As a dog owner, you may feel guilty leaving your furry friend alone at home while you go to work. Dogs are social creatures and need to be mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog busy while you’re away. Here are some tips:
1. Provide Interactive Toys
Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Puzzle toys, such as those that require your dog to figure out how to get treats out, can keep your dog entertained for hours. You can also try toys that make noise or have different textures to keep your dog interested. Make sure to rotate the toys to prevent boredom.
Some great options for interactive toys include:
- Kong Classic Dog Toy
- Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel Puzzle Toy
- Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Puzzle Toy
2. Provide a Safe Space
It’s important to provide your dog with a safe space where they can relax and feel secure while you’re away. This could be a crate or a designated area of the house. Make sure the space is comfortable and has familiar items, such as a bed or blanket, to make your dog feel at home.
If you’re unsure about leaving your dog alone in a crate, try leaving them in the space for short periods of time while you’re home to get them used to it. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends in the space until they’re comfortable being in it for longer periods of time.
3. Hire a Dog Walker
If your dog gets anxious or bored being alone for long periods of time, consider hiring a dog walker to come and take them for a walk during the day. This can break up the day for your dog and provide them with some much-needed exercise and socialization.
Make sure to do your research and find a reputable dog walker who will take good care of your dog.
4. Use Treat-Dispensing Toys
Treat-dispensing toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied while you’re away. These toys dispense treats as your dog plays with them, providing them with a tasty reward for their efforts.
Some great options for treat-dispensing toys include:
- Busy Buddy Twist ‘n Treat
- PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Feeder
- KONG Wobbler
5. Provide a View
Some dogs enjoy looking out the window and watching the world go by. If possible, provide your dog with a view of the outside world. This could be as simple as moving a piece of furniture so your dog can see out the window.
Just make sure to keep blinds or curtains closed if your dog gets overly excited or anxious looking out the window.
6. Enroll Your Dog in Daycare
If you work long hours or your dog doesn’t do well being home alone, consider enrolling them in daycare. Dog daycare provides your dog with a safe, supervised environment where they can play and socialize with other dogs.
Make sure to do your research and find a reputable daycare that provides your dog with plenty of exercise and attention.
7. Train Your Dog
Training your dog is a great way to keep their mind active and engaged. Teach your dog new commands or tricks that they can practice while you’re away.
You can also try using obedience training tools, such as a clicker or treat pouch, to keep your dog focused and motivated.
8. Play Music or TV
Some dogs enjoy listening to music or watching TV while their owners are away. This can provide them with some background noise and make them feel less alone.
Try leaving a radio or TV on low volume while you’re away to see if your dog responds positively.
9. Provide Chews and Bones
Chews and bones are a great way to keep your dog occupied and satisfy their natural urge to chew. Make sure to provide your dog with appropriate chews and bones, such as rawhide or bully sticks, to prevent choking hazards.
Never leave your dog unsupervised with a chew or bone, as they may try to swallow large pieces.
10. Hire a Pet Sitter
If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, consider hiring a pet sitter to come and check on your dog. A pet sitter can provide your dog with some company and make sure they have everything they need while you’re away.
Make sure to find a reputable pet sitter who has experience with dogs and can provide references.
11. Play Games
Playing games with your dog is a great way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Try playing fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek with your dog before you leave for work.
Make sure to choose games that are appropriate for your dog’s size and energy level.
12. Use a Treat Dispensing Camera
A treat dispensing camera allows you to interact with your dog while you’re away. These cameras dispense treats and allow you to speak to your dog through a microphone, providing them with some much-needed company and attention.
Some great options for treat dispensing cameras include:
- Petcube Bites 2
- Furbo Dog Camera
- Pawbo Life Pet Camera
13. Provide a Scent
Some dogs find comfort in familiar scents. Try leaving an item of clothing, such as a t-shirt, with your scent on it for your dog to snuggle up to while you’re away.
You can also try using a calming scent, such as lavender or chamomile, to help relax your dog while you’re away.
14. Consider Adopting a Second Dog
If you have the time, space, and resources, consider adopting a second dog to keep your current dog company while you’re away. Dogs are social creatures and often enjoy having a companion to play with.
Make sure to choose a dog that gets along well with your current dog and has a similar energy level.
15. Provide Plenty of Exercise
Finally, make sure to provide your dog with plenty of exercise before you leave for work. A tired dog is more likely to sleep and relax while you’re away.
Take your dog for a long walk or run, play fetch in the backyard, or take them to the dog park before you leave for work.
Leaving your dog alone while you’re at work can be tough, but there are plenty of ways to keep them busy and entertained. Provide your dog with interactive toys, a safe space, and plenty of exercise. Consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter if needed, and try using treat-dispensing toys or a treat dispensing camera to provide your dog with some company and attention. With the right tools and strategies, you can ensure that your dog is happy and content while you’re away.