Any dog parents out there? My sheltie just turned 6 months. She's suuuuuch a smart breed that I literally need to keep her mind occupied every moment throughout the day or she gets bored and destructive. She gets all her meals in the form of puzzles.

Today has been especially difficult because she has been non-stop barking every moment unless I'm actively training her, playing with her, entertaining her, or feeding her. The moment I walk back over to the computer and try to get back to work, she's back at it.

Anyone else here work from home while dealing with pets, kids, etc?

We've had one or more dogs since 1981. Most of the dogs were Irish Setters and mostly they just needed lots of exercise. Fortunately we are at the very edge of the city. There are literally (in the actual definition of the word) no houses once you go out our back gate. Just a highway, and once you cross that there is the Red River Floodway with a miles long bike/foot path and open grassy hills which is great for exercising dogs. Our current dog is an 8 year old golden retriever who is not nearly as active as the setters. But we're at the age (60 something) where we're not as active either. We also have a cat so they keep each other amused.

I grew up with a Yorkie and a Maltese, two little lap dogs who got their needs met by running around the house.

My sheltie is my first dog as an adult. She's a herding breed, meaning she likes to run and chase, A LOT. Additionally, she's one of the smartest dog breeds, so keeping her mentally stimulated is harder than giving her enough exercise. She gets all her meals as puzzle toys that she needs to solve (e.g. turn keys in the correct direction before being able to open the drawers to access the food). However, between meals, unless she's getting attention or is otherwise occupying her mind with something, she can be very destructive and loud.

With that, I'm off to the park for a little half hour walk! Be back soon :)

Our first two dogs were Irish Setters. Our third was a 6-month-old shepherd/husky cross that my wife fell in love with while she volunteered as a dog walker at our local humane society. A few years after we got him we saw an ad in the classifieds saying "found a female Irish Setter and looking for the owner". We called the number and said that if they couldn't find the owner, we would take her. She was about 6 years old and we think the previous owners sledded her because she loved ski-journing, and when we biked with the dogs on the floodway she insisted on being out front. She got upset if we tried to pass her.

Sooooo ... any advice on how to keep a herding dog occupied throughout the day when you're busy and can't give him/her attention?

Can I assume that getting some sheep is out of the question?

I live in a rental apartment in Silicon Valley. Having a yard is out of the question.

Our bordie collie seemed fine but he had a 6 year old and soon after another son so there was an active household. We included our border collie in any outing that we could. Living in the Vancouver British Columbia for 8 years helped a lot since we had mild weather most of the year with parks in walking distance that we could let him off the leash. Later we moved to the Boston area and 8 years there he seemed to like that area too as we had forest at the back of the property and hiking paths in the area.

Having children in the family means a lot of attention from many family members.

I've read your posts about this and if possible set up a spot for him/her near your work spaces. Our border collie showed the usual pack and social tendencies so having him near seemed to help a lot when the weather and time didn't let us go out for a walk or play.

All I can suggest is get up early and take it for a long walk, then do so again when you get home. I have been told by several breeders that you should not get certain breeds unless you have the time to keep them occupied. Working dogs (dogs bred to do specific tasks) need to apply their innate talents. If they don't have a productive outlet they will often find a destructive one. One of the worst for this is the Belgian malinois (a highly intelligent breed).

Currently I work from home on DaniWeb, so she's almost never left alone. However, that doesn't mean that I am able to occupy her every second of the day. There are no kids or other pets, and so most of the day it's just the two of us alone in the house.

She gets breakfast in the form of a puzzle toy that she needs to solve. She's on level three, which means that it's things like turn a lock before you can open the drawer to get to the food, so there's some intelligence required other than just brute forcing your way to food. It's a different puzzle most days, and they all require some level of logical thinking.

After food, I take a bath and eat breakfast, and it's hard to keep her mentally stimulated even for the hour or so I'm getting ready. She has tons of toys, but aside from a small orange ball that she'll occassionally put in her mouth and then drop and watch bounce, she doesn't play with any of them herself. She loves playing tug, fetch, and, her favorite, chase, and all three require a partner.

We then go for about a 30-60 minute walk to the park. When we come back, I open the door to our small patio so she can freely go inside/outside as she pleases to get some fresh air if she wants, sit down at the computer to start my work day, and within 10 minutes, she starts demanding my attention. She'll continuously bring toys to my feet for me to play tug or fetch with her, which is really difficult when I just need a solid block of time to focus on coding. Within 20 minutes of me starting the work day, she begins to exhibit negative behavior such as barking or chewing the carpet out of frustration. She simply doesn't know what to do with herself!!

