When Dogs Make You Late

Counting the ways dogs have made people late.
By Karen B. London PhD, July 2017
Sometimes Dogs Make You Late

Dogs add a lot to our lives, but they may take some of it back each morning when we are trying to get ready to go to work. Often, dogs make it even harder than it would otherwise be to get to work on time. There are oh-so-many ways that dogs regularly interfere with their guardian’s good intentions to be punctual. Do any of the following scenarios seem familiar to you?

He messed with your sleep by hogging the bed and the covers or by bumping into you as he was dreaming. You end up oversleeping.

You take him out for his walk and he just won’t poop, causing you to make the walk longer than your schedule can accommodate.

He won’t take his medication, and you absolutely have to get it in him before your leave.


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You have trouble getting your dog into the crate. The resistance means that this is more time consuming than you had figured it would be. (Corollary—the dog is hiding to avoid being put in the crate.)

Your walk with your dog was so enjoyable that you took too much extra time. You enjoyed the early morning peacefulness, but now you’re going to have to rush to stay on schedule.

Your dog is in the yard but instead of coming in when you call, he starts a not-so-fun game of catch-me-if-you-can. By the time he decided to come in, it’s too late for you to make it to work on time.

You had to clean up a huge mess that he made. The two most likely messes are a potty accident or the vestiges of a trash party. Few of us ever add in a safety factor to our morning routine to account for these kinds of events.

Your dog was on the receiving end of a skunk’s spraying, and in order to save your house, you have to clean him up before you can leave him there. (Also, he will likely be a lot happier when he has been de-skunked.)

Along the same lines, he found a way to collect every burr on the property in his fur, and you have to remove them before leaving the house for his comfort and safety as well as to prevent a huge mess in your house.

You just don’t want to leave him for the day, and who can blame you? You prolong the inevitable to spend a bit more time together, and then you end up being late for work.

No matter how much we love our dogs, it can be frustrating when they make it extra challenging to get to work on time. How has your dog made you late for work?


Photo by Eli Christman

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She has authored five books on canine training and behavior.