Here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for… We’ve gathered 21 ways to find more time to spend with your dog.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~ Roger Caras
We asked and you answered loud and clear.
“If you could give your dog one thing, what would it be?”
I posed this question to the followers of Go Dog Nashville on Instagram and Facebook. There were some wonderfully creative and heartfelt answers submitted.
“The ability to talk to me…”
“A longer life…”
“A new sister…”
“All the dog toys…”
I loved them all!
But one reply was consistently repeated over and over: you want to give your dog more of your time.
And I get it.
Even though I have the privilege of being that coveted “stay-at-home-dog-mom,” I still find it challenging (and sometimes guilt-inducing) to take care of daily life, work from home and still spend quality time with Chloe. And as an Aussie, she needs LOTS of time and energy burning activities!
Quality Verses Quantity
The verdict is still out whether your dog does best with quality vs. quantity when it comes to bonding with you. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. And as in everything with life, sometimes we’re going to have more of one than the other.
And that’s okay.
One thing is certain: dogs prefer consistency in their daily routine. When they know what to expect, what activity comes after another, when you will be home, etc., it helps them relax and turn off the stress hormones that anxiety produces. Because the truth is – your dog wants to spend as much time with YOU as you do with him!
Ways to Help You Find More Time
Let’s explore some ways you can find more time to spend with your dog. We’re not going to cover all 21 in this post; we’ve got a handy Cheat Sheet (you can find it below) you can download that will cover them all. But let’s take a quick look at a few…
Some of them are easy fixes (you’re most likely already doing them.) And some of them are going to require some thoughtfulness, consistency and determination on your part.
Planning is Everything
There’s a reason why teaching time management skills is a multi-million dollar business. Planning your life is a balancing act. Your best four-legged friend should rank right up there with the most important parts of your life.
Do you have a planner or an app to help you schedule your weekly activities? I’ll bet you do. If you view spending time with your dog as important an activity as say, getting your nails done or working out at the gym, you’ll need to start penciling in that time on your calendar.
Once you have blocked out that time on your schedule, it’s easier to view it as an important commitment.
Identify the Time Wasters
“But my schedule is already full!” I can hear you shouting over your dog barking at the delivery truck in the background while you scroll through your IG feed. “That’s WHY I wish I could spend more time with my pupper!”
We all have them. Things we do over and over that distract us from doing and accomplishing the things we REALLY want to do.
Take a moment to look at activities you might be doing. How can you eliminate the time wasters?
- Is this absolutely necessary to do right now?
- Am I doing these things instead of activities that are of bigger importance to me?
- Could someone else do this thing for me to free up more time?
- Is there a more efficient way to do this so it takes less time?
- Do I really enjoy this activity?
It’s the little things in life that count. Most of our closest relationships develop in our day-to-day living with our loved ones.
Don’t overlook your best bud while you go about your day. Include your dog in as many activities around the home as possible. Talk to him, invite him to join you in fetching the mail or doing the laundry or vacuuming the floors. These are excellent opportunities for training.
Walks are of immense value to dogs. Don’t shortchange your pal (or you) of some quality bonding time while out on your daily walks. Plus – exercise!
And remember – your dog notices and appreciates when you join HER in just being a dog. How often have you simply held the leash and watched as your dog followed her nose? Or quietly accompanied your dog as she explores the backyard or a wooded trail?
Dogs are pack animals and they enjoy having you be ‘part-dog’ for a bit.
This deserves a post of its own. Because as dog owners – especially if we have an active breed – we sometimes believe our pups have to be busy doing something ALL. THE. TIME.
We owe it to our dogs to help them learn how to just chill and relax near us. Dogs who are constantly being trained or worked or exposed to high levels of stimulus (such as a daycare situation) never get a chance to push the reset button.
As I mentioned above, stress levels rise and the production of stress hormones can knock the body and mind out of balance.
Bet you know exactly what I mean – because it’s the same for us.
Spend some quality down-time bonding with your dog.
The Big Stuff
While you’re scheduling dog-time on your calendar, don’t forget the big stuff.
- The Epic Road Trips
- The Agility/Obedience/Rally/etc. Classes
- A Weekend at the Lake to SUP with your PUP
- The Special Dog Events
All the Very Fun Things that can take bonding with your dog to a new level.
Dogs have such a short time here with us. They depend on us to provide them with new experiences. They need us to be there for them to develop a close, heart-to-heart connection. And we need them for the same thing.
We’ve put together a Cheat Sheet for you: 21 Ways to Find More Time to Spend with Your Dog. Sign up below and we’ll send it to you. It’s a great way to spark some creative brainstorming to discover more time than you thought you had!