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23 Tips for Owning a Dog with a Busy Schedule

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If you are working a full-time schedule from 9am to 5pm, then you might be thinking that owning a dog is too much for you to handle.

After all, dogs need constant time and affection from their owners. While it is still possible to be a good dog owner despite having a busy schedule, it will take extra effort to sufficiently do your part.

Cute jack russel terrier dog laying on workdesk by unrecognizable woman working online

Whether you already have a dog or you’re still planning to have one, it is important to know some of the things you can do to balance your career and your life with a dog.

While owning a dog is not for everyone with a busy schedule, if you’re determined and persistent enough, you can successfully keep your dog healthy and happy.

After all, you never know how much a dog can positively impact your life.

Today, we’re going to talk about 23 tips for owning a dog with a busy schedule. 

1. Select the right breed for you

If you don’t have a dog yet and are planning to adopt one, it is best to do your research first. There are lots of dog breeds available and each one is different from the other.

Some dogs do better when left alone compared to other dogs.

As a busy person, you should avoid dog breeds that require constant human interaction since they tend to develop separation anxiety quickly.

Choose one that’s independent and can handle being alone.

This way, you won’t have to worry too much about what’s going on inside the house while you’re away, provided that the dog is properly trained.

2. Satisfy your dog’s basic needs

Like humans, dogs also have basic needs to live. It is as simple as providing them with food, water, grooming, healthcare, training, and entertainment.

To do this, you must include dog errands in your schedule. For example, set a day for your dog’s grooming every one to two months, along with a regular veterinary check up every 6 months.

Always provide them with food, water, and toys while you’re away. You can save time by ordering supplies online.

3. Give time for training

If you’re thinking that training your dog is optional, then forget that idea now.

To keep your dog well-rounded and calm around strangers and when alone, training should be provided.

While you think it may be too much for your busy schedule, you can start by having two to three 10 to 15 minute sessions per week.

However, if you can’t provide this, find a well-established dog trainer who can give your dog a one-on-one session.

4. Make a routine and stick with it

Most busy people would agree that daily routine is important.

Just make sure to include your dog in that daily routine. Like setting a time for you to wake up every day, set a daily schedule when feeding, exercising, or bonding with your dog.

Having a routine makes your dog feel more relaxed and secure since they know when you’ll be coming home, when it’s time to eat, to play, and to rest.

It lessens their tendency to be anxious and restless especially when alone.

Not only does it benefit your dog, but it will also help you organize and balance the things you have to do for the day.

Of course, it is important to stick with your routine as well.

two dogs playing with a toy together in nature

5. Find a playmate for your dog

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get another pet.

If you have a friend, a relative, or a family member who has a dog, or likes dogs, then perhaps you can set up a schedule for some playdates.

If the person is not as busy as you are, maybe you can have your dog stay at his place while you’re gone.

If your friend has a dog, then that’s even better!

A dog playdate is a great way to exercise your dog’s socialization skills, provided that there’s no tension and possible aggression between the two.

6. Make exercise a priority

Exercise not only benefits your dog, but your body as well.

Not only will it make both of you healthier, but it is also a great way to create deep bonds with your canine companion.

It does not have to be much depending on your dog’s breed. You might want to choose a dog that does not require too much exercise.

A few minutes of walk, or play sessions would be enough to burn off you and your dog’s energy. 

You can either start or end your day with an exercise, or feel free to do both!

That way, your day will start and end nicely. Try your best to make it a daily habit and as part of your routine.

Exercise should be a fun and enjoyable time, not a cumbersome activity.

7. Make a schedule to bond with your dog

As social beings, you and your dog need each other.

They need your time, affection, and love, while you need them for companionship and also to reduce your stress and to simply forget about your problems even for a little while.

For this reason, make sure that you provide a specific time to only bond with your dog. Remember, quality over quantity.

Don’t do anything else, just focus on creating deep connections with each other, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

8. If possible, take your dog to work

If your company will allow it, and if your dog is trained enough, it is a good choice to take your dog to work.

Many businesses and organizations consider dogs to have positive impacts in a workplace.

While your dog will need to adjust in the beginning, it won’t take long enough for him to open up and be comfortable in your workplace.

After all, what’s better than meeting people that they can consider as playmates?

9. Consider hiring a dog walker or sitter

If you’re always away for long periods, say 12 hours or more a day, it is best to consider hiring a reputable pet sitter or a dog walker that can visit your house at midday and take care of your dog.

They can play and exercise, or just spend time with your dog.

However, keep in mind that a pet sitter should not be a substitute for you.

It is essential to spend quality time with your dog. After all, you wouldn’t get a companion just so he can consider the pet sitter as his best friend.

Happy female dog walker cuddling a basset in nature.

10. Enroll your dog in a doggie daycare

While doggie daycare is not for all dogs, it is still worth trying.

Who knows, maybe your dog can enjoy spending time with other canines.

It is a good way to have your dog burn off his energy and improve his socialization skills rather than spending his time alone all day.

11. Let him have an animal friend

If you are confident enough to keep more than one dog, it might be best to have another dog to keep your dog company.

It may be ironic, but there are actually dog breeds who do better when accompanied by other animals in the house.

They can spend time together without getting bored.

Of course, having another dog is another commitment. Aside from providing their basic needs, make sure that both are free from trouble and sudden aggressiveness.

