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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I’ve been out of a job for three months now, and it’s been very difficult. I’ve been able to provide for my dog, of course, just not to the extent that I would like. Any spare money goes towards her, but I would love to do more than just the bare minimum. It’s been very hard to find a job during this pandemic, and I was just wondering if anyone is going through the same thing as me? If so, how have you handled it? Has it been hard on you as well?

Buuut…some good news is that I have 4 job interviews lined up! I think I have a guaranteed position at one of them, but I’m really trying not to get my hopes up too high. However, if it does go well, my first order of business is to spoil the heck out of my baby. She’s getting an immediate vet visit (not that she’d consider that getting spoiled), a bunch of new toys, and a brand new collar, leash, and harness set. I’m really hoping it goes well, and if anyone else is going through the same thing, I wish you the best of luck!
 

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Congrats on the interviews!

I'm sorry you're going through this. When I had my first dog I had a couple months that were really rough (my wife had an unexpected layoff, and the two jobs I was working were not enough to support us where we were living). It was awful, and scary, and I just had my fingers crossed every day that we wouldn't have a problem with the car, or a medical/veterinary emergency. Like you I was keeping my head above water, but only barely, and the only reason Sam got anything 'extra' beyond food was because one of my jobs was at a pet store and I'd snag something at a really, really steep discount on a rare occasion.

But the worst part was I was barely home, and my wife had moved back to her home country to look for work there so she could move us over. That meant he got less attention, fewer walks, and even when I was home I was so exhausted I wasn't able to do much exciting with him. He didn't care that he didn't get special treats or cool toys, but he did want attention and activity that I couldn't give him. I think in your situation, I'd focus on what you CAN afford for her right now - lots of attention, playtime, training games, walks or other outdoor adventures. It's important to remember that dogs value us far more than they value their stuff, and they never hold it against us if we can't get them the best of the best for a while.

Wishing you lots of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I had my first dog I had a couple months that were really rough (my wife had an unexpected layoff, and the two jobs I was working were not enough to support us where we were living). It was awful, and scary, and I just had my fingers crossed every day that we wouldn't have a problem with the car, or a medical/veterinary emergency.
That sounds so difficult and terrible! I’m sorry you went through that, but it’s great that you’re (hopefully) doing a lot better now. Bet emergencies have been some of my biggest worries at the moment, and I’m so thankful that nothing has happened yet. I guess you could consider a not-even-mild flea infestation as an emergency, but that’s the first issue I’m addressing with both of my rabbits and my dog as soon as my first paycheck comes through. My rabbits also need to be spayed and neutered, but I wouldn’t consider that an emergency. As for my dog, she’s going to the vet ASAP so I can chip her (because I’m always worrying) and get her more flea prevention because that’s obviously worn off now haha.

It's important to remember that dogs value us far more than they value their stuff, and they never hold it against us if we can't get them the best of the best for a while.
Of course! You said it perfectly. Since I’m almost always home, my precious baby gets all of the attention in the world, even when she’s sleeping. I know she’s not holding anything against me, and she doesn’t even understand what’s going on (just that mommy’s home all day, which means cuddles all day), but I suppose it’s just my own guilt eating me up that I can’t get her everything I wanna get her. The same goes for my rabbits. My pets are my babies, and I wanna give them the world because it’s what they deserve (even when they’re all little monsters). It’s tough not being able to do that, especially when you have to prioritize paying for other things over your dog, when it used to be you could do those other things AND provide for your dog. I’ll cherish every moment with her just as I’m sure she’ll cherish every moment with me, but it’d be great to give her and my rabbits all the treats and toys they could imagine, as well as make sure they’re 100% healthy at the vet.
 

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Honestly? Adequate Feeding and an occasional raw meaty bone to keep her teeth sound along with spending time training and building her training and building the relationship through training will be the best gift you can give your dog EVER.

They don't need toys and collars and, well, a lot. They desire YOU and if you make training fun they think you are the source of all the games and fun on the planet.

I hope things look up very soon for you!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much! She does love herself a good meaty bone haha.

And thank you for the reassurance. I just worry that she’s bored with her current toys and could always use some new ones not only for her pleasure, but for her mental stimulation as well. As for the collar and leash, she’s too strong for the leash she has now, and the collar is so I can put her tag on it because I’m always worrying about…everything (Even though she’s a very VERY good dog. She jumps our gate, but she literally only escapes to run to the front porch, but that may not always be the case in the future.). Those are more for me than her because I know she doesn’t care what kind of collar she wears, but it’s always a plus when she looks darn adorable wearing it.
 

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You can train loose leash walking as long as you are delving into clicker training.

She does not need more toys. She needs training interaction with YOU. When she goes outside, go out with her and, after she has done her business, train a little. This will go way further than more toys.

Also, pick up all her toys. Only give her 2 to play with. Tomorrow, pick those up and give her two different toys. Rotating toys means she gets "new" toys every day. Saves you a LOT of money and keeps the dog interested.....

