As a dog trainer I enter many homes where LIFE is crazy busy. Honestly what home isn’t like this now a days with work schedules, recreational activities, etc.? I often hear from these clients that they don’t have time to walk the dog on a daily basis or that they don’t have time to spend hours throwing the ball for their dog in the backyard. I understand completely. The question I often get asked is should we find another family that can spend more time with our dog? My answer is that depends and lets see first what we can do to make having a dog work for your dog and your specific family. Yes in an ideal world you would be able to take your dog out for an hour walk each day, throw the ball for a few hours, work on training commands, etc. Now back to reality. Very few people today have that kind of time. Does that mean you should not have a dog or you are a bad owner? No, but it does mean that you need to carefully consider what the dog you are getting is bred for and the overall energy level of that dog. I also remind owners that the more you can get your dog out and exercised the less behavioral issues you will have. That being said most people are not able to walk their dogs for an hour or more depending on the needs to that specific dog. But there are tons of options available for you and your family. Consider the following questions:
Can you walk your dog for 10 minutes each day? Can you take your dog on longer family walks and hikes on the weekends? Can you purchase puzzle toys, treat balls, dog sandboxes, duck scent, etc. to ease boredom during the day while you are at work? Can you hire a dog walker, petsitter, the neighbors teenager to play or walk your dog while you are gone during the day? While feeding your dog, putting your dog to bed, answering the front door, etc. can you work with your dog on commands? Can you take your dog to the dog park on some weekends or the dog beach? Can you purchase Nylabones and other chewies for the times you are away? Can you take your dog with you on your morning run? Can you attend a dog hike? (I offer monthly dog hikes and there are also many dog clubs on Meetup that offer dog activities). Can you buy a leash extender for your bike and take your dog out when you ride your bike? Can you do agility with your dog once a week? Or maybe Treibball or Scent work? Do you have an hour one day a week for Basic Obedience Class? If you answered yes to any of the above then yes you can own a dog.
As a trainer I know that it is ideal if you can exercise your dog a minimum of an hour a day but as a trainer I also know the reality of that. That is why I create individual training plans that work with my clients and the needs of their specific family. We brainstorm together to find what works best for everyone. Besides you already made that first step and blocked out an hour of your time to call in a dog trainer, that speaks volumes. Owning a dog should not be another chore, it should be enjoyable for both the dog and the entire family. Whatever your schedule is, we can and will make it work for every dog deserves a loving family.