Having dogs is a lot like raising children. I know how some people hate the term “fur babies” and I remember my dad never wanted my dogs referred to as his “grand dogs”. What we do know, is how much our dogs are loved and considered members of our families.

I got to thinking how much responsibility it is to have dogs. Having a child also, who just turned 16, I can see the similarities with raising both! They both need activities, and playtime and education! If we don’t engage them in healthy activities they’ll find their own ways to spend their time, often leading to trouble!

My son is more independent now, growing into a young adult whereas our dogs are always going to be “kids” who are 100% dependent on us for their needs and well being.

I devote a lot of time to my dogs, not just because of my hobby and professional dog training business, but how they need activities, attention, enrichment, walks, training and of course the basics with meals, vet appointments, grooming, etc. You can see why they are so often referred to our “fur babies”!

My dogs can handle some down time, but really want to do ANY of the THINGS! They are active dogs and need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation. I take the responsibility seriously, often having less time for other activities and projects in my life.

I always remember as a new mom, there was nothing better than a sleeping baby! It’s the same with dogs … when you know you have tired them out enough where they “sleep like a baby” then you know you did your job!

And when I don’t have a lot of time to spend with them, they are bored, restless and yes, a bit unhappy!! They have emotions and feelings like any living being. I get creative in keeping them enriched and make time for their many activities and also schedule some 1:1 time with each. On busy days, I may have Moxie come with me to a class, and Savvy walks down with me to get the mail and Drac gets a play date with one of his girl pals!

One of our favorite activities is going on trail walks! If I only have time for one thing, the walk always gets priority. In freezing temps and hot summer days, when I might rather kick up my feet and read a book or have so much on my plate, I recognize how much my dogs NEED their walks. We are all better off when we go for walks!

As life can easily get busier and busier, I’m learning to take on less and enjoying the time with those who surround me in my life and taking better care of all of us!

Now go on that walk!