You wouldn’t want to come home to a wrecked house.

12. Make the most of your spare time

If you and your dog didn’t get to spend much time during weekdays because of your busy schedule, make sure to make it up to him by spending quality time on weekends.

Take this opportunity to bond, play, and connect with your dog.

Instead of going out with your friends and running errands outside, have your groceries delivered to your home. Or, you can even go and take your dog out to pet-friendly establishments.

13. Try to ask for a work from home set-up

It is not new for many organizations having employees under work from home set up several days a week.

When convincing your boss to allow you the idea of working from home, tell him the advantages of why you should receive such an arrangement, such as the efficiency it can provide, less office expenses, more space to the office, better productivity, etc.

When working from home, your dog gets to see you even when you’re busy. It’s better than not having the chance to see you at all.

14. Take your lunch at home

If your home is near the office, why not eat your lunch at home?

Calculate your time, and see if it will be enough to commute back and forth from your house to your office, and the time you’ll be spending checking out your dog.

If you opt to do this arrangement, make sure that your lunch is already prepared so as not to consume more time once lunch break arrives.

Remember that your goal here is to spend most of the time with your dog.

Golden retriever puppy dog playing with a stick on green grass in backyard.

15. Give your dog access to your backyard

If you have a backyard that is securely fenced, why not install a doggy door so your dog can have access outside?

This way, you won’t have to worry about coming home to a messy house since your dog can burn off all his energy outside.

Just make sure that the door can also let your dog come inside so he isn’t caught outside in sudden rain, storm, snow, as well as the extreme heat of the sun during summer.

16. Try using automated toys

Because of the emerging technology, there now exists automated toys that are especially made for dogs.

A simple ball can now be bought with a throwing machine that can keep them occupied during the day.

If they get bored playing it, they can also have battery-operated robot toys that they can chase inside or outside the house.

If automated toys are not available in your local pet store, there are various websites and platforms that you can buy from online.

17. Have your neighbor do a quick check on your dog

If you’re living long enough in your neighborhood and you have a friend/neighbor that you can trust, you can ask them if they can visit your house for a short while to check out your dog, or better, have him go outside with your dog for a quick toilet break.

If you’re too shy to ask your neighbor for such favor, you can simply ask him/her about how your dog is doing while you’re gone, such as if your dog is barking too much that it’s causing a disturbance around your area.

Through this, you’ll be able to know if your dog is developing a negative behavior for being alone, and you can find a solution by hiring a dog sitter or someone that can accompany him at midday.

18. Prepare an indoor potty for your dog

It’s inhumane to have your dog wait for you for eight hours or more before he can take his toilet break, right?

If you’re living in a small space, such as an apartment, and there is no way for your dog to go outside alone and have his potty break, then it is highly suggested to buy an indoor potty solution for him.

There are various indoor potty solutions available on the market, physical or online.

19. Provide your dog with puzzle and treat toys

Giving your dog a puzzle and treat toys that will keep him busy all day is a great way to have his mind stimulated even when you’re not together.

Don’t underestimate the importance of mental stimulation because without it, your dog can easily develop destructive behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing your furniture, and even digging.

Aside from puzzle toys, there are also treat toys that will suit your dog depending on his temperament.

Some dog breeds are considered natural chewers, so you might need to buy toys that utilize active chewing. For those who enjoy running all day, it is good to buy an automatic dog toy ball-launcher.

Shiba inu dog relaxing on cozy dog couch with exotic potted plants.

20. Provide your dog with a comfortable and safe environment

When leaving your dog, consider his point of view.

What environment would he want when he’s alone? Does he want his own, safe place where he can rest? Does he want various toys scattered around the house?

Some dogs also want to be in a smaller space, although it would look like that from our point of view, they will do better in a larger room.

Also, check the temperature inside the house. It should be warm enough for your dog to lay down and rest – not too hot, and not too cold.

21. Give him entertainment

Dogs easily get bored, so it is important to provide him with an entertaining environment when he’s alone.

This can be providing him with lots of chew toys, challenging toys, or even stuffed toys. Some dogs also want to have the television on since the sounds and colors from it keep them occupied.

Others would prefer having soft music on, such as jazz or classical music, to keep them relaxed and calm.

22. Buy nanny cams

Nanny cams are easily available on the market, and will play a huge role in monitoring not only children, but also your dog.

It will help you track your dog real-time so you won’t have to worry if he is doing something mischievous.  

23. Puppy proof your house

If you opt to leave your dog free inside the house, you should first learn to puppy proof your house, and what I mean by that is taking away things that may cause trouble when left alone with your dog.

One way to puppy proof your home is to make sure that all equipment and appliances are switched off.

Place your dog’s food and treats, as well as those that are poisonous to them such as chocolates, somewhere he can’t reach and make sure that they are properly sealed and locked.

Empty out the garbage.

Likewise, your valuable things, such as your favorite shoes should be properly kept as well so they won’t turn into a chewable toy for your dog.

Final Thoughts

If you think you can take on the challenge and are ready to own a dog, make sure to be consistent.

Dogs are not disposable, they need you to stay in their lives, and it is your full responsibility to keep them healthy and happy.

However, if you think you are not yet ready to adopt one, there’s always another option.

You can foster a dog, volunteer in animal shelters, or be your friend’s dog walker during your free time.

Just take your time until think you’re ready to be a good pet parent.