take care of is putting a stop to these backyard breeders who make a quick buck off the pure overbred female dogs that end up being sold to people who have no idea how to handle or care for a dog just to have them given up and put in shelters. As for the fulltime workers who love their dog give us a break.


    Shane Reply:

    I disagree!!!! My dog is alone about 8-10 hours during the week. I dont think that i am harming her at all!! she is the sweetest doggy in the world. Just because i work all day and so does my wife, that doesnt mean i shouldnt own a dog. She has a huge yard with privacy fence to play in all day. And toys and a nice dof house. Get off your high horse.I have rescued many dogs and cats over the years.


  11. vicki says:

    I recently became owner of a 15 month old American Bulldog. Fortunately I am retired and have plenty of time to devote to her happiness and well being. I taught her how to heel on the leash, along side my bicycle when I ride. Me walking her was just not giving her the amount of exercise she needed. I could not go fast enough for her to get a workout even though I did. I now use one of those collars that has the soft strap that goes over ne nose and it is amazing the control I have over her. She does not pull and tug as she did even with the choke chain. Shes a very strong dog and the choke chain seemed to be a challenge to her where as the “over the nose” collar subdues her pulling. I was truly amazed and the immediate difference. So if you are able, I highly recommend teaching your dog to heel along side your bike, you enjoy the ride and your dog gets a workout that walking or even playing ball will not provide. It can be dangerous, so I always go slow, so she is just in a trot and I am fully in control of her and my bike. It doesn’t take long to cover a mile there, and a mile back. Make sure your dog heels well along side you when you walk first.


  12. Marina says:

    Alice, Cocker-poos are fabulous! I have had one that I adopted when she was 1 yr old. Just like mine, yours has had a “previous” life and it looks as though his experience with people is not warm and fuzzy. In my mind that’s what needs to be overcome, at least somewhat. Barking at the door at strangers is fine. But when your parents tell him to be quiet, he needs to be quiet and back off. He needs to realize that THEY are in control. So, I would suggest two things. First, get him to listen and follow commands. “No”, “sit”, and “heel” are an absolute must. The commands must be firm, not wordy (you can’t be saying “mommy is telling you to come over here please, and what are you doing instead, you silly little thing?” – it is just sound waves. “Heel” is the only word, or whatever ONE word you choose). Second: poodles are very sweet and playful and loving by nature – exercise that in him: the dog needs to be more around other people. And those people need to be warned that they are helping you and the dog overcome the anxiety, so everyone needs to be talking softly, no jerky movements, no high-pitch exhilarated exclamations that would wind him up. I would actually go even further. I would ask only your parents to talk to him, softly but firmly, and ask the guests (who come at your parents request, fully understanding that they are here to help) NOT talk at all, AND – listen! – I would ask the guests to drop little treats at or near their feet. Your parents can also distract the dog with treats or toys. 1-2 weeks of this training should do it. Poodles are exeptionally smart! But basic commands come absolutely first, without them the dog is the boss, not your parents. Good luck!


  13. S L says:

    Wow – for all of you folks who have decreed that to have a dog you can’t have a job, please think again. Many dogs have owners who work all day and are quite happy. You who have the luxury of not having to work need to get a grip on reality. Your attitude is insulting.


    Billie Reply:

    I have the luxury of not having to work now, simply becasue I am now retired, but to say we need to get a grip on reality is an insult. I have had dogs for the last 35 years, had five children, and once back at school worked full time for 25 years, but still never left my dog at home alone longer than 4 hours. I gave up every lunch hour and went home to spend time with my beloved dog.

    Would you do the same to a human baby, would you hell, I suggest you get real.


    S L Reply:

    I suggest you refrain from cursing in your replies


    Laura Reply:

    I agree .I have a 7 month old puppy and was taught I could leave him in his crate up to An hour for each month he is old ? So far we leave for work at 8:45 am and return for lunch by 1 pm. We then return by 5-6 pm for the night and he enjoys a long evening of play , walks and if time allows we even go to the park. He seems to be growing and loving our home very well.


