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Which option sounds best for our bored dog?
Ever since I graduated from college and started my full-time job, Daisy has been home alone a lot more than she was while I was in school. We do walk her every day, do daily training sessions, and provide her with toys like kongs filled with peanut butter and kibble to keep her occupied. However, she still gets bored and has a tendency to become destructive during these times. Yesterday she chewed her fourth hole into our wall. Luckily, the holes are easily fixable by us (the new one is the only one remaining), but I know it’s our fault she’s so bored and our number one priority is keeping her happy, but still safe. Eating paint and drywall just doesn’t fit the bill.
I asked about this on a dog forum and was told to keep her in a crate all day. I know people do this, and we used to do it when she was a puppy, but I feel bad leaving her caged up all day when she’s had free reign of our kitchen (we gate her in) for so many months. I don’t want her to feel as if she’s being punished. So, here are the options I’ve come up with:
1.) Keep her in a pen (bigger than a crate, smaller than the kitchen) while we’re gone and make sure we get her more exercise while we’re home. This option keeps her and our walls safe while we’re working all day, but she will still be confined.
2.) Hire a dog walker. I’d have to pay them $10/hr and I’d like them to spend 2 hours per day, three days per week with her. A one-hour walk and a one-hour play session would do her a lot of good. However, finding a dog walker in our town might be hard and giving someone I barely know a key to our house and access to our pets makes me nervous. I’ve joined Care.com so I’m not picking some random person off of Craigs List, but I’m still not sure. Also, $60/week would really add up.
3.) Doggie daycare. There’s a daycare about 10 minutes from my work that only charges $10/day for their services. The dogs are given access to a large yard to run and play. This would be a great socialization opportunity for Daisy, and more bang for our buck at $30/week at 9 hours per day, but she’s uncomfortable around big dogs and I’m concerned about her being left unsupervised with a dog that might be aggressive.
IMPORTANT: I can’t leave her outside all day (no fence, tiny yard, hot South Carolina summers) or let her roam the house alone all day, so those suggestions just won’t work. And don’t tell me I shouldn’t have a dog if I don’t have time for one, because plenty of people with pets work all day.
So, please give me your thoughts on this. What would YOU do in this situation?