One of the toughest factors to consider when deciding to get a pet is your ability to give it all the care and attention it needs. While some pets will need minimal or not-so-regular care, like fishes or birds, some will need daily exercise, like dogs. This added, not to mention lifelong, commitment may feel like a big burden, and for people who work long hours, this is something to consider seriously before buying or adopting a pet.
If only it were possible to have your dog with you the whole day as you work or be able to do everything together. You would not have to worry about your beloved pet being lonely and bored the whole day.
The key is to keep your dog occupied so that he can spend these hours as pleasantly as possible. After all, your pet will also need some down and alone time, to rest or take a nap. During the rest of this time, he will just need some entertainment in order not to feel lonely. Here are some tips for you to keep your pooch busy while you are making your living.
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1. Choose Some Toys
Dogs need stimulation, and toys are a great way to keep them entertained. Of course, you need a variety of them, so he does not get bored playing with the same one every day. Thankfully, there’s a whole lot of dog toys that can be purchased, or even self-made, easily.
To stop your pet from chewing everything in sight, make sure you buy a chewing toy. There are ones that you can also fill with delicious goodies like peanut butter. Interactive dog toys are also a great idea, giving him a challenge or a problem to solve. You might be surprised to discover how smart your best friend is.
If you want to create something yourself, you can make your very own “busy bucket.” All you need is plastic or an aluminum pail and some treats at the bottom. On top of the treats, you can put in a toy the dog likes and cover it all with a hand towel. Your pet will enjoy removing the layers and discovering what is hidden inside the bucket.
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2. Switch on the TV
You can also choose to leave your television on before you leave, putting it on a channel where there are animals. The sight and sounds of these other animals will stimulate your dog and keep him entertained. Of course, this is not something to do every single day, because this will also eventually become boring for your pooch.
3. Let Your Dog Look Out
It is not only cats that love looking out the window. Dogs will also love having a spot where they can look out into the outside world and watch whatever is going on. Beyond keeping them distracted, they also become familiarized with the goings-on in the neighborhood.
4. Plan a Scavenger Hunt
Hiding some goodies and toys all around the house will create something like a scavenger hunt for your dog. He can use his senses and find these rewards once he finds your hiding spots. Just make sure you only hide small amounts of tasty food, and not too much. Do not hide them where your pet likes to hang out, nor in places the dog cannot find or might destroy something during the search. Do not forget to clean them out every once in a while. You do not want any food items rotting or attracting pests.
5. Look for Play Dates
Every once in a while, some social interactions with other dogs might be great for your hound. You can set up some play dates with the owners of dogs that your pet knows. Just make sure that you set up with someone your dog is comfortable with. Otherwise, he will just get stressed.
6. Bring Your Dog to Daycare
These kinds of facilities are becoming more common so that that dog owners can leave their pets somewhere they will be taken good care of. If you have a social dog that can also easily adapt to different environments, then your pooch might enjoy it. Of course, it is important that you get more information about what services and activities they have for dogs and even visit the facility first. You can then get a feel of the place and the staff, to help you decide if this is a good place for your dear dog. You can also do a trial run to see how your pet will react.
7. Hire a Walker
If daycare is not an option for your dog, you can still hire someone to walk him every day. This is also a great idea for very active pets, especially if you do not have enough time to exercise him as well. In such cases, it is vital to hire a walker. Otherwise, you will have to suffer destructive behavior at home. Just make sure that you hire someone you can trust.
8. Install a Water Fountain
Beyond food, your pet will also need enough water in the hours you are at work. While you can leave a bowl with water easily, you can instead buy a water fountain that can be fun and entertaining for your dog as well. Dogs also love water and can divert their attention for quite some time until you get home.
9. Play With Ice
Another source of fun and entertainment is a “frozen toy.” You just need to put some food or a treat in an ice-cream container, filling it with water and freezing it. Your pet will have lots of fun waiting for the ice to melt and revealing the delicious surprise for him to enjoy. Moreover, your dog will spend some of this alone time eagerly watching the ice melt and not engaging in any destructive behavior instead.
10. Keep Your Dog Calm
Your pet might become anxious when you leave him alone every day for 8 hours, and this leads him to chew or destroy everything he can at home. This is why you should try ways to keep your canine calm during this alone time.
