Dogs are social creatures who crave our companionship. They need interaction and stimulation on a daily basis. Even when dogs are well-adjusted, they still miss us when we're away. The good news is, you can help your dog beat their boredom while you're at work or making a trip to the store. With a little planning, you'll be able to keep your pup busy and mentally stimulated while you're away.
1. Try Interactive Toys
Interactive toys are a fantastic way to keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated while you're at work. These toys often involve puzzles that the dog must solve to get a reward, typically a treat or a squeaky sound. This not only gives your dog something fun to do, but it also engages their problem-solving skills. Chew toys, squeaky toys, and puzzle toys that dispense treats can occupy your dog for hours on end.
Change up your dog's interactive toys on a daily basis. Mix it up and give them something new to play with so they don't get too used to any particular item.
2. Give Them a Room With a View
Creating a space where your dog has a clear view of the outdoors can provide an excellent source of entertainment for them during your work hours. Dogs are naturally curious animals, and observing the world outside, whether it's people walking by, squirrels scurrying up trees, or birds fluttering about, can provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom.
By arranging a comfortable spot for your dog near a window, you give them a front-row seat to an ever-changing landscape of activity. This also caters to their instinctual need to watch over their territory. Just be sure that the window is secure, and the dog can't escape or hurt itself.
3. Rotate Their Regular Toys
Rotating your dog's toys is a simple but effective strategy to keep them engaged while you're at work. Dogs, like humans, can become bored with the same old toys day in and day out. By keeping some toys out of sight and bringing them out intermittently, you can maintain novelty and excitement.
Each time you introduce an "old" toy, your dog perceives it as something new and intriguing to explore. This approach not only stimulates your dog's mind, but it also helps their toys last longer. Rotating toys reinforces the idea that even in your absence, positive and exciting things can happen.
4. Try Interactive Pet Cameras
Interactive pet cameras have become an increasingly popular tool for pet owners to monitor their dogs and keep them entertained while away from home. These advanced devices often come equipped with two-way audio, allowing you to talk to your pet, providing them with a familiar voice and comforting interaction during your absence.
Additionally, some pet cameras feature treat dispensers or interactive games you can control from your smartphone. This allows you to reward your dog for good behavior or engage them in a stimulating activity from afar. Pet cameras offer you peace of mind to be able to check in on your furry friend throughout the day. It's a worthwhile investment that adds an interactive element to your dog's day.
5. Hire a Dog Walker
Hiring a dog walker can significantly enhance your dog's day while you're at work. A dog walker provides not just physical exercise, but also mental stimulation and companionship for your pet. The walks offer a change of scenery, a chance to sniff and explore, and an opportunity to burn off excess energy, which might otherwise be directed into destructive behaviors. Additionally, the visit breaks up the day, giving your dog something to look forward to. Interaction with a trusted human also eases feelings of loneliness or anxiety that your dog may experience in your absence.
Depending on your dog's social inclinations, a dog walker may also arrange playdates with other dogs, enhancing social skills and further tiring out your pup in a fun way. Thus, hiring a dog walker can be an excellent method of keeping your dog busy and content during your work hours.
6. Set Up a Play Date
You don't have to be the only one who sees your dog during the day. If you have a trusted friend or family member who doesn't mind popping by for a play session with your dog, it's win-win. If they're familiar with your dog, they might even be able to bring over their own pup for some canine fun.
This doesn't have to be all the time, either. If your friend can make it once a week, or every few weeks, it still helps break up your dog's routine. Maybe you can set up visits from a few people to keep your pooch entertained. Every little bit helps.
7. Hire a Pet Sitter
This option may seem unaffordable, but you can find services and individuals who offer reasonable rates. Again, it doesn't have to be every day. You can work out a schedule so you don't break your pocketbook and your dog gets the interaction they need.
Even if your pet sitter just lets your dog out to go potty, checks up on them, and hangs out with them for a little bit, your dog will appreciate the attention. Many pet sitters will share pics with you, which gives you the chance to see how your dog is doing (and possibly even address behavior issues before they become bigger problems).
8. Leave the TV or Radio On
Leaving the TV or radio on while you're away from home can provide comfort and stimulation for your dog. Just don't leave it on too loud, and don't pick something with a lot of flashing lights or loud sounds. The sound of human voices or the familiar noises from TV shows can create an ambient background that emulates the sounds your dog is used to when you're at home. This can make them feel less alone and reduce feelings of anxiety.
DogTV offers special programming for dogs to keep their minds busy, whether you're away from home or in the next room.
9. Provide a Comfortable Resting Area
While it might seem counterintuitive, providing a comfortable resting area is actually a key part of keeping your dog content and occupied. Dogs, especially puppies and older dogs, require a substantial amount of sleep. Having a designated cozy spot for rest can enhance their comfort and wellbeing. This could be a soft dog bed with their favorite blanket, or even a crate if they've been crate-trained and associate it with safety and comfort.
Including a piece of clothing that smells like you can also provide comfort and a sense of security. This space becomes their sanctuary, a place where they can retreat to and feel safe. A good resting place can help ease stress, prevent separation anxiety or boredom, and can contribute to overall physical health and emotional wellness.
10. Play Hide-and-Seek With Treats
Before you leave, hide small treats in various locations around your home where your dog is allowed to go. This activity taps into your dog's natural scent-tracking abilities and encourages them to use their keen sense of smell. They'll quickly learn that, when you leave for the day, they can expect to find treats around the house!
It's a mentally stimulating game that will keep them busy for a little bit. Additionally, the physical aspect of moving around to find these treats can help burn off some of their energy. Plus, the joy and satisfaction they get when they find a hidden treat can make this game highly rewarding.
Make sure you use small, low-calorie treats or part of their daily food allowance to avoid overfeeding.
Keeping Your Dog Happy and Healthy
Keeping your dog entertained, whether you're at work or busy working in your home office, requires a bit of creativity, but it's worth it for your pet's happiness and wellÏbeing. Each dog is unique, so find what works best for your individual pup. With these tips, you can ensure your dog stays happy, entertained, and less anxious while you're busy.