As a pet parent, you worry about your dog when you’re not home. Whether you’re spending long days at work or tending to your otherwise busy routine, your schedule can keep you apart from your pet more than either you or your dog would like. Dogs who spend a good deal of time at home alone can get bored easily, leading to behavioral problems such as destroying your things, relieving themselves in the house, or incessant barking and whining. Keeping your dog entertained while you’re away from home can be key to suppressing negative behaviors as well as keeping your dog happy.
Treat Dispensing Toys
The large majority of dogs are treat motivated, and what better way to entertain your dog while you’re away from home than a toy with treats inside? There are a wide variety of treat dispensing toys on the market with varying degrees of difficulty, allowing you to customize your dog’s entertainment! If you’ve got an exceptionally intelligent dog, a toy that takes some problem-solving and maneuvering can keep your dog entertained for hours on end.
Some of the most popular treat dispensing toys on the market are durable and affordable, costing under $30; a small investment in exchange for hours of entertainment! Some of the most popular dog treat dispensing toys include:
OurPet IQ Treat Ball – fill the ball up with treats and let your dog’s brain go to work! The IQ Treat Ball has an adjustable disc inside so you can increase the difficulty as your dog learns how to dispense the treats.
West Paw Zogoflex Tux – with a 100% dog-damage guarantee, the West Paw Zogoflex Tux is durable enough for even the strongest chewers! Just insert the treats and let your dog chew to his heart’s content.
Starmark Bob-a-Lot – with it’s large, weighted bottom the Starmark Bob-a-Lot encourages your dog to truly work to get the treats out of his toy! Coming in sizes suitable for small, medium, and large dogs, this treat dispensing toy is actually sized to hold entire meals!
Hire a Dog Walker
If you spend long hours at work, chances are that you harbor some amount of worry when it comes to leaving your dog at home by himself. Alleviate some of your worry as well as keep your dog entertained by hiring a dog walker or pet sitting service to come to your home! Hiring a dog walker can give your dog a ‘break’ from sitting at home waiting for you to return as well as give him a chance to stretch his legs and relieve himself in the middle of your workday. Additionally, hiring a dog walker to exercise your dog midday can remedy negative behaviors stemming from boredom.
Enroll in a Doggie Daycare
If midday walks aren’t enough to keep your dog entertained, consider enrolling your dog in a doggie daycare! All day play, new smells, new friends, and constant supervised interaction is sure to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated while tiring him out so that you aren’t bombarded with an overabundance of energy the moment you get home.
Brain Toys for Dogs
Dogs are naturally inquisitive creatures, meaning that they need near-constant sources of entertainment. A dog who hasn’t had an adequate amount of mental stimulation can exhibit a variety of behavioral issues from excess barking to destructiveness and aggressive behaviors. Keep your dog’s mind entertained with dog-specific brain toys, meant to stimulate his nose as well as his intelligence, like the PupPod or a puzzle toy.
PupPod – with a variety of different settings (and controlled by your smartphone!) your dog gets smarter as he learns to use the PupPod. Perfect for dogs who need extra stimulation and behavioral modification, the PupPod helps increase your dog’s confidence as he learns how to maneuver his treats from the toy.
Dog Food Mat – encouraging your dog to eat slowly while engaging his nose and brain, the Dog Food Mat is similar to a treat dispensing toy in that it contains hidden treats, but more difficult than your average treat dispenser.
Especially for a dog that has any level of separation anxiety, background noise can keep your dog from feeling too alone. Whether you put on Best in Show or just play the radio softly, a bit of background noise can keep your dog from feeling isolated and bored.
Install a Doggie Door
For dogs that enjoy being outside, a doggie door may be just the ticket to keeping your dog entertained while you’re not home. Installing a doggie door will allow your dog to relieve himself as needed, preventing accidents in the house, as well as give your dog a chance to go outside and sniff around your yard. Keeping those squirrels out of your yard all day is sure to keep him occupied! For even more entertainment, consider installing a peephole in your fence to allow your dog to watch what’s going on in the neighborhood.
Keeping your dog happy means keeping him entertained. Although your dog would always prefer to be with you, that can’t always be the case. Keeping your dog mentally and physically stimulated even when you’re not home can boredom-related behaviors as well as secure your peace of mind.