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No Time For Your Pet?

* Notes Links not working at last update

This can be quite a dilemma. This area is where the dedication of the owner can really stand out - when you do have time, when you can make time, what do you do? You might be able to make your pet happier if you increase the quality of the time you can give him, and plan carefully for when you are not there. You also can look at it as two types of time - time where you are actively paying attention to your pet, and time when it's more ambient, you are just in each other's company. How much of your ambient time with your pet can be converted to active attention time? You can include your pet in many activities, you may have not thought of too. How about talking to him while folding laundry? This kind of thing.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of watching one less sitcom to spend the time with your pets to make them happy. [Editor's note: I can't tell you how many owners have told me they don't have time to train their dogs, but can stand for an hour every day at the dog park just talking to friends - Ten minutes less talking won't hurt the owners, but will make a WORLD of difference to their dogs].

 With dogs, you can have a very well trained dog in 10 minutes a day if you are consistent. Do you have 10 minutes today for your best friend? Good, that's a start. You can train them anywhere and everywhere, your living room, or in a park, or on leash on the sidewalk. If you can combine playing/excercise and training, you will come out ahead. Once you have a well mannered dog, it will be much easier to include him in your activities. You need to take the kids to the little league game? Bring the dog! Train and play with him between innings or while your kid is on the bench. Do you have errands to run to places that allow dogs? Bring the dog, teach him to do a stay while you pay at the register. Please find time to take at least on of those 6 week obedience classes (usually 1 hour a week class with at least 10 minutes practice a day) to teach you how to train your dog, the rewards of a well behaved dog are incredible!

If you are one of those unfortunate souls who has impossible work schedules and long work days, it will be more difficult to do this alone. Most dogs do have a minimum level of exercise requirements that needs to be met to stay sane and healthy. Ask your vet about dog walkers in your area, or maybe you know some trustworthy dog loving kid who needs pocket money. There are commercial "doggy day care" and pet walking services in most all cities. If the expense is too much, try asking a neighbor or friend to help out. Can you make it home at lunch time? Can you exercise your dog before work? A tired dog is a good dog.

Eking out a few minutes here and there for your dog can really make a difference! You don't necessarily have to have a big block of time - a half hour walk here, 10 minutes training there, 3 minutes playing, 5 minutes just talking to him, some "ambient" time sitting with him watching all adds up.

Many of these links also apply to when you must board your dog.