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A Nine to Five Dog

Times have changed and as more people have become nine to fivers, more dogs have been forced to do the same. Where once a household may have had someone home all day, now it is likely the dog will be home alone from early morning to evening. While some dogs can adjust to life alone during the day, others may be lonely or bored. This boredom and loneliness may result in destructive or undesirable behavior, whether it be digging, chewing or barking. This in turn creates an unhappy owner who fears opening the door in the evening because of what surprise disaster may lie beyond the door. Often the first solution to owners is that they can not handle the dog and so they opt to give it up to a shelter. Does this mean that a person who works nine to five should not own a dog? Not at all, it only means that you may have to try to arrange things so that your dog's behavior will not upset you. You can do this by first recognizing how the dog is going to behave.
To begin, dogs should not be nine to fivers until they are at least 5 months old, because they have not yet developed the muscle strength for urinary control. Even then dogs should not be left alone for extended periods of time. When choosing a dog, you should consider the needs and characteristics of the breeds of dogs and pick a dog that meets your own individual lifestyle. For instance, certain breeds are high-energy dogs, so if you can not meet their need of more exercise than average breeds, then you should consider not getting a high energy breed. The same ideas go with dogs with long hair and grooming them. Simply choose a dog with the kind of maintenance level that you would like to deal with. Once you have picked the right dog for you – training is a must. Directed behavior actually makes dogs happier and forms a bond between dog and owner that helps each other understand one another. A simple 15-20 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week can improve the quality of the time you may have together.
As for the dog being housebroken it is unfair to expect a dog to not relieve himself all day, and if one does need to relieve himself and can't this is when restlessness sets in. To assist in housebreaking, the use of a dog gate (not a baby gate because dogs can get their heads stuck) can be of help to restrict the dog to a limited space during the day. And “dog proof” the house to avoid frustration on your part.
The reason it is unnatural for dogs to be alone is because naturally they are pack animals and so they miss company more than others. There are a few options you have to help your dog survive the long day. Maybe you know of a reliable teenager in the neighborhood that will check on your dog, walk him/her, and/or play with him/her to give him/her some exercise in the middle of the day or after school.
Another option is for you to tailor your lunch or schedule so that you can go home and enjoy your lunch while your dog enjoys a little companionship and exercise. Or you could hire a dog-walking service to walk your dog during the day. He/she will be very happy to have the companionship of other dogs. There are many pet-sitter services that may be able to make a visit to your dog in the middle of the day.
There is always the choice to get another dog for companionship, and maybe to build them a kennel with a dog door so they go outside as they please and get exercise. There is also the pet-sitter or dog sharing option. Maybe some one in your neighborhood is home during the day, perhaps an elderly person that will enjoy the companionship, and perhaps will be more than happy to take care of the dog as an exchange for yard work, house-sitting or odd jobs.
All of these options are possible, but it is very important that your dog is a desirable companion. This means that the training and obedience is very important at least training in the basics. Maybe you can form a nine to five dog owners' network and exchange ideas with other owners. Just remember a dog is not like a toy that you can pull off the shelf whenever you want to play and when you are done stick it back on the shelf. Dogs are a responsibility and are loving creatures that have needs of their own. So do everything you can to make your dog happy and you will find that it relieve you of stress and anxiety on your trip home from work.



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