How much time should you spend with your dog?

Posted by Betty. January 27th 2014. Tagged: Pet information and ownership advice and Pet well being

Owning a dog is a big responsibility and not a decision to be taken lightly, so before you jump into a long-term commitment with a new pet, consider the amount of time you should be dedicating to them and how long you can leave them alone for. If you currently own a dog and notice that he or she is becoming destructive while you are out, it could the case that you are leaving them alone for too long.  It’s important your dog has a healthy and happy home life, so read our advice to see if you can provide just that.

A couple spending time with their dog

Do you have enough time for a dog?

The amount of time you can leave a dog alone for depends on the sort of dog that you have; remember that all dogs are different and require unique needs. Some dogs will be destructive when they’re on their own for too long and may bark and howl while you’re out.

The RSPCA say that your dog should have regular opportunities to go to the toilet even if they are good at being left alone, as regularly trying to hold on without going to the toilet can cause health problems.

How to train your dog to be alone

By gradually increasing the amounts of time that your dog is left on his own you can teach him that it isn’t frightening. You can use rewards when they are relaxed so that they associate your absence with pleasant things. Do not give the reward if they are anxious and making a lot of noise as this can encourage the wrong behaviour.

Over time you can gradually increase the distance and time of separation. Leave them something to keep them occupied whilst they’re alone; a bone or chew that will last a long time is a good choice.

Can you get a rescue dog if you work full-time?

Most rescue homes will not allow you to re-home a dog if you have a full time job which means you are out of the house for over four hours at a time. The Dogs Trust says that this is due to the boredom and anxiety that this causes, and it can be even worse with a puppy.

They do however make some exceptions when there are other dogs for company or when the canine you are adopting is an older dog. But in every case they say that there should be a way that they can get outside for ‘toilet breaks’.

Is it possible to spend too much time with your dog?

Yes, sometimes problems can arise from spending too much time with your dog. This is because they can become dependent on your company and become increasingly demanding. To keep your relationship healthy, and for a well-behaved dog that you will love even more; you can make sure interactions are on your terms.

If your dog is demanding too much attention from you, then don’t talk, pet, play with or even look at them because if it works they will repeat this behaviour. You should be the one to initiate interactions as a reward when they are being well behaved.

A woman keeps her dog company whilst on the phone

The best relationships with pets are consistent and controlled so to keep your dog happy, find a happy medium. Don’t leave them alone for too long, but don’t spend too much time pampering them either; they’ll love you all the more for it.

 

If you want to learn more about dog behaviour, grooming or health, head over to our We Talk Dog blog where you can find more information.

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