Although dogs are social animals, it’s not always possible for them to spend time with their families. Dogs who are left home alone can become frustrated or bored without social interaction, which can lead to destructive behaviors, such as chewing. Making sure your dog stays busy while you away lower this risk and helps ensure that you have a happy pet to come home to. Here are a few ways that you can keep your dog occupied when you’re gone.
Toys that require your dog to figure something out provide mental stimulation that can keep them busy for a long time. Give your dog a puzzle toy to solve, or fill a hollow toy with treats or peanut butter. Your dog will spend hours playing with the puzzle toy or attempting to get all of the treats or peanut butter out of the hollow toy. This kind of activity can leave your dog feeling happy yet worn out, making them much more likely to sleep than cause trouble while you’re away.
Background noise from a TV or radio can help your dog feel at ease when no one else is around. Being able to hear other people’s voices or hear the sounds of animals on TV shows can keep your dog interested and provide a nondestructive form of entertainment for them.
If you’re usually gone for several hours a day for work, consider hiring someone to stop by once or twice to take your dog for a walk. Having a dog walker come by lowers the risk of your dog having accidents inside your home while you’re gone and gives them someone to spend time with during the day.
Leave the curtains open on a window facing your backyard, so your dog can look out. Being able to see what’s going on outside can keep your dog entertained while they’re home alone. Keep in mind that this might not be a good idea if your dog tends to bark at everything they see outside.
Keep your dog busy and catch their interest by giving them a brand new toy or treat before you leave. Getting a new toy or treat gives your dog something to explore while they’re alone. It also helps build a positive association between you leaving and your dog getting something enjoyable.