During the work week, my two year-old littermates are crated. I come home at lunch to let them out when the boyfriend has to go to work early (2 days per week), but they are crated plenty long in spite of all this, in my opinion, four days per week.
Anyway, due to all of that, when I come home at 5PM, the last thing I want to do is crate either of them to take the *other* dog on an outing. I'm not brave enough yet to take them both on an outing. Bailey isn't a problem, but Tucker has never been tested for recall outside of my home. I'm almost ready to try this, but the only place I really have to try it is a HUGE soccer field. (almost too darned big) (I'd likely put him on an insanely long line just to see. I do believe he'd stick right with Bailey, though.)
We have a routine -- mom gets home and all dogs go outside for a good hour. I throw Bailey's frisbee, and Tucker's Jolly Ball. I toss each one, they bring them back, repeat. My oldest dog just likes to lounge in the sun. My middle dog likes to run around and chase the boys as they chase their preferred toys.
Inside we go.. calm down for a time. Dinner. Quiet time. This is when we work on some basic obedience stuff. I "use" Tucker as Bailey's distraction for his stays. We probably spend 15 to 20 minutes doing different things. Just calm, mellow stuff, since they just ate. This is when I jump on the computer and let them just hang out.
Back outside for another play session. This time I walk around the yard. I might toss the frisbee and ball a bit, but like to spend this time, as it is becoming dark, to just walk around the yard and randomly call them to me. I do wierd stuff, like stand behind a bush and shake it.. and see who comes to investigate. (I'm strange, I know!) This is when I let them play with each other a lot. Chase each other around. Run out the zoomies.
I feel like I need to change up the routine, but I don't know. They know the routine. When we go outside at 5PM, Bailey runs for his frisbee... they know what we are going to do. They seem happy and content with it, so why aren't I? I want them to have more than this every night.
I was thinking I could hire a walker to come take one of the dogs, while I gave the other dog some good one on one with the flirt pole or a nice outing.
Bailey's socialization has definitely suffered since Tucker came into the picture in mid-February because I don't want to crate Tucker up to go out in the evenings. Some nights I feel like I am hand-cuffed to my house.
I am sorry this was so long, but please do pick it apart and do please suggest alternatives. This method has worked fine as Tucker has become a household member, but I feel something is just missing. In all honesty, I am not particularly looking forward to signing him up for beginning obedience,
, because it is almost a sure thing that *I* will be "the one" in class that everyone raises their eyebroughs at and says under their breath, "Wow I'm glad it isn't my dog acting that way."
I fully expect he will have a fit when he is brought into an environment of so many dogs. Oh yes, I can see it now - chaotic.
He has never had that level of exposure. My dogs have been the only dogs he's ever known.