Each day brings a new set of laughter, challenges and tail wags, but between work, errands, cleaning and relationships, it’s difficult to give each pup the individual attention he craves. While you do your best to juggle your furry brood on a walk or squeeze everyone on the couch for cuddling time, you may miss out on bonding with each dog on a personal level. When was the last time you played Fido’s favorite game of fetch without Fluffy encroaching on a play? That’s a five-yard penalty for you, Fluffs. Or went on a relaxing stroll with Fluffy without Fido chomping at the bit to run? You made an important decision and commitment to include each dog in your life, and spending one-on-one time with them strengthens bonds, fosters confidence and minimizes sibling rivalries. Even if you have a busy schedule or too many paws to count, we have three tips that will help you carve out time each week so your dogs get the special attention they deserve.
Assign a Dog of the Day
Instead of trying to squeeze face-time with all your dogs into just one day, assign a day of the week to each dog (if you have more than seven dogs, feel free to make up a few extra days of the week). Now, what is it that your dog loves the most? A belly rub or a game of tug-of-war? While your other dogs are either inside (or outside) noshing on a treat or bone, take your “dog of the day” to play their favorite game. Spend at least ten to fifteen minutes engaging in one-on-one playtime. You can squeeze this playtime in while sipping your morning coffee, when you’re on your lunch break or while you’re waiting for the kitchen timer to go off.
Take Separate Walks
Walking is a great time to bond with your dogs and necessary for health and weight balance. If you normally walk your dogs at the same time, try switching it up at least once a week. If you don’t have a lot of time, or energy, take one dog on a short walk, swing back by your house and take your other dog on a long walk. You can trade the next week so each dog gets a turn at a long walk. Your dogs may not get as much exercise as they normally do, but the extra love will make up for it!
Multi-Task with Your Multi-Dogs
Whether you’re running errands, picking the kids up from school or going through the drive-through, take one of your pups along for the ride. Not only will this stimulate your dog’s mind, but it’ll also satisfy her need to spend time with you. If your dog isn’t a fan of car rides, there are other ways you can multi-task with your dogs. When you’re watching your favorite show, brush one of your pooches. If you’re in the kitchen cooking, grab a few pieces of food and run through some obedience cues with whichever dog happens to be waiting nearby. And anytime you find yourself alone in a room with just one of your dogs, take advantage of that time to give some extra ear rubs.
Rebekah Olsen is a professional writer and wordsmith. She has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Memphis, and enjoys writing about pet care. You can learn more about her at www.rebekaholsen.com.