For many people that live in suburban or rural areas, having a house also means having a fenced yard, it just goes along with the package. This also means that having a dog or dogs and keeping them occupied and not making a mess in the house during the day is easy. Working families can simply put good old Rover outside to enjoy the nice weather or to stay in the kennel while the family is at work and school. When they get home not only has the dog explored the yard and ran around some of the day, but the house is still clean and the dog is happy and content to come inside and just relax with the family.
For people living in more urban settings where yards are very small if there at all, having a dog means leaving them alone in the house or apartment for the bulk of time in the day. In larger living spaces the dog may have his or her own room to stay in or some dogs may be crate trained or in a penned area, but typically the dog is left free in the apartment. For many dogs this leads to problematic behavior such as chewing, barking or even messing in the house, leading to frustration and even anger on the part of the owner. In reality it is boredom and lack of both physical and mental stimulation for the dog that often causes these problem behaviors. While exercising the dog before you leave will have a positive impact, it won't burn off all the energy the dog has for the entire day, still leaving a potential time of boredom and destructive behavior.
One of the newer concepts to help owners out with keeping their dog's active and mentally engaged throughout the day are doggy daycares. These are similar in some ways to boarding kennels although they may or may not provide overnight kenneling at all facilities.
Doggy daycares can be commercial enterprises that employ several staff members in specialized facilities or they can be smaller home type operations that take two or more dogs in during the day. The basic idea behind a doggy daycare is just like a daycare for kids. It is designed to provide structure, socialization, some training and lots of exercise. Ideally a doggy daycare may also offer grooming and other types of services depending on the needs of your dog or dogs. Some can provide private kennels and runs for your dog while others provide more small or larger dog group interactions.
If you are considering a doggy daycare be sure to get references and check out the facilities yourself. The owners and staff should be able to answer all your questions and should put you at ease with their commitment to caring for your dog. In addition they should have a professionally run operation and should also be able to answer your question about the type of dogs they allow into the daycare. This is particularly important if you want your dog only playing with other toy breeds or small dogs and are concerned about their interaction with larger dogs or dogs of specific breeds. Most doggy daycares don't accept unsocialized or untrained dogs, providing protection for the dogs that do come into the facility.
A doggy spa is another option. These facilities often combine daycare or pet management and boarding along with grooming, luxury care and exercise. These spas may not be something you would want to use every day, but they could be a once a week or month outing for your dog to really add a bit of luxury to their daily routine. As with any facility be sure to take a tour in advance and check references to make sure they are caring, professional and have your dog's best interest at heart.
Pet Sitters And Dog Walkers
You may not want to take your dog to a doggy daycare but also don't want them to stay alone for the whole day. In most medium to large sized cities there are professional dog sitters and dog walkers that can be a great asset to you and your dog. Pet sitters may come to the home and spend some part of the day with your dog, providing companionship and attention. They can also play with the dog, feed them and perhaps even take them for a walk. Many pet sitting services will also take your dog to the groomers or even to the vets provided you have signed any and all required release and liability forms. For senior dogs or dogs that need daily medication or rehabilitation treatments this can be an ideal option.
Dog walkers are individuals that will come to your home or apartment at a pre-set time and take your dog for a walk. Usually dog walkers will try to walk more than one dog at a time, which actually allows for some socialization with other canines for your pet. Dog walkers will typically try to match dogs they are walking and combine large breeds with other large dogs and toy breeds with other toys. Private dog walkers are also an option if you would prefer that your dog have exercise time all on his or her own.
If you are considering using either a pet sitter or a dog walker look for an established, licensed and recognized professional in your area. Ask for references and be sure to follow up, especially if these people will have access to your home or apartment. They should be both insured and bonded and have several references willing to provide positive feedback for their services.
You may also find that someone else in your building or in your neighborhood is walking or taking their dog out on a daily basis. If your dog and their dog get along and interact well, you may want to consider taking turns exercising and walking both dogs. The key is finding someone that is reliable, dependable and trustworthy, after all they are going to be responsible for your dog at least part of the day.