Up until very recently, as a young pup, she got three meals a day. That meant that by mid-afternoon we could do a second puzzle toy to keep her occupied for a midday learning lesson. However, she's now 6 and a half months old, which means that she now only gets two meals a day and no afternoon puzzle. Instead, I try to take a work break and do a little sit/stay/down/come/etc training with her and give her a treat in a kong or a rawhide chew. Chewies only keep her attention for 5 or 10 minutes though!

She also has impromptu playdates with other puppies who live in the apartment complex and happen to be walking by. Today, she played chase around our living room with a goldendoodle named Theo for about a half hour. Yesterday was a chihuahua/dauschund mix.

Also today, I froze some treats in water in one of her puzzle toys so she had to unlock the drawers to access blocks of ice with freeze dried turkey and whitefish inside. ANYTHING to keep her occupied so that I can get a little bit of work in. But they took 10 minutes to prepare, had to freeze for 2 hours, and then only kept her occupied for 20 minutes before they started melting and she was able to crack the ice to get to all the goodies.

Then, an afternoon nap for about two hours, which is pretty much the only block of time she's been giving me to work lately, which just isn't enough. Then my boyfriend comes home, and it's time for another puzzle for dinner. We play fetch and tug with her for a half hour or so. We try to get her to burn off some energy, but she seems to always have more than enough to spare!

Then we attempt family wind down time watching TV before bed. 50% of the time she's not on board with family wind down time and continues her trend of being vocal and naughty and screaming for attention while we're trying to watch TV.

On weekends, we do activities with her the entire day, in addition to a puppy play group either Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, or sometimes both. On weekends, my boyfriend and I take her together on long walks (1.5+ hrs), accompanies us to outdoor eateries, and now that she's a bit older, we're going to start taking her on hiking trails as soon as we're sure her spay incision is completely healed up, depending on when the vet says it is okay to do so for her growing joints.

My boyfriend and I are hoping to get married next year and then buy a house together with a yard, but she'll be an adult by the time that happens. In the meantime, we're in a rental apartment with a gated patio that, if I had to guess, is probably about 100 sq ft.

Any ideas of what I can do to keep her occupied when I'm trying to work given the space constraints and the fact that it's just the two of us home together all day?

It sounds like you are already doing everything you can.

If it's any consolation, the puppy stage doesn't last forever.

I'm thinkiing....

  1. Dog walker services.
  2. Doggy daycare.

I've used a kennel too when we went on work travel and he could come along. I think it helped in his socialization with other dogs.

I've read your posts about this and if possible set up a spot for him/her near your work spaces. Our border collie showed the usual pack and social tendencies so having him near seemed to help a lot when the weather and time didn't let us go out for a walk or play.

I never crate trained her, so she has free rein of the floor I'm currently on. During the day, when I'm working, she has freedom throughout the downstairs and outside patio, which includes where my computer desk is. At night, or when I'm cleaning or doing laundry upstairs, she has freedom throughout the bedroom and master bath. She still does get locked away in the master bath at night because, when left to her own devices, she chews carpet and rugs until their bald.

Having children in the family means a lot of attention from many family members.

Unfortunately, it was my plan to get a puppy before kids so that I would have the time to properly train her and manage the puppy stage without being spread too thin. That means a primarily empty household, however.

I have been told by several breeders that you should not get certain breeds unless you have the time to keep them occupied. Working dogs (dogs bred to do specific tasks) need to apply their innate talents. If they don't have a productive outlet they will often find a destructive one.

I grew up with a Yorkie and a Maltese, two little toy lap dogs who got all their energy needs met by running around the house and playing together. They peed indoors on pee pads, and being let outside to roam around the patio was a special treat reserved for a handful of warm New York summer days. They came with us on vacations where they were toted around in wearable sling carriers, and only very occassionally went for walks on a leash.

The reason I wanted a Sheltie was for its looks, intelligence, easy trainability, and ability to join in on long walks and outdoor activities now that I'm living in California and have more of an outdoor lifestyle than I did when in NY. My boyfriend wanted a dog bigger than a lap dog, and a 20 lb dog seemed like a good fit.