  14. Becky says:

    Hi Alice, Teddy is the leader, its his job to protect hearth and home. So, your parents need to become the leaders. I would start with basic commands like sit, wait, down. If he does all those then real NILIF begins, He must wait to eat, go out, no getting on the bed. Teach him self-control. Hand feeding him goes a long way with this too. It enforces, without force, that life comes from your parents. When people come over, teach Teddy to go to a certain place, such as a mat. Chet has articles on how to do that. For the guests part, they are to ignore Teddy when they come inside. Thta will help to lessen Teddy’s anxiety. When Teddy is calm and the guest has been seated, tell him OK. Let him go check out the guest on his own speed. Any kind of threatening gesture on Teddy’s part and he has to return to his mat.
    If he can’t handle being in the same room wiht guests, then he needs to be in a different room. Its all about stages. You take baby steps. If he starts doing great with being in a different room, then try letting him stay in the living room with guests. Maybe he can handle one guest, but two is too much. Then work wiht one guest and when he has that down pat, try a second guest, one he is very familiar with. Remember, it is a process. There will be times that you have to take a step back and lessen the criteria, then build it back up again.
    What ever you do, do not allow this to continue. Sooner or later, Teddy will step over the line. He is stressed about visitors. You need to lessen that stress on him by taking leadership for him. Good luck!!


    NANCY L DOLL Reply:



  15. Connie says:

    I know it’s hard making sure your pet gets the proper exercise. I have a 19 month old German Shepherd and I have followed most of your suggestions. I get up in the morning and we go for our morning walk about 20-30 minutes (I am not a runner, etc. and I want people to realize walking is exercise for them too). I am then off to work. He goes out for a few minutes of play before Bill leaves for work. Then when Bill gets home (5-7 hours later) its about 20 minutes of throwing the ball. I get home (about 3 hrs later) and again its time for his afternoon walk and visiting w/his fan club on the street (all the little kids from ages 4 and up) He is very gentle and goes to nursing homes for visits, etc. I understand running, etc. is good for them but don’t have people discouraged, if walking is your thing and when you can you take them on hikes – that’s good. I am an older person and agree the exercise I get from walking him is good for me too, but again it doesn’t have to be just running, etc, any exercise is great and the bonding is fantastic. Pets adjust everything can be made to work out the main ingredient is love and caring.


  16. Pat Stevens says:

    I have a 1 yr., 5-month old standard poodle – my husband and I both work 8 hours per day – my granddaughter is at our home ~3-4 days per work week – she usually get there between 1 and 2:00 pm – this really helps with Toby. We have also enrolled him in a basic obedience class once a week – nothing to brag about there but he loves socializing with the other dogs there – comes home exhausted after just one hour of class! This place requres two sessions of obedience training before he can enter in agility classes – I think he’ll be great at that – but because we are both gone all day, Toby pretty much has our attention all evening. The sad part is that he is in a crate until someone gets home – I don’t know how to break him from stealing EVERYTHING and chewing! I am doing all that I have read to do (included spraying him with a water bottle) but nothing seems to help. We take him everywhere we can on the weekends – he’s a great dog but just can’t break him of the ‘stealing and chewing’ thing … any suggestions? Thanks.


    Minette Reply:

    Try keeping him on a leash or a tab leash when you are with him so that instead of chasing him (a favorite dog game) you can just grab a leash, it totally ends his fun!

    Some dogs take longer to trust in the house. I had a dog that at 4 months was loose in the house and I have never had a problem and others that were crated for a year, or two or more.

    The important thing is to stick to your guns and use the crate while he is still stealing because at least this keeps him safe!


