It used to be that man’s best friend spent most of their time outside helping their owners complete their daily chores, but times have changed and many dogs now are left home alone as their owners shuffle off to work each day. While you’re away, you may think about your dog at home alone and wonder: is he bored? What is he chewing on now? What mischief is he getting into?
There are several ways to make sure your dog doesn’t get bored. These toys and activities for dogs home alone are not too expensive and you can make some of them on your own. With these activities and toys, your dog will have fun, easily pass the day away, and refrain from chewing on the furniture or your shoes!
Burn Off Some Energy First
A good part of the reason why dogs are destructive when they’re home alone is that they have too much energy. So the best thing to do is get up early enough that you can take your pooch for a brisk walk or run before you leave for the day. How long? That depends on your dog’s fitness level, health, age and body type. Usually, a 20-40 minute walk will do, but talk to your vet if you’re not sure. The idea is to get your dog tired enough that he returns from the walk and plops down in his bed for a long nap.
Busy, Busy, Busy!
There are a bunch of toys you can purchase to engage your pup or you could create your own. These toys will enhance your hound’s problem-solving techniques and cognition. Here are a few good starters:
- Busy Buddy’s Tug-a-Jug – You might have to show your furry friend how to play with this toy a couple of times; but once your dog figures out that he must swing it or pull on the rope to release the little treats and kibble, he’ll be playing endlessly. The Premier Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Dog Toy is another good choice, but any of the Busy Buddy toys are terrific because they have your pup’s safety in mind.
- Kong – These rubber toys are long-lasting and a favorite among dogs and owners alike. Most Kong toys can be filled with dog treats and the toys roll and bounce in unpredictable patterns. To make it tougher for you dog to get the treats, fill the Kong with other tasty items like a combo of canned dog food and kibble or peanut butter. If your pooch is a hardcore chewer, try freezing a stuffed Kong overnight—he’ll be chewing on it for hours to get to those yummy treats!
- Orka Chew – It’s durable enough for a serious chewer and will keep any canine entertained. One of the many styles the Orka toys are available in is a jack-like shape that makes for plenty of bouncing possibilities whenever your pup drops it. This Orka toy also has “arms” for him to chew on and you can stuff it with treats.
- Busy Bucket – Your buddy will know he’s loved with this homemade toy! How do you make it? It’s simple. Grab an aluminum or heavy-duty plastic pail and place a few treats at the bottom. Next, toss your canine’s favorite toy on top of the treats and fill in the gaps with an old, but clean, hand towel. Continue tightly packing and layering treats, toys and old hand towels. As your pooch hunts through the bucket, he’ll be working on his problem-solving skills and having tons of fun—and enjoying treats—at the same time!
- Everlasting Fun Ball – Yet another treat-dispensing dog toy but the treats don’t just drop out of this toy—your pooch actually has to work to get them out. While this ball does have its own treats to fill it with, you can stuff it with almost anything you’d like. If you’re an apartment dweller, your neighbors will love this toy because it’s made with strong, soft rubber which means it’s quiet when rolling and bouncing across the floor. However, this ball isn’t recommended for intense chewers with powerful jaws as they could penetrate through the material.
- Doggie Popsicle – This is an excellent treat for your pup if he experiences separation anxiety; he’ll have a positive connection with you leaving for the day. To make this delicious treat, you’ll need a Tupperware container. Slowly pour some chicken broth in it. Add some things you know your furry friend likes such as dog treats, small lumps of peanut butter or maybe little slices of veggies like baby carrots. After you’ve made a goulash of doggie goodness, stick it in the freezer for the night. The next morning, give it to your hound before leaving for the day. If your dog spends his day outside, trickle some warm water over the Tupperware to pop the “popsicle” out. Your dog is sure to enjoy staying hydrated this way!
When your pup first uses these treats and toys, you need to keep an eye on him to make sure everything is safe. If you buy a Tug-a-Jug or Kong, be sure to get the right strength and size so your dog won’t have any other problems.
Dog Walker or Dog Daycare
If you have a hyperactive dog or just don’t like the idea of leaving him home alone five days a week, you could always employ a dog walker; they’ll come right to your home to take your dog for a walk during your absence. Or you could bring your pooch to a dog daycare for a day to mingle with other dogs. Both of the options provide physical exercise and mental stimulation for your dog, so you’ll return to a calm and happy pup!
Many people are worried when they leave their hound at home alone. Yet if you put forth a little effort and a lot of care and love, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your dog happy and amused during your hours at work.