With all the training you are going to be doing the toys will be less important. My dogs have two toys. I don't rotate them at all actually.. but we do train quite a lot (tracking, obedience and so forth). I also take hikes in the woods with the dogs so toys they can have any time are largely secondary. My training toy is a ball on a rope (I have several) and the only time the dog gets to play with that is when the dog is engaged with me and training. That way that toy is "special" and my dog is really driven to get it as a reward in training. I bring out that toy and the dog goes a little crazy which is exactly what I want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can’t thank you enough for the advice. Honestly, I’ve never heard anyone say dogs don’t need a lot of toys. This is news to me, but the way you explain it makes perfect sense! All I’ve ever heard is “Dogs need toys so they don’t get bored! Lots of toys! Make sure there’s at least 5 in the crate!”. I think I got that last part when I was trying to learn how to crate train because I hadn’t done it with any of my previous dogs before haha. The other parts were from straight up training websites. And when you see a video of a dog that has torn up a bunch of stuff on social media, all the comments are “It’s because the dog is bored! Give the dog more toys so they’ll chew on that instead of [blank]!” So it was just drilled into my head that my baby needs a mountain of toys.
 

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No toys in the crate or kennel ever. It is dangerous.

I put NO toys in the crate with the dog other than (MAYBE) a Kong stuffed with Yogurt that I froze over night. Even that is just for a baby puppy. Toys can be destroyed by dogs and if they ingest the parts they can end up with bloat or a blockage which will kill them very quickly OR cost a HUGE surgical bill and the dog may still die.

The people recommending mountains of toys are probably selling toys OR they are not training their dogs (lazy factor.. it is easier to buy a toy than to train the dog).

Better for you BOTH to take a walk!!

Here is an article about training loose leash walking:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ve only ever put “chew-proof” (as chew-proof as they get) toys in the kennel because I am always terrified of everything, but I’ll make sure to take those out! She doesn’t rip stuffed toys to shreds, surprisingly, just rubber toys. And rubber toys are only given with supervision (she has thrown up pieces of a rubber bone before, but that’s the only thing she’s really ingested that made her sick). I sincerely appreciate your advice and am absolutely looking forward to loose-leash training her. She’s very good off-leash, but I only let her off-leash in my yard or in the field across the street from me. She’s okay with leashes, but hasn’t had a lot of training with them, and that’s entirely my fault. When she WAS small enough for her leash, we didn’t go out on many walks because I was ALWAYS working. And since she doesn’t have a good leash now, I can’t even go to the pet store with her. Hoping it’ll all change very soon, though!
 

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I agree with 3GSDs post that I 'liked', above. Although personally, the only toys that I ever allow my dogs to play with alone, without my interaction, is a Kong, a meaty bone, or perhaps an appropriate nylabone-type chew toy. All of these still require casual supervision and monitoring at all times. Be aware that hard-ish chew toys can potentially break teeth, so choose them wisely and moderate accordingly. The remainder of their toys are ALL interactive with me. They are ALWAYS picked up and put away unless I am involved (ie: retrieve, tug, etc). Using this approach motivates me to engage in play more frequently with my dogs, which is never a bad idea of course. My 'system' is just what works well for me, overall; other people's mileage may vary.

Here are some videos I quickly found on youtube for DIY toys. I truly understand what it's like to be down and out financially, so hopefully they will help you in that regard, and also provide your dog with inexpensive entertainment and stimulation. There are many more videos and ideas available if you do a more thorough search, I'm sure. You can probably even find vids on crafting your own homemade leashes and collars if you feel so inclined.


 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The t-shirt tug toy just brought up so many memories I forgot that I had, oh my gosh! We made a ton of those when I was in Girl Scouts to donate to a local shelter, and I think we even made DIY beds? I can’t remember that part. I don’t think my tug toys came out too great… 😅
 

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I am doing much better, thank you! I did have to move back in with my parents for a while until I could emigrate and be with my wife, and I feel very lucky I had that option because I don't know if I'd have made it through otherwise, but it was still a big blow to feeling like I could succeed independently as an adult. But things do often get better - I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

If you're on FaceBook, check out the group Canine Enrichment. While you'll see some commercial toys and puzzles, there's tons of budget-friendly ideas for adding a little extra fun to your dog's everyday life. Treats inside rolled-up towels, making a puzzle feeder out of a cardboard box and toilet paper rolls... you can get pretty creative with cheap or free stuff around the house!
 

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My dog frequently chooses a dumb stick over the toys I buy him, so no, dogs really don't need much in the way of "extras" besides their food!

As others have said, your dog likely doesn't give a flying fart that she isn't getting any new toys or fancy leashes and collars. They really don't care. She's probably enjoying the extra time with you. You can entertain her with a cardboard box (check out 100 things to do with a box) or teach her a fun new trick, and that will be the best thing in the world for her.

I also learned that my dog would accept kibble as higher value treats if I stuck a piece of deli meat in with the kibble in a little plastic bag and let it "marinate" for an hour or two (don't let it get mushy). I guess the smell of the deli meat made the kibble more valuable. Great trick if you can't afford treats at the moment or you're just out and can't get to the store for more! Perhaps a more discerning dog would figure out that it's his same old kibble....but mine never did, haha.
 
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