  17. Jill says:

    Hi Chet,
    Your article caught my eye because I have an almost 9 month old Pit/Fox Terrier mix. She is a LOAD!!! I come home from work on my breaks to take her out, which is very stressful. Every day after work, since I’ve had her at 7 weeks and she was cleared by the vet, I have taken her to dog beach to socialize and exercise her. About six weeks ago she attacked 5 different dogs on the beach, so now our routine has completely changed. I can’t have her off leash anymore around other dogs. We try to find parks/schools/parking lots…anything where we will be alone so I can throw the ball for her. She LOVES to run like a maniac. It is wearing me out! I love her, but she wakes me up in the middle of the night to play. She won’t allow me to work on the computer at home. She’s the highest energy dog I have ever had or seen in my life! I know that she must need more exercise, but I am having a rough time with this. She is getting on the average 2 hours a day. I have given up my gym membership that I’ve had for over 30 years so I can take proper care of her…no more time for my workouts. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. One last thing, I cannot afford expensive training or doggie daycare. And NO, I did not actively go out and get this little terror, my daughter brought her home without permission and does NOTHING to help me. Now I am totally in love with her and just want suggestions. Thanks for your input in advance.


    Minette Reply:

    She is now your gym membership 😉 Schedule her exercise and her training like you would your exercise routine and go until she is tired! Run her, walk her, play with her but above all TRAIN her!

    Don’t let her keep you from your computer…train her to do a down stay at your feet. By getting up and exercising her or playing with her when she demands something you are teaching her that you want her to be demanding in order to get what she wants!

    Read through my articles and teach her obedience skills then you can ask for them when you are walking or jogging with her.

    I use to have a “monster” pup that I would take out running and exercising and we would do structured obedience. He would drop to a down with one command while I was running. He could heel and give me eye contact, he did tricks and push ups! All of this kept his mind entertained and gave him something else to do while I exercised his body!

    Adding lots of structured and then advanced obedience will help her and your relationship!


    Jil Reply:

    Hi Aileen,
    Thank you for your response. Yes, we got a backpack about 6 weeks ago, and it does mellow her out as far as the aggression goes, but now completely. Next paycheck I will try the Thundershirt, I hear they’re great.

    If she is startled, she will bark and lunge aggressively!!! Last night we went for a 3 hour walk with the backpack and two full bottles of water on either side. There were a few people that she really scared with her terrifying bark. She was exhausted and slept through the night, but I must admit that I can’t do this every day after work. Anyway, thanks for the comments and advice. It’s very helpful. One thing that I’d like to add…with difficult pups/dogs, I’ve noticed that they love to be praised when they’re doing something good/right. My puppy loves to learn new tricks and when she gets it, I made such an ordeal about it that it causes her to actually glow!!!


  18. BJ says:

    I just want to say that I love this forum. Everyone has been so helpful with their suggestions, etc. I had a German german shepherd, Blitzkrieg, who was an automatic nanny for my kids and a fantastic companion! I miss my “snowpuppy” even after nine years!


  19. Marilyn says:

    I have an Old English Sheep Dog and a Golden Doodle. One of the reasons I have two dogs is so that they can keep each other company when I have to work away from the home.

    I have an electronic dog door that allows them to let themselves in and out into a fenced area of the back yard whenever they want to go out and play. The dogs have a small device that they wear on their collar that makes the plexiglass dog door raise automatically when they approach and it then closes after they have passed through.

    I am also a big fan of doggie day camp. My dogs are so excited when we get within a mile of the place I can hardly keep them still. I found one in my area where a half day of day camp is free if your dogs are getting groomed. This is a nice bonus because the dogs come home exhausted from camp and all clean and fluffy from their bath and brush.

    Despite all of these things that I do to accommodate the dogs when I need to be away for hours at a time, they still need a lot of attention and exercise every single day. Jogging or walking each day with them right after work is a routine.


