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.
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.
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.