Pets (Singapore) - - Contents - by Justina Tan

Life hacks for the lazy paw-rent.

icon­fess. I don’t al­ways prac­tise what I preach. Although I’ve churned out count­less ar­ti­cles ex­tolling the virtues of daily walks with Fido and reg­u­lar play­time with Puss, I prob­a­bly spent more time pen­ning those words of ad­vice than I did putting them into ac­tion. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a strong be­liever that ev­ery paw-rent should de­vote qual­ity time to their furkids.

But rais­ing fur ba­bies is in some ways sim­i­lar to rais­ing hu­man chil­dren. In par­ent­ing, there’re al­ways rec­om­mended par­ent­ing prac­tices to fol­low. But break­ing the rules a lit­tle or veer­ing off course on oc­ca­sion doesn’t make you a bad mum or dad. Like­wise, don’t be too hard on your­self if you aren’t a model paw-rent. In­stead of forc­ing your­self to stick to a sched­ule or fol­low a set of guide­lines, find out what works for both you and your furkid(s). When you’re less stressed (and

ex­hausted) about what you should or shouldn’t do, paw-rent­ing be­comes a lot more en­joy­able.

What I’m say­ing is that I un­der­stand how you feel, Busy Paw-rent who works hard to put (pet) food and (puz­zle) toys on the ta­ble. While the fol­low­ing is in no way a guide of any sort, these are my per­sonal life hacks for the tired paw-rent:

Nail the potty train­ing

Yes, by-the-book potty train­ing rec­om­mends that you take your pooch out on sched­uled walks at least twice daily.

But for those who don’t have the lux­ury of a helper or a re­tired par­ent at home 24/7, those sched­ules don’t al­ways go ac­cord­ing to plan. Hands up if you’ve ever had to work over­time and re­turned home to a furkid with a blad­der on the verge of burst­ing! Hence, pee pad train­ing is the very first thing I work on when I bring a new dog home.

It’s ex­tremely hard work and you will spend hours scrub­bing floors and clean­ing pee and poop in the be­gin­ning, but it’s a life­saver for you and your pup­per in the long run. It cuts you some slack when you’ve got dead­lines to meet, or if you need to sleep in a lit­tle on week­ends.

Although ca­nines and hu­mans are dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent, I’ve al­ways held the be­lief that our dogs—like us—should have the free­dom to use the toi­let when­ever they feel the urge. For­tu­nately, both my pooches are happy to re­lieve them­selves on ei­ther the pee pad or grass, which means I never have to worry about them hold­ing their pee or poop in whether we’re chill­ing at home or on an out­door ad­ven­ture.

A friend for Fido

Not ev­ery dog needs a furry com­pan­ion. Your pooch has to be fairly well-so­cialised with other dogs to ben­e­fit from hav­ing an­other pup­per around, and of course the po­ten­tial fur sib­ling has to be a good fit for your ex­ist­ing furkid.

I have two pooches: Bella and Piper. Bella is an ex­tremely needy pup­per and needs a warm body—hu­man or oth­er­wise—around all day for emo­tional well­ness. Piper isn’t the most af­fec­tion­ate “sis­ter” and is a bit of a sore loser dur­ing play­time, but even hav­ing a crabby play­mate and a trench buddy dur­ing groom­ing ap­point­ments is com­fort­ing and re­as­sur­ing enough for Bella.

Although the girls con­stantly find ways to an­noy each other when my hus­band and I are home, they get all mopey when they’re away from each other. You know your pup best, so you should have a good idea of whether he’s lonely when no one’s home or per­fectly happy rul­ing the roost.

Cud­dle bud­dies

I’m an in­cor­ri­gi­ble couch potato, so my favourite way of spend­ing time with my furkids in­evitably re­volves around my bed and sofa. If you lead an ac­tive life­style and your idea of fun is go­ing for a run with your pooches, more power to you! Your pups are lucky to have you.

But if, like me, all you can think of when you get home is hit­ting the sack or un­wind­ing in front of the telly, make sure you in­clude the whole fur-mily and throw in lots of head and chin rubs. I even in­clude my kitty, Scotty, in the cud­dle-mas­sage ses­sion, and he loves it.

Of course, don’t ex­pect your en­er­getic Jack Rus­sell Ter­rier to con­tent­edly curl up by your side if you haven’t ex­pended his en­ergy through a walk or romp in the park. But then again, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t have got­ten a high-en­ergy pup if your favourite pas­time in­volved ly­ing down.

Easy play

While reg­u­lar walks are cer­tainly ben­e­fi­cial to Fido, it’s not a car­di­nal sin to have sub­sti­tute ac­tiv­i­ties on days when you sim­ply aren’t up to tak­ing a long trek around the neigh­bour­hood. Toss­ing toys or treats across the liv­ing room for your pup to fetch, let­ting him work on a new puz­zle feeder, or al­low­ing him to romp off-leash at a nearby dog run are pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tives. Mean­while, you can keep Puss en­ter­tained for hours with a play cir­cuit, an au­to­mated laser light gadget, or an elec­tric mo­tion toy—all with­out lift­ing a fin­ger.

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