  20. Roland says:

    I have a 7 month old border collie/lab that has full run of the house and we had problems for 1 week. I get up at 4am, give him 1/3 of his kibble and take him for 2.5 mile walk. When I get home my wife is ready for work and she does obedience training with him while I get ready. I put the rest of his kibble in 3 different puzzle toys and I have burnt a cd with 10.5 hours of relaxing classical music that I put shuffle mode. I hide toys for him and if I know it will be a stressful day for him (noisy or construction) I put his Thunder shirt on (amazing response to this) and we leave without making a big deal of it. When we come home we not make big deal of that either. In the evening he goes for another 2 mile walk, 45 minutes of fetch and a few minutes of obedience. Every Saturday and Sunday we spend as much time as possible at a fenced off dog park sociizing. We no longer have a problem. He is the sweetest dog around and yes we had to make commitment to him just as did for our children.


    Minette Reply:

    See! If done correctly and kindly like you do, a person can work and enjoy the gift and love of a good dog!!


  21. Ina says:

    Dear Chet,
    Thank you for this article. I hope it gets some people thinking BEFORE they get a dog, if responsible dog owner friends show it to them.


  22. Laurie says:

    These days it is very hard to own pets and work. I’m gone from 6 – 8 hours a day. I do not take him out for a walk or play in the morning as the sun does not rise until around 9:00 am in the winter (which lasts from end of October until around April) and I am already at work by then. I live in a small city in the North. The sun goes down lately by about 5:30 pm. In the evening I take my dog out for a structured walk, and then off leash play. I train him everyday, short but several training sessions (I want to do canine freestyle). I also play inside with him to just be with him. He goes everywhere with me. If I need to go to the store, I walk so he can have some more time outside. If I go on an errand in my car I bring him. I leave a Kong with half of his breakfast to have in his kennel in the morning. I let him roam free in the house more often during the day then in the kennel (I don’t use the kennel everyday, to break up his week a little.) I have two cats, one of which will play with him, that stay indoors.I thought about getting up earlier to take him out in the morning, the only thing is, it is still very dark outside. I live in an oilfield city so there are many strangers here, so it’s not very safe walking when it’s too dark. Bohdi is just starting to be watchful of strangers, so perhaps soon we can walk when it is dark. He just turned one and has started sounding warnings (he doesn’t bark much), especially if someone approaches us in the dark. I also have a couple of walking partners (and their dogs) that we connect with a couple times a week and doggie social class (indoors) on Friday nights. Agility in the summer, and of course lots of swimming. On weekends, Bohdi is with me 24/7, and we go on hiking trails (even in the winter), or parks, or whatever strikes our fancy. But I still feel guilty that it is not enough, or am I stressing for no reason?


  23. Donna says:

    I love your info. I have an 11 month old mix that I rescued at 6 weeks. He brings me so much joy! He gets along fairly well with my 2 other (much older) dogs. I have taught him several tricks, sit, stay, speek, lay down, roll over, sit pretty, jump thru hoola-hoop, dance & twirl around, fetch, however I am NOT able to teach him not to be aggressive when people come over. I have tried putting him on the patio when he won’t calm down, or in my bedroom & he has even bitten a few people not bad but i’m afraid for him to be around others. He doesnt like men except for my son & husband. Any other male that comes around he will act very aggresive. What else can I do? Desperate in Lubboc. Donna


  24. I have shibas, notorious resource guarders, so I am afraid to use kings (to avoid a fight). Any other ideas for activities to challenge their high intelligence and boredom?


