How In-home Pet-Care Helps You & Fido Live Better
I have a dirty little secret: I watch pet-training and pet care shows to make myself feel better. It’s not because I’m a rock-star pet mom, either. I don’t even agree with Cesar Milan a lot of the time. But just like Hoarders or Supernanny or Teen Mom can make me feel a little bit better about my own life choices, pet training shows help convince me that the annoying things my own dog does aren’t so bad. Realistically, though, that doesn’t help solve the problem, or make my relationship with her better.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my dog (she’s a fourteen year-old Australian Shepherd, and I’ve had her since she was eight weeks old). She’s my firstborn child, even now that her “little brother” is here and is also a human. She’s been with me through a whole lot of life changes, ups and downs, and even spent a year and a half with me in France.
But she has her bad days. She’s a senior. She can’t hear well. She has days when she barks all the time, or begs for food, or just doesn’t want to go with the flow of what the family is doing. She has days where she has zero patience for the toddler, and where she doesn’t even seem that into hanging out with me. The nerve!
Of course, parts of this are normal. She’s a dog. She’s an independent creature with a mind of her own, who happens to be very cuddly and loving and also to live in my house. But she also has her own needs, and as an attentive pet parent, I know when I’m not meeting them, and watching worse-behaved dogs on TV doesn’t solve that.
UNDERSTANDING DOG BEHAVIOR
There’s one valuable thing that dog training shows have taught me. Almost any doggy behavioral problem can be solved with enough exercise, play, gentle training, and attention. Like most humans, positive attention makes dogs’ lives better. Like most humans, when dogs’ lives are better, they have fewer bad days, are more fun to be around, are happier, and don’t poop on the carpet.
That said, it’s so, so easy for that knowledge to turn into guilt. Like a lot of people, I have a job, and a child, and a marriage, and a house that’s never organized enough, and I also have a dog. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to give every aspect of and creature in my life my full and devoted attention. At least not as much of it as they all want and merit.
This is where an in-home dog walker or pet-sitter can make such an amazing difference. When I know my pup has someone coming by just to focus on her and her needs, I don’t have to feel guilty that I can’t be home every day to do it. Moreover, that person loves dogs so much they’ve made a career out of working with them. I can let go. My pup gets walks and cuddles and love and games of catch and tug-of-war. I get less barking, crankiness, and guilt.
And it helps both of us to know that my dog has a person of her own, who I can call on when we get stuck somewhere, or are going away, or have the flu and can’t exercise her ourselves. Our dog walker is part of the extended family, and even notices things that are going on with the pup that we might initially miss (like when a new food didn’t completely agree with her).
In our next post, we’ll talk a bit more about guilt. But for now, check out our dog walking and pet-sitting options. As one pet parent to another, I promise they’re worth the value they provide in peace of mind. And our teams really love the animals they work with. If you can’t be there all the time (because unlike your dog, you have responsibilities other than eating things off the floor, greeting people enthusiastically, and peeing on a schedule), having someone else who you know will be there on a reliable schedule is the next best thing.