“I’m bored.” “When can I go outside to play?” “I’m tired of sleeping.” “I’ve gotta go potty!” “SOMEONE THROW MY TOY!” Sound familiar? It may not be what YOU say every day, but you can bet these thoughts go through your dog’s head all day every day while you are at work. Your day is filled with physical and mental stimulation. What does your dog get to do? Do you really think he wants to sleep all night and then all day when you’re away??
Let’s explore some ways that you can keep your dog active and entertained from 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday…and any other time you need to be away!
Tip #1: Favorite Toy/Treat Combo.
A dog’s favorite toy/treat combination is a Kong filled with something yummy! A Frozen Kong work wonders. Simply, blend up a mixture of apples, peanut butter, bananas and non-fat plain yogurt with a little water and freeze them in ice cube trays. Pop a few cubes into the Kong when you head out and that is a fun distraction. Just filling it with peanut butter will work well too.
Tip #2: Chew Toy.
Provide something for your dog to chew on that will take ages (well, maybe not that long) to finish. A pig’s ear is great, but if you don’t want it to be food, nylon bones flavored with chicken or beef are favorites.
Tip # 3: A Movie.
It may sound funny, but put a movie on for your dog. There are videos geared toward dogs that are alone in the house for an extended period of time. These videos replicate sights and sounds from the outdoor environment.
Tip # 4: Treat Dispensers.
Stimulate your dog’s brain while he is alone by buying an interactive toy. There are twister treat dispensers and puzzle feeders that take a lot of work to get a little treat. Large nylon bouncy balls are easy for the dog to chase, move, and bounce around the house. It is almost like they can play fetch with themselves. The Busy Budy Tug-a-Jug Treat Dispenser Toy is a great one!
Tip #5: Exercise.
Exercise your dog in the morning before you leave for work. A brisk run around the block or a quick game of catch will do wonders for him. When you leave, he won’t have as much pent up energy to burn off.
Tip #6: Hide toys and treats around the house.
As your dog is bored and searching for something to get into, he’ll be pleasantly surprised by a hidden toy or treat. It will provide mental stimulation and keep him on his toes looking for other surprises.
Tip #7: Feed your dog his biggest meal in the morning.
If he has a full tummy before you leave, he’ll be more eager to take a nap when you leave.
Tip #8: A full toy box.
Fill your dog’s toy box so he can help himself to his toys. Rotate his toys every few days so he doesn’t get bored. You can even spice it up and hide a treat or two in the bottom of his toy box. If his he has a lot of toys, it will take some time and energy to get to the treat at the bottom.
Tip # 9: Custom tailor your dog’s alone time around his favorite things and motivators.
You know your dog best. What does he love? So far, your dog can play a modified game of fetch, he has toys and treats to keep him entertained and active so he doesn’t get bored, the television can make him feel like he isn’t entirely alone and isn’t in dead silence all day, but your dog still deserves and needs MORE attention during those long hours that he’s left alone… SO –
Tip #10: Hire a Dog Walker / Pet Sitter.
The best tip anyone will give you for week day entertainment and care for your dog is to hire a pet sitter! Your dog will receive attention, and love from a real human. Hearing outdoor sounds doesn’t compare to going outside and experiencing their favorite sounds, smells, and sights. They can go potty! Enough said there. They also have the human interaction our dogs are wired to crave. Your dog is naturally wired to work, hunt, and problem solve! So what are you waiting for? Hire a pet sitter for your furry friend!