  25. Katherine says:

    I work full time and have 3 dogs. And I make sure they are taken care of. I can’t afford doggy day care, but we have found things that works for us. Luckily I don’t have to be to work until early afternoon, and then come home 8-9 hours later. I ALWAYS let them out for about an hour to just run around and play with each other, their toys, etc. The I’ll get the chuck it and ball and throw it constantly for about 30 minutes. Then I do the frisbee for 30 minutes, dividing it with 2 of my dogs – as one doesn’t care. Then I’ll spend 15 minutes with each practiing their obedience and work on their tricks. I get to take one dog with me to work 4 days a week, which is a nice perk, and I was rotating them but right now only one is really coming. BUT I prep kongs every night – I have about 10- and fill them with goodies and freeze them. Then I give my dogs 2 kongs each and a couple of other treat dispensing toys while I’m gone. My boyfriend comes over about 3-4 hours before I get home and lets them run around, relieve themselves and play for about a half hour. Then when I get home the morning routine happens again. So, I do what I can for them, even though I’d love to be home with them all day, obviously I can’t do that. But we go to training classes and doggie playdates usually a couple nights a week when I don’t have to work. There are ways to work a lot and make sure your dogs are cared for without it costing extra, it just simply takes work and effort. As much as I hate getting up in the morning, I do it for my dogs. I’d much rather be cranky for a little bit then have to deal with a barking dog, or have a hole in my yard. People are just lazy and selfish. I’ll admit, I get that way too. But it’s soooo importsnt the dogs get cared for.


    Rainbow Casey Reply:

    They are very lucky to have you.


  26. d Wright downs says:

    Check with your dog doc prior to putting your best friend into a day care. There are daycares my vet will not deal with. I talked to people who have had their dogs in the daycare and have been told about sick dogs from kenneling and dogfights from the daycare. don’t put your dog where you wouldn’t put your kid, your horse or your elderly parent. Not all daycares are the same. Most are not regulated by state laws as kennels are.


  27. art behne says:

    I have a 2 yr.old Yorki poo. He is as tough as nails. Very difficult to control. EXAMPLE– If He knows that I am going to take his bone,he looks me straight in the eye as to warn me. I mean he is dead serious and will bite— really bite-hard as hell.
    There seeme to be a lot behind looking directly into a dogs eyes !
    Seems as they are warinig you that there is a toll that you will suffer if his line is crossed.
    He also goes completly nuts when the door bell rings.

    Any ideas on how to calm him down ? I do spend time every day and repeat commands. Very slow but seems to work.

    He has a mind of his own–There is no stopping him from running away
    ( like ) running across the street.


    Laurie Reply:

    My dog used to warn me (and has snapped at me) if I came too close to his bone. I used Cesar Millan method and now I can take anything I want from my dog.Don’t reach for the bone/toy, good way to get a bite. I just stood in front of him (calmly) and looked in his eyes, no words, no sounds, just stood looking at him. His head lowered, ears went down and backed away a little. As he backed away I stepped towards him (no more steps forward than he took back), and repeated this until I could comfortably pick up the bone. I practiced this every time he had a bone or toy. Now it’s a breeze, no warnings from him at all, and just calmly lets me take his bone. As far as the doorbell crazies, my dog doesn’t bark at the door, but he used to bark at me to play, or at things outside (that did not require a warning bark). So I decided to teach him speak, and then when he was good at it and could speak as long as I kept asking him too I then taught him to stop. That’s how I got around his barking at things that I don’t want him to bark at. It is just a new thing I’m trying and so far pretty good results. Dogs bark, and like to bark, so I figure to get him to stop doing certain things is to teach him how to do those things and then teach the stop or enough command.That way he can do the things dogs like to do, but I can choose the where and when. The running across the street is something I’m working on as well. Mine used to bolt out the door, but I make him sit away from the door while I answer it and tell him to stay. He is doing well there, but still working on better recall. My dog will run to greet any dog he sees (very freindly) across the street as well. It’s still a work in progress. When off leash I try to find a place that is closed in like a ball park, but he manages to find the openings sometimes.


