Expert advice from Baileys’ advisor on how to cope as a full time working dog owner

Q: I work from 9am until 1pm five days a week during which time my two dogs – an eight-year-old Labrador and an 18-month-old Springer Spaniel are left alone at home.

My older dog has never been a problem but I have had complaints from my neighbours about the younger dog howling while I am out. I walk the dogs both immediately before and after work, but as my partner and all my friends work full-time I don’t have anyone who can pop in to see the dogs while I am at work.

How can I help the younger dog cope with being in the house without me?

Liz Bulbrook replies : Fortunately for your dogs, you are not out of the house that long, many have to cope with much longer days so do not feel too guilty that no one can pop in, especially as you are walking them before and after work.

Ifyou have time, make the morning walk as active as possible so that the dogs are more inclined to want to sleep!

Do not make too much fuss of the dogs before you go out, making your leaving an issue only contributes to the dog’s stress about your absence.

Turn on a radio as background noise; the use of music along with the sound of voices may settle your dog.

Some are very sensitive to every noise they hear outside and either start barking, or howling if they think you may be returning home – music will dampen the effect of outside noise.

If you have rooms, perhaps at the back of the house, that you can restrict the dogs to, away from the area of the house that the neighbours are nearest may help.

If your spaniel howls because he is shut behind doors in an area when he is use to the run of the house, then consider child gates so that he can see but not roam and stand by windows looking out and howling for your return.

If you are on good terms with your neighbours, ask them after a period of time if your new regime is working, you’ll probably find out by how friendly they.