How much time should you spend with your dog?

Posted by Betty. January 27th 2014.

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. It’s important your dog has a healthy and happy home, so read our advice to see if you can provide that.


Do We Spend Too Much Time With Dogs? A couple and 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; 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 I get a rescue dog?

Most rescue homes will not allow you to rehome a dog if you have a full time job and 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 it is an older dog. But in every case they say that there should be a way that they can get outside for ‘toilet breaks’.

Building a good relationship

Sometimes problems can arise from spending too much time with your dog, and them becoming dependent on your company and 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 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.

Do We Spend Too Much Time With Dogs? 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.

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