Guest post courtesy of Tammi Avallone. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily represent the views of Val Heart & Heart Communication Enterprises Inc.
Busy dogs are happy dogs, so how do you keep your dogs busy when you can’t be home?
Work and social commitments mean that many dog owners have to leave their furry friends home alone sometimes. So, how do you ensure that your dog doesn’t get frustrated and lonely when you’re not around?
Read this guide to discover our top 10 best tips, tricks, and toys to keep your dog busy when he’s alone.
1. Make Their Crate Comfortable
Your dog is much more likely to settle down and sleep if he has a comfortable, well-equipped crate to relax in.
It’s true that some dogs fret when confined inside a kennel, so they will need to be trained to accept their crate as a safe den, a sanctuary they can relax inside. How to do that is beyond the scope of this post however, so if your dog needs help feeling happy in their “den”, then please get them the help they need first.
For dogs that are okay in their crate, provide your pet with a comfy bed or mat, a few interactive toys, and a crate safe water bottle so that he doesn’t get thirsty or dehydrated while you’re not around.
2. Provide A Seat with A View
Your dog is much less likely to get bored if he has a seat with a good view of what’s going on around him.
If your dog stays in his crate while you’re out, try to put the crate in a spot where your pooch can see out of a window.
The backyard or street outside can provide your dog with all-day entertainment, simply watching the world go by.
3. Set Up a Scent Game
Did you know that your dog’s sense of smell is around 40 times more powerful than yours?
For that reason, scent games are great fun for most dogs!
So, if you can hide a few treats around your home or in your dog’s crate, he’ll be kept amused for hours hunting them down.
You can also buy puzzle games that the dog has to solve to get at the tasty rewards hidden inside the game.
4. Fill Ice Cubes with Treats
A fun, interactive game for dogs is to fill a bowl with water and dog treats and pop it in the freezer.
The next day, put the bowl in your dog’s crate or kennel. As the ice melts, the treats appear!
Your dog will also amuse himself by licking the ice to get at the treats, hydrating, and cooling himself at the same time.
That’s a simple yet highly effective, affordable solution that your dog will love!
5. Dog TV
Some dogs enjoy watching TV alongside their owners. If your pup falls into that category, you can use that to keep him amused while you’re not around.
Dog TV is an excellent way of keeping your pup entertained throughout the day while you’re out.
You can tune in to DOG TV on YouTube. Place your dog’s crate where he can see the television or computer screen and set up your furry friend’s favorite show to keep him entertained!
Many dogs love the sound and sight of other dogs playing on the TV. However, not all pups are interested in the telly, so bear that in mind if you decide to try TV as entertainment for your pup.
6. Interactive Puzzles Keep Your Dog Busy
There are lots of dog puzzle games to choose from, most of which allow your pup to amuse himself without your intervention.
Take a stroll down the toy aisle at your local pet store to check out the range of toys, and you’re sure to find something that will amuse your pup for hours.
7. Get Neighborly!
If you have friends and neighbors who have dogs, ask if they would be interested in taking turns in sharing playdates. That’s an excellent way to keep your pup entertained and socialized and enables everyone to help each other.
Everyone in your neighborhood can pitch in by looking after a few dogs each day, walking them, playing games, feeding and watering them if necessary, and generally interacting with the pups to prevent separation anxiety.
8. Hire A Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
If your neighbors are not an option, you could hire a pet sitter or dog walker.
A dog walker will take your pet out with other pups for a walk or a trip to the dog park, saving you the job when you get home from work and keeping your pooch happy and entertained, and exercised too.
9. Make an Outdoor Kennel and Run
If you have plenty of outside space, you might want to set up an outdoor kennel and run. That way, your dog can choose whether to spend his day dozing in his kennel or playing outside in his run.
Of course, your property must be secure so that your pet can’t escape, and you shouldn’t leave your pet outside all day if he’s a barker and you have near neighbors.
10. Provide Your Dog with Plenty of New Toys
Most dogs have a selection of favorite toys that they love to play with. That means those toys quickly succumb to wear and tear and need replacement from time to time.
Worn toys can become choking hazards pretty quickly as they begin to degrade. So, make sure your dog has plenty of new, safe toys to play with.
One More Tip on Keeping Your Dogs Busy and Happy
When you must go out and leave your dog home alone, using these tips and tricks to keep your dog busy can help prevent behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, from developing.
Finally, before you leave your pet alone, take him out for a walk or play games with him in your backyard to burn off excess energy. That way, your pup is more likely to settle down and sleep when you head out.
Bonus: Tell Your Dog Where You’re Going and When You’ll Be Back
Before you leave, talk to your dog and tell him where you’re going, why it’s important, and when you’ll be back.
It’s also helpful to give him a job to do! What do you want him to do while you’re gone?
Knowing how to communicate with your dog is important, so take the time to discover how to speak their language.
That way they can tell you what they are thinking, how they feel, and what they need to be happy.
When you can communicate, you can address their concerns, worries and fears. And you can solve problems before things get bad. Because if your dog isn’t happy, you won’t be either.
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