When you’re stuck at work all day, you spend quite some time worrying about your dog. When dogs aren’t stimulated enough, they might get destructive and chew shoes or ruin the furniture. Even worse, they can injure themselves. To prevent this from happening, you need to keep your dog busy. We’ll try to help you learn how to keep your dog from being bored when home alone.
We know it’s not easy being a “pet parent”. Fast lifestyle and work obligations often separate us from our pets. We miss spending time with our dogs and they miss us. That leaves them restless and sometimes even anxious. Calm and happy pets need some form of minimal stimulation. Eight hours can’t be filled with just snoozing, right? We have a few ideas about keeping the dogs entertained when they are alone, so be sure to check them out.
Before we get further down the article, we’d like to mention a few things:
- Consider enrolling your dog in pet daycare. If your dog is highly socialized and likes to be around other pets, daycare would be a perfect solution for its entertainment while you’re at work. Most pet care facilities have trained professionals and animal lovers that will keep your dog safe and active.
- Daycare might be a bit pricey, so think about hiring a dog walker or a pet sitter instead. All your dog needs is two hours of quality exercise outside and it can happily snooze on the couch until you get home.
- If you’re really worried about what your dog is doing at home alone, get a doggy camera. It will allow you to frequently check your pet. There are also a lot of interactive cameras available that can even let you talk to your dog and toss treats remotely.
Why do dogs get bored?
Dogs are very intelligent animals and they require stimulation to fulfill their needs. Some breeds should be more active than others, but nevertheless, all dogs need some form of entertainment. They want to have a job and be active. In most cases, you will provide various backyard activities for dogs that will keep your pooch entertained. However, you can’t be around them all the time, so they need activities to entertain themselves.
Unlike cats, dogs are highly social creatures who need a lot of attention. If they don’t get enough mental and physical stimulation, they’ll get bored. Depending on the dog’s personality, boredom can lead to various behavioral issues like inappropriate chewing or excessive barking. Training alone can’t help with behavioral problems if dogs don’t get needed everyday stimulation.
Some of the most important stimulants for dogs are:
- Discovering interesting places
- Walking, running, and other forms of dog exercise.
- Interacting with people, animals, and objects
- Learning new things and solving problems
If you don’t provide these stimuli to the dogs and keep them sitting in the house all day, they will definitely get bored. Try having fun with your dog outside when you have the time and find alternative ways to entertain your dog when it’s left at home alone.
Place toys around the apartment
If you don’t know what to do with a bored dog, think about toys made for stimulation. Some toys might be more effective than the others but that entirely depends on what your dog likes. Finding the best toys for dogs to keep them busy is not easy. You’ll need to try out different toys until you find the perfect ones. From stuffed toys to chewing ones, doggy toys can improve cognition and problem-solving skills.
When you find your dog’s favorite toys, place them around the apartment. You can even hide some of them, so your dog can “investigate” and find them. Try doing this with treats too. Be sure no to put them in inaccessible places.
Keep things interesting with new toys
Giving your dog something interesting to play with will surely keep the boredom away. Most dog trainers recommend toys that are fun and at the same time provide mental challenges to your dog. Try surprising your dog with new toys now and then, so your pet doesn’t get tired of them.
If your dog likes to chew, doggy bones are perfect entertainment. However, you should be careful about the bones you choose. Some of them can cause health problems like tooth fractures or stomach irritation. Make sure to check with your veterinarian about the safest option for your pet.
Toys on rotation
As we said, new toys are the best for entertaining your dog. However, you can’t buy new toys every day. You need other ways to keep toys fun and engaging. For example, rotate the existing toys. Don’t use the same ones every day. Instead, put some of them away, so your dog can forget them. After some time bring them back and your dog will find them new and interesting!
Every dog has a favorite toy. If your pup plays with certain toys all the time, they might not last very long. On top of that, your dog will get tired of them. Rotation will keep things fresh! It will extend the life of the toys and keep your dog interested for longer. You can rotate the existing toys every day and buy new ones every couple of weeks.
Fill a hollow toy with treats
Stuff the toy with peanut butter, squashed bananas, or other treats your dog likes. The smell and taste will keep him drawn. It’s not an easy task to get the treats out of the toy. Hours will pass with your pet trying to get that last drop.
Toys such as Kongs or Buster Cubes are great for stuffing. Get the appropriate size for your dog and choose the filling carefully. For example, even though dogs love peanut butter, this might not be the best option. Peanut butter is not that nutritious, so you can’t use it every day. On top of this, it won’t last for that long.
Try to be a little creative. Why not try stuffing the Kong with canned dog food and freeze it? Take a look at this video to get some more ideas.
One more tip: avoid plastic toys. Your pet can break them and eat the pieces along with the food. You need to think about every possible scenario and try to prevent anything that might go wrong.
Give your dog icy toys
Freezing toys to entertain dogs work like a charm. You’ll be surprised how long can a block of ice occupy your dog! Place your dog’s treats in an ice container, fill it with water and freeze it. You can do this with chew toys or, as we already mentioned, with the Kong toy filled with food.
As the ice melts, it will slowly release the inside content. Your dog will try to uncover the treat by licking the ice. That will keep your pet safe from trouble and entertained for quite some time. This icy game is amazing for summer days. When it’s very hot outside try freezing an entire bowl of water, so your dog can be hydrated the entire day.
Leave the TV on
It might sound strange to you but the best entertainment for dogs home alone is watching television. Of course, dogs don’t like to “watch” regular movies. To keep your dog occupied choose something like Animal planet or Doggy TV. Youtube also has a lot of great videos made especially for dogs. Television helps dogs with separation anxiety because they can see and hear other animals.
Before you leave the house, turn on the TV and crank up the volume. Your dog won’t watch it the entire day. Instead, the program might catch your pet’s attention now and then. Keep in mind that not all dogs are interested in television, so don’t be surprised if your pet just ignores it.
Don’t turn on the TV every day though, because it will eventually become boring. Change the shows a bit, even switch between “regular TV” and animal shows. That way when something “good” comes on the program your dog will notice.
Dogs love the sound and sights of other animals but any pleasant sound is good for your dog. It’s a better stimulation than a quiet house. Some dogs really enjoy classical music. They find it calm and relaxing. There’s even special music created just for dogs’ relaxation. Try out playing this video to your dog and see how quickly your best friend becomes calmer.
Looking through a window
The same room every day gets pretty boring and dogs love exploring and looking around. Try to provide ways your dog can look through a window and observe the neighborhood. Opening the curtains and putting a cushion or a chair by the window is a great start. Your dog can easily check what’s going on in the neighborhood or just sit and relax while looking at the animals and objects outside.
Dogs love a good view. They also need to track changes around the house, so they can “protect” it better. Small dogs are especially curious to see what’s going on above them. If you have a small dog, make sure to put enough cushions on the chairs for that elevated view.
Put your dogs’ favorite toys and blankets by the window seat, so your pup can comfortably sit and see what’s outside. You’ll be surprised how long dogs can sit still and just watch the world go by.
Schedule a playdate
If you still don’t know how to keep your dog from being bored, try finding your doggy a playdate. Most of the time dogs get bored because they are lonely. Find a trusted neighbor or a family member who is also a pet parent. Get to know your dogs better and make sure both animals enjoy each other’s company. Have a few playdates together before you try leaving your dog alone with them.
Don’t set up random playdates. Your dog needs to be comfortable with the other dog and its owner. Otherwise, your dog might get stressed out and anxious.
This isn’t an everyday activity but it will be a great solution to relieve your pet loneliness from time to time. Socializing will keep your dog busy and active. Then, once a playdate is done, your pup will probably snooze the rest of the day. If you have a very busy week at work ahead of you, you should definitely consider asking a trusted pet parent to take your dog out a couple of times.
Playing with other dogs is definitely the best way to give your pup quality stimulation and exercise. Getting another pet is a valid option. It requires a lot of work in the beginning but a multi-dog household will provide enough socialization and stimulation for all pets.
Adopting another animal is not a light choice. You need to provide a safe environment and invest a lot of your time in training a new dog. On top of this, you need to make sure that your dogs get along. Some animal shelters allow you to foster first and adopt the dog after you’re sure both animals like each other.
We hope that now you have a clearer picture of how to keep your dog from being bored when home alone. These activities only work if your dog’s needs are met when you are home together. That means you walk your pup regularly and provide proper exercise. Your pet needs your love and care daily, so it won’t be anxious while you’re away. The destructive behavior can’t be prevented if your dog is not getting the usual amount of attention from you.
You know how much your dog loves you, right? If you ever wondered what gift would your dog pick for you, check out this article about gifts from a dog to the owner.
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