  28. Lou says:

    I used to work full time, couldnt afford doggy day care and had seen some that were not appropriate so I’d get up at 5.40am to take my Stanley out, sun or no sun (get a light up collar if needs be), rain or sleet or snow! He had a full hour running then I’d take him out again for a quick wee before I went to work. Stanleys health and wellbeing was more important than a lie in! After work he’d have another 45 mins walk with either myself or my partner (whoever got home 1st) as he’d been sleeping all day. Then play/training throughout the evening. As a result he’s a very well rounded dog who can obey commands and play with other dogs and children. Play time is not the only teaching time, I try to do a just a few minutes here and there, even if it’s only sit, lie, roll over, right paw, left paw (yes he does know which is which… now). I used to think that training was a big effort and would put off doing it but changing my mind set to realise that only 5 mins 8-10 times a day is all it takes. Repetition and reward is the key! Now I am fortunate enough to work part time and still take him out for his regular walks, a good walk/run in the morning wakes me up too and I value the time with him. I often see/hear dogs barking in gardens cos their owners think a yard to run around is a substitute for a walk – it isn’t and if you don’t walk your dog enough for the specific breed then you are abusing your pet and do not deserve to own them. A dog is not a possession, it’s a member of the family. If you really love your dog then show it with exercise and quality time. I strongly recommend people buy or rescue a breed that they have fully researched and fits their lifestyle. If you don’t want to walk in all weathers at all hours then I suggest a cat or maybe a hamster.


  29. NANCY L DOLL says:




  30. NANCY L DOLL says:



  31. NANCY L DOLL says:



  32. Margie says:

    Unfortunately I became disabled 4 yrs ago, so I am no longer able to work. After several operations I am now able to walk and get around some. The bright thing is that my dog is never left alone for more than a couple hours at a time. Many days we spend the entire day together. She is a rescue pit bull (approx 6 yrs), I brought home 2 yrs ago. Even though she was an adult, who had not been taught or trained at all, she is now a wonderful companion dog. Still need to work on some stuff. But because we train and play several times a day (just not for more than 20 mins at a time), she has come along way. I still think it is easier to train a puppy. But since I had the time and have the patience, this old dog has learned many new tticks. Even tricks like being well behaved


  33. Jesse R. Flores says:



  34. Terry says:

    I have to agree with SL. I love my two dogs! I work 8-10 hours a day but always give them attention when I get home. They are good dogs and do not cause any problems. I do not feel that working people should be denied the privilege of the companionship of dogs! It is no different than raising children. It is the quality of time spent, not the quantity.


  35. Itene says:

    Sorry to say I have a beautiful 6 month old puppy, who was very trainable when younger, now he wont do a thing he is told, only when he wants. He is very hyper, barks a lot, and bounds around my living room and uses me as a spring board. He is walked 3 times a day, and played with a lot. we cant let him out into the garden alone as he eats and swallows stones, which he thinks is fun, i have tried every thing i can possibly think of.I have had doberman dogs for over thirty years, but never one like him plus we cant tire him out and very seldom sleeps, but I love him. please help.


  36. i purchased a 6 month old Cocker Spaniel puppy from a shelter. I love him but he is almost too much–pooping on my carpet and chewing valuable items. What do I do?


  37. Robin says:

    Well , i got a small problem these days .

    My work shift has changed and because of that it has come to my attention that my dog will be left alone for almost 5-6 hours in the house .With construction going on in my house , it is practically not possible to leave a 7 month old Labrador off leash in the house with most of the doors opened and numerous workers all around . Now i need to put him inside 1 room with all the stuff he needs . But the problem is , he just cant stay alone in any room without someone being in there . So in those times he starts barking , irrespective what treats i have for him lying in the room . My other family members will keep a check on him time to time, but this situation will last for almost 4-5 months.
    Any suggestions , you guys could make , would be really very helpful for me.


    Minette Reply:

    I would crate him and have your family let him out and play with him every few hours.


  38. Dominique Graaff says:

    I loved this article!!! It gave me some ideas on how to keep my pup occupied during the day! I never really thought to take him for run in the mornings before work. But will definitely try that out to see if it works… I usually keep Pluto in a small area of our apartment, meaning the Living room, kitchen area. I close off the bathroom and bedroom. But do in fact leave the radio on for him. I love to see that some of the things I do is good for him 🙂


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