As we prepare to go back to work, our dogs will have to get used to a “new normal” of being home alone all day. Most dogs will be ok with this, and will take the opportunity to catch a well-deserved nap. In fact, dogs can sleep up to 20 hours per day. For the dogs that need more entertainment when they’re home alone, we have a few tips.
Limit Their House Access
Unless you know that you can trust your dog to not chew up the couch, or go in the closet and poop in your shoes, limit their access to a certain room, or crate them while they’re unsupervised. If your dog isn’t used to the crate, you can feed them in it, or toss treats in there when crating them, in order to create a positive association. Alternatively, you can use a baby gate or ex-pen to confine your pup.
Some pet parents leave a radio or white noise machine on to calm their dog. In fact, RelaxMyDog has created music and videos specifically formatted for this sort of thing.
Exercise Their Brains And Their Bodies
To combat canine boredom, you can provide a number of toys for your pup. There are low-tech options such as puzzle balls or stuffed Kongs, or high-tech ones such as a Furbo or PetCube. Make sure that whatever toy you leave with them doesn’t have small pieces that can break off. Marrow bones can splinter, and should only be given to a dog under supervision. Stuffed toys are also less than ideal, as your dog can tear these up, and potentially ingest pieces of stuffing or squeaker.
Another way to make sure that your dog is content in your absence is to exercise them regularly. Some pups are content with a game of fetch twice a day, while others need more high-energy activities to blow off some steam. If your pooch is the high-energy type, check out dog sports in your area such as nosework, agility, rally, or flyball. Regular training deepens the bond that you have with your dog, and gives you plenty to work on together at home!
Finally, you can employ a dog walker to come by in the middle of the day to take your pup out for a little fresh air, or take them to doggy daycare to romp with other dogs. Services such as Rover.com make this easy to do, if you choose to go that route.
Don’t Feel Bad About Leaving Your Pet Home Alone
Leaving our pets home alone is sometimes necessary, but rest assured that most of the time, they’re not pining away for you to return. Dogs are very much in-the-moment animals, and do not count the passage of time in the same way that humans do. They understand when their humans are “here” and “not here” – not that you’ve been gone for a certain amount of time.
If you’d like to discuss a specific plan to help your dog transition to your absence, or if you have any questions, contact us. We’re happy to help!