Sadie, despite being a medium sized dog, is, however, trained to go indoors on pee pads. After the experience I had growing up, I really liked the flexibility of not requiring her to "hold it" and having to schedule my life around my dog's bladder. I wanted the flexibility of being able to go out for dinner and not have to think about how I have to immediately run home to walk the dog. She pees inside on pee pads in the bathroom whenever she has to go, and she goes outside daily for exercise, fresh air, and stimulation.

As of now, Sadie has never been left home alone more than four hours per week. We got her during the summer, and she has accompanied us to all outdoor activities we've done throughout the summer and meals at outdoor eateries. Now that the weather is going to start getting chillier, we're going to begin leaving her bedhind more as we eat indoors at restaurants and start doing more indoor activities when the weather isn't ideal.

We also plan on taking her on all vacations we go on. She has already flown with us to Cape Cod and then gone on a road trip from Cape Cod to Long Island to meet the family. Next month we'll be taking her with us to Miami.

Unfortunately, it's going to be a tough next few days because the air quality here in California is not suitable for outdoor walks due to the forest fires. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with her. As you can see, my biggest issue is that she is completely and utterly unable to amuse herself even for short periods of time, despite me being in the same room but occupied and unable to focus on her.

VERY unfortunately, she does not really enjoy cuddling. She loves to play fetch, tug, and chase. If I try to sit with her on the couch and cuddle, within 2 minutes she'll begin to express signs of boredom and want to jump down. She'll also start grinding her teeth out of anxiety if she's feeling restrained. Unlike my childhood Yorkie, she is not a TV watcher either. She basically has two modes: run and sleep.

I'm thinkiing.... Dog walker services. Doggy daycare.

So something that I've also tried is using the Wag app, which is on-demand dog walking and dog check-in services. The way it worked was, during one particularly stressful day last week dealing with Sadie, I ended up paying $25 to a college kid to play fetch and chase with her around our patio for an hour while I cleaned the apartment and got some much-needed work done. She was running in circles for pretty much the entire hour. $25 later (cost of living in the Bay Area), the apartment was clean but she wasn't even the slightest bit tuckered out.

Also, as mentioned, we go to puppy social events once or twice a week, and she has individual playdates throughout the week. There's a doggy daycare attached to my apartment complex, but I'm not very impressed with it. (I'm a very overprotective dog mom). Additionally, it doesn't really make sense to get a dog as a companion and exercise partner while I work from home, and then outsource to doggy daycare and dog walking services while I'm home.

I never crate trained her

Crate training is a good idea for every dog. The dog learns that the crate is their safe space. It should not be a place where you put your dog as punishment. If you ever need to travel and you are able to take the crate along (our crate is collapsible), the dog will still have a familiar place to sleep.

she chews carpet and rugs until their [sic] bald

This is not unusual puppy behaviour. We have a newel post that has teeth marks. One of our setters liked to slowly pull the fuzz off tennis balls. He would also hold my father-in-law's foot down and, one-by-one, yank out the hairs.

commented: "No one expected the Spanish Setter Dog inquisition." +0

Crate training is a good idea for every dog. The dog learns that the crate is their safe space. It should not be a place where you put your dog as punishment. If you ever need to travel and you are able to take the crate along (our crate is collapsible), the dog will still have a familiar place to sleep.

We can agree to disagree on this one, or we can have a whole conversation just like the religious uniforms debate. I'm of the minority opinion (minority in America, at least) that crate training is not humane. Crate training is actually illegal and felony dog abuse in more "enlightened" socities such as Sweeden. Crate training began as an American phenomenon to make it easier on the humans who want to leave their dog unattended for prolonged periods of time without the dog endangering themselves or destroying their home. However, it's beneficial to the humans, but not to the dogs. I'm of the opinion that it's the easy way out. People justify it by saying that dogs love cozy, confined cave-like spaces and it makes them feel safe, but some animal behaviorists say it's nothing more than Stockholm syndrome -- conditioning your dog to love its prison. I have yet to find a study that says that confining your dog to a crate for hours at a time is actually beneficial to their psyche.

I'm of the belief that it's great to give your dog comfy, cave-like spaces. For example, we have a super fluffy walled bed buried underneath the coffee table. When she's there, that's her safe space, and I try not to bother her. I also think it's important that, for safety reasons, she should be securely restrained when traveling in the car, etc. She gets buckled into her car seat, and she tolerates a portable carrier just fine when traveling, etc.

When we traveled with her, we brought her primary nighttime bed along, along with a handful of toys, and a very large pop-up fabric playpen that we used when potty training her, so she was familiar with it. However, we ended up not needing to use the playpen as we didn't leave her in the hotel room at all and took her on all our activities.

Chewing the area rug in the living room is really her only vice. That, and chewing a hole in the occassional sock that's sneakily taken out of the laundry bin (she knows she shouldn't be doing that!). Unfortunately, I was hoping that the rug destruction would stop when she stopped teething, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

their [sic] bald

Oops! Sorry!!

We found the crate necessary when traveling to and from camp. It is a 7-8 hour drive and having a dog wandering around the van is a safety issue. One setter in particular constantly wanted in the front seat. For a while we had two dogs (shepherd/husky and Irish Setter) and because we only had one crate I had to build a wire screen to wall off the back behind the front seats. We have a spot about half way where we would stop and exercise the dogs. Our current dog is more laid back and can be left loose in the van. The cat, however, must be crated. We are concerned, again, about safety, and we are afraid she might get out at the rest stop.

We didn't crate the dogs unnecessarily. For example, our second dog (Irish pup) slept in the crate at night. Once the dogs were in a routine we no longer used the crate. They were allowed the run of the house at night.

Our current dog is an (almost) nine year old golden retriever who in the last week came down with colitis. Unfortunately, our crate is at camp and we have to lock him in the bathroom with his doggie bed at night. The alternative is to spend the morning wiping up masses of diarrhea. Fortunately there have been only two bad nights The meds are finally kicking in. We still have to clean up but it is limited to one room.

We found the crate necessary when traveling to and from camp. It is a 7-8 hour drive and having a dog wandering around the van is a safety issue.

Yes!! It's very important that the dog be restrained in a car. Sadie sits in her booster seat so she can see out the window, and is additionally seatbelted in via one of those seatbelt accessories for dogs that connects from her harness directly into the car's seatbelt latch. It's also very important that dogs sit in the backseat, because otherwise they can be thrown against the windshield in the case of a collission.

Our current dog is more laid back and can be left loose in the van.

Please, please, please don't do this. Your toddler might be well behaved as well, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be seatbelted in. A perfectly content laying dog is not protected in case of an accident. At the very least, please use a seatbelt tether like Sadie has which connects from her harness directly into the car's seatbelt latch. It will prevent your dog from being thrown up against any glass windows in case of an accident. (Sadie uses one of those, in addition to a booster seat so she has a designated place and can see out the window).

We didn't crate the dogs unnecessarily. For example, our second dog (Irish pup) slept in the crate at night. Once the dogs were in a routine we no longer used the crate. They were allowed the run of the house at night.

Mostly what I am against are people who walk their dogs in the morning, then crate them for 8+ hours a day while they're at work (minus sometimes the odd lunch break walk), then walk them when they get home from work, then crate them when they're home but can't give them attention, and then additionally crate them all night long. Or any combination thereof.

When Sadie was a very young and untrained puppy, she slept in the bathtub! Her bed took up 50% of the tub and her pee pad took up the other 50%. Once she understood how the pee pad worked, she would use it when it was in the same room as she was in, but out of sight, out of mind. Especially when she was playing, she'd forget she needed to go into the bathroom until it was too late. She then slept in the small downstairs bathroom in which the pee pad took up about 20%, and the rest was her bed, water bowl, and a small play area. Now, she is completely potty trained, but we can't trust her alone at night because of the carpet chewing. We are in a rental apartment, and so destroying the apartment's carpet isn't really an option. She now sleeps in the large master bathroom which has a separate toilet room where her pee pad is. The rest of the bathroom is large enough for her bed, water bowl, and a pretty large play area with some toys to occupy her until we wake up. The benefit of being locked in the bathroom at night is that we sleep in around here, and so natural sunlight doesn't wake her up until we're ready to let her out and begin the day.

I hope your golden feels better soon.

Cooper seems back to normal now although we are keeping him on the meds for two weeks as per Dr.'s orders. He's back out of the bathroom and sleeping on his bed in the bedroom again. The fire situation in CA is looking pretty grim from what we can see on the news up here in the GWN. Looks like nothing in your immediate area but I'm sure the air quality is terrible. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all of you down there.

Yeah, the air quality hasn’t been the best. It makes it really difficult to keep Sadie’s physical and mental exercise needs met when we can’t really go outside.

We have a Dyson air purifier that has been going non-stop. The problem is I was born with no sense of smell or taste, so I have no idea if the room still smells like fire or not.

Last year, after over a week of the wildfires going, the smoke just penetrated everything to the point of there was no escaping it either inside or outside.