Leaving your pooch alone is inevitable, but doesn’t have to be boring!
So, how can you keep your dog entertained while at work? Follow these steps to keep your pooch entertained:
Let’s see how to to put these in practice.
Before diving into the fun stuff your dog can do while you are at work, there are a few considerations regarding your dog’s acclimatisation and safety:
Don’t make a big deal out of it!
It might be difficult at first, but keep goodbyes low key.
Fussing over your dog before leaving is counterproductive since it can lead your pooch to develop anxiety and stress. So, exit quietly after leaving your dog content with a toy in his safe zone.
And now… it’s time to dive into dog entertainment!
Keeping your dog entertained, i.e. physically and mentally stimulated, prevents many behavioural problems and health issues such as:
So, whilst you get your pooch used to staying alone gradually, there are a few actions that you can take to keep your dog entertained and also minimize your dog’s time alone.
Interactive toys are the most obvious solution, but also the most effective when you want your pooch to be mentally challenged in your absence.
They have many benefits:
Insider Tip: If your dog has never played with interactive toys before, he’s going to need you to show him how they work. Show your pooch what to do to get the treats out, and get him excited about it!
Encourage your pup to play with them when you are at home, if he needs to learn and practise. Once he knows what to do, only take the toys out prior to leaving him alone or when you want him to be entertained by himself. This way, you prevent him from getting bored of the toy.
There are many options, which makes it easier to find a toy suitable for your dog’s personality:
*Note: the links above will take you to Amazon.
Start off with something simple and let your dog master that toy before increasing the challenge. Otherwise, your dog will get frustrated and lose interest! You can also alternate toys to avoid boredom.
P.S. If you are wondering what to stuff these toys with, our high-value dog treats blog post will give you ideas you can start with.
Your dog is likely to sleep when alone. On average, adult dogs sleep between 14-16 hours a day (including at night) and puppies can sleep up to 18 hours.
Apart from his bed and cosy blanket…
Why not leave a plush toy, which is known to provide emotional comfort?
Puppies are used to sleeping on top of their sisters and brothers when they are born. So having a fluffy toy as a companion is of great comfort to them.
However, it’s not only great for pups. Adult dogs are also fond of plush toys, even personalized ones too (i.e., cloned versions of themselves). You can see what I’m referring to in my favourite dog gifts 😉
Yep, you heard that right!
I am talking about chew toys and treats, not your shoes!
Dog chew toys are not only great to keep your dog busy, but also help promote healthy teeth and gums. Also, if your pup is teething, they provide pain relief.
There are tons of indestructible chew toys out there, made with tough but safe rubber that will keep your dog away from chewing anything else!
Apart from flavoured chew toys (like Nylabone Flavored Bone – Amazon link), there are chew treats shaped like a bone that can also keep your dog entertained.
I’d go for a single ingredient and dehydrated option, which are healthier and free of fillers.
Baxter, the first dog I fostered, enjoyed chewing his chicken twist long after the meat was gone!
If your dog lives in a busy household, total silence might be uncomfortable for your pooch. He might be used to the calm of the night, but he also knows that you are at home at that time.
So, before leaving, you could:
It is not only cats that love looking out the window. Dogs too love keeping an eye on what’s going on outside!
Unless your dog is reactive and barks excessively, you can let your pooch have a pic into the neighbourhood or your backyard.
This is a variation of Hide-and-Seek.
You can organize a scent game for your dog to play in his safe zone, i.e., in this case, the area where your pooch is going to be when you are away.
It can be as simple as hiding some treats (small amounts of non-perishable food) and even toys around his area. Your pooch can use his senses to find these rewards.
Insider Tip: Try to rotate this game so it doesn’t become a routine. Otherwise, your pup will spend his day sniffing out for tasty rewards!
If you work close to home and you have lunch breaks, you can go back home and take your furry friend for a midday walk or potty break.
Alternatively, ask someone you trust and is available, to spend some time with your dog. Your pooch will appreciate the company and the potty break. Also, this visit could become a dog playdate if he/she’s also a dog owner. 😉
Is your company pet-friendly by any chance?
Then consider bringing your pooch along with you to work!
Obviously, not everyone is in a position to do this. Also, you can consider the possibility of working from home occasionally.
If nobody can spend some time with your pooch, then it’s worth considering daycare, a dog sitter or a dog walker
But, if you are thinking:
Who is this person and how can I trust them to take care of my pooch?
In my favourite dog care post, I share what I think fits the bill for this purpose. Head over there for more!
Finally, take the next step by heading over to The 5 pillars to a happy and healthy dog to further solidify and grow that special bond with your dog.
There are many activities that can stimulate your dog and challenge him mentally, like a training session, playing a scent game, learning a new trick, or food dispenser toy.
Dogs don’t need to be entertained at all times. However, they need mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis such as exercise, training and playtime. Depending on your dog’s breed, energy levels and age, your pooch will need between 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily stimulation.
Yes, dogs get bored; they need mental and physical stimulation daily. Plus, although some dogs can tolerate better being alone than others, it isn’t safe to leave your pooch alone at home all day.
Adult dogs can be left alone between 4 to 6 hours in a single stretch. One of the reasons is related to your dog’s basic need for elimination (every 6 hours). Puppies and senior dogs will need to eliminate more often. Find out more at our How Long Can I Leave My Dog Alone? blog post.