Whenever you consider buying a furry friend, one big thing to consider is how much you can be with them. Dogs are highly sociable and will no doubt love spending time with you. Many dog breeds are also highly intelligent and need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them happy.
This especially applies to puppies when just settling into a new home. You definitely don’t want them becoming distressed or bored and destructive if left alone for too long! You may then wonder what are the best ways to keep your dog entertained when you’re not home!
Make sure you speak to your vet about how long you can leave dogs alone at different ages. Never leave dogs alone for longer than your vet recommends. It’s important to look at all of these factors before investing in a new fluffy friend!
However, you may need to go out and leave your pup sometimes and worry about them getting bored. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to keep your dog entertained and stimulated when you’re not at home!
A Good Place to Snooze
As you’ve probably noticed, dogs spend the majority of their time asleep! Therefore, making sure they have a comfortable place to snooze is very important. Observe your pup’s favourite spots and allow them to stay in these areas while you’re out and about. Humans have their favourite places to nap and so do dogs. And it should be pretty obvious to you where they like to sleep most of the time!
Invest in a good bed. Like humans, dogs also have their favourite positions to sleep in. If your dog likes to stretch out and sprawl, make sure they have space or a bed which gives them plenty of room. If they like to rest their head on something cushiony, try a doughnut bed or bed with soft, comfy sides to it.
It can sometimes be trial and error with the type of dog bed yours prefers. But don’t worry, they will soon let you know their preferred type! Just watch them and see where they naturally like to go best.
Give Them a Window Seat
One thing that many dogs love is a good view! Your dog will love to watch the world go by. So watching other dogs and people come and go is a relaxing and engaging pastime for dogs. This is especially important when you’re not home! This can help them not to feel as alone while giving letting them be on lookout for house, another key instinct for many loyal dogs!
Keep a TV or Radio On
This is one tactic to avoid loneliness and works well for certain dogs. The voices and sounds may be comforting and remind them of you being home. This is a good way making them feel less lonely and distressed.
While this works well for keeping your dog entertained while you’re not home for some, others do simply end up barking or howling at the TV or radio. So make sure this is right for your dog, every dog is different!
Treat Dispensing Toys
Treat dispensing toys are a tried and tested way to keep your dog entertained while you’re not at home. Not only does it keep them going with a little snack, but it also takes them time to get the treats out, keeping them engaged for much longer than just a quick chew!
If your dog is food obsessed like many are, they will definitely stay amused with this kind of toy, mainly because they know there is a reward at the end if they keep going! In many toys, it’s also possible to adjust the difficulty of these games if your dog is finding them too easy!
Does your dog love to sniff out treats and scavenge for food? Or do you just want to engage your dog for a little longer than just leaving them with a treat or chew when you’re not home? If so, consider making your very own scavenger hunt!
Place strong smelling treats in hidden spots on the floor and your dog can enjoy using their hunting instincts to seek them out. They also get a much-deserved reward at the end of it which will definitely keep food driven dogs engaged! The treats don’t have to be large and the more spread out they are the better for dogs that are particularly good and sniffing them out!
Chew toys that aren’t easy to break
Chewing is a natural and fun activity for your dog, and for many chewers, toys don’t last long! If you don’t want your dog to start chewing on all your furniture and you don’t want to spend a fortune on new toys constantly, then consider investing on some seriously sturdy toys! There are plenty of these now on offer and so-called indestructible toys can keep your dogs chewing without destroying countless less tough ones.
Chewing is a popular pastime among dogs and tough toys will allow them to chew to their hearts content without their toys simply falling apart. Having a few different varieties of these as well as some other types of puzzle toy is a good option to keep you dog entertained while you’re not home. Look into the different types of tough toy and find out which is preferred by your dog!
Puzzle toys are becoming more and more popular among dog owners to keep their dog mentally entertained while you’re not home. While treat dispensing toys are a classic favourite, there are so many other types of puzzle games out there.
Some require even more brain power and are perfect for intelligent dog breeds like collies of German shepherds. These can include games with hidden treats which require your dog to push or pull levers to reveal them, or even mats which conceal treats meaning your dog must snuffle through them using their scavenging ability to find a tasty treat. This is a good alternative to the scavenger hunt if you want to keep your floor a little tidier or your dog makes particularly light work of this game!
Don’t want to give your pup too many treats? Not a problem! There are plenty of puzzle games which can keep your dog entertained while you’re not at home which don’t require treats, and are just as mentally stimulating!
Toys with other toys within them can be great fun for your dog and a little more engaging than regular toys. If you dog can spend time working out how to get the different parts of the toy out, it can keep them busy for a long time. And easy for you, all you need to do is put them all back in for next time!
Hire a Dog Walker or Take Turns with a Neighbour
Many energetic dogs love to let off some steam, especially if it involves some fresh air in the great outdoors. This is very important if you are having to leave your dog alone for reasonably long periods of time. This will also prevent them from being cooped up inside for too long.
Professional local dog walkers can be found very easily by asking around or online. They can be a great option if you have to leave your dog while you go to work. A professional dog walker will give also your dog some company as well as some much-needed exercise, especially if in a smaller home.
If you don’t want to pay for a regular dog walker or dog sitter, there are some other easy alternatives. Try asking a neighbour if you can share dog walking or dog sitting responsibilities. If your work schedules don’t clash too much, you can take it in turns walking both dogs. If the dogs get on well and you trust them both, you could also take turns to dog sit for each other. Try dropping your dog off at each others houses if they are home. This means that they can have loads of company if you have to go out! This can be a cheap alternative to keep your dog entertained while you’re not home, and it can work for both you and your neighbour!
Leaving your dog at home alone never feels good, and generally they don’t like it for long either! But there are ways to make this more amusing for them when you do have to leave the house. Puzzle games and toys which they can play with alone or coordinating with other dog owners in the same situation are all easy ways of keeping all of your furry friends happy and entertained when you’re not home!