For a Complete Guide to Leaving a Dog Home Alone see here
There are times when leaving a dog alone while at work is necessary. With our modern busy lives with work, family and other commitments this cannot be avoided.
A bored or lonely dog will find ways to keep themselves busy. Sometimes this can be in destructive or unwanted ways. This can include destructive behavior such as chewing or nuisance behavior such as barking all day.
The last thing you want after a hard day at work is to come home to a demolition site or unhappy neighbors.
So you need to find ways of how to keep a dog happy when home alone. Here are some ideas and tips to keep your dog entertained and busy when you are not there.
For many dogs being left alone is something that they simply accept. For other dogs who suffer from isolation stress, some separation conditioning may be necessary. This is best done when you first bring them into your home whether a puppy or adult dog. If this is not the case with your dog, they can still be conditioned to be home alone. However, it may take more time and require more effort and patience.
Separation conditioning is achieved by leaving your dog home alone starting with a short period of time and gradually increase the duration of your absence. Start with around twenty to thirty minutes. Follow the routine you would normally when going out. If you normally leave in your car, do the same. When you leave and return don’t make a big fuss of your dog. Come in and do what you would normally do such as making a coffee. Once your dog is calm and settled you can then acknowledge them.
If your dog does have anxiety I recommend using a calming vest. These calming vests work by wrapping around your dog’s torso giving constant gentle pressure. This has been proven to give a dog comfort and helps them to remain calm.
Things to do before leaving home
Give your dog some physical activity such as a quick walk or a game with their favorite toy. If you don’t have time for a walk at least give them the opportunity to go toilet. If they do tend to chew shoes or anything remove them from places they can go. You may wish to reduce the places in the house they can go by shutting doors or putting dog gates in place.
How to keep a dog happy when home alone
Here are some ideas of ways how to keep a dog happy when home alone
Provide ambient noise – Leave the television or radio on to provide background sound for your dog. Alternatively, you can get “Music for dogs” which is calming music, especially for pets.
Allow them a view – Open the curtains or blinds to a back window in your home so that your dog can see anything going on outside your back door. If you have a small dog you may need to place a chair or similar for them to be able to see.
Create a safe place – Provide your dog with somewhere that feels safe when you’re not at home. Set up a dog bed, crate or room so that they can feel more comfortable and relaxed while you are away
Recruit some help – have a friend or neighbor pop in to check how your dog is doing and perhaps spend some time with them. Alternatively, you can hire a pet sitter to visit who will check up on them and provide some play. You can even hire a dog walker to take them out for a walk either one on one or with a group of dogs.
To find a trusted pet sitter or dog walker I highly recommend Rover.
Rover.com is a free pet sitting website or app for iPhone or Android devices that makes it easy for you to find the perfect pet sitter or dog walker in your location. They provide reviews of the pet sitters and dog walkers and also their availability in addition to how many repeat clients. In addition, you have the peace of mind of being covered by the Rover Guarantee. To learn more about Rover.com see here.
Hide treats around the house – hide piles of their kibble or some treats hidden in places they would be likely to go for them to find. Obviously, if your dog is a shoe chewer, don’t hide them in shoes.
Treat dispensing dog camera
Use a pet monitor with automatic a treat dispenser. These are an amazing invention for the home alone dog. These enable you to see what your dog is doing with a wide-angle camera and take a photo if you wish. You can speak to your dog and even give them a treat with the built-in treat launcher. This is all done on your smartphone, tablet or computer. What will they think of next?
To learn more read “Treat Dispensing Dog Cameras”
Automatic Ball Launchers
Ball Launchers are a battery or power operated machine that shoots balls across the yard or the house (generally 10-30 feet) so that your dog can chase and fetch them. they can be used indoors or outside.
Your dog can be trained to return the balls to the funnel-shaped opening in the machine and enjoy hours of entertainment fetching balls without any involvement from you at all. Read “Automatic Ball Launchers for dogs” to learn more.
Dog toys that move on their own
An ideal way to stimulate and engage your dog is to use self-moving dog toys. This type of toy works with your dog’s natural prey drive and chase instinct. To learn move about these, check out “Dog toys that move on their own”
Toys to keep a dog busy while at work
Ensure your dog has plenty of toys to occupy themselves. You can place all their toys in a box or basket so they can rummage through and select their favorite. You could also hide some of their toys so they can seek them out.
There is also a good selection of self entertaining dog toys available. See “Self playing dog toys” for ideas.
Chew toys and chew treats are ideal. Firstly, they will discourage your dog from chewing what they are not supposed to. Secondly, dogs can hold a lot of stress in their jaw. Chewing is very therapeutic for dogs and makes them calm and relaxed. They also have the added bonus of being great for your dog’s dental health, especially dental chew toys. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys read “Best chew toys for dogs”
Puzzle and food stuffing toys.
Puzzle toys are great for challenging your dog’s brain. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise. With my little Yorkie, Asia, I have two Kongs that I stuff for her and two other puzzle toys. I hide these around the house so she can search for them. Once she locates them they keep her busy for a little while. The first time you do this show your dog where you are putting them until they get the idea of the game.
For more on this read “Top 7 dog puzzle toys” and “How to use a Kong for dogs”
Leaving a dog alone while you are at work doesn’t need to be stressful for you or your dog. Give them plenty to keep themselves busy such as toys, puzzles and a view out the back. Provide background noise by putting the television or radio on or even calming music. You can even arrange for visitors or a pet sitter to check up on them or treat dispensing dog camera to do it yourself from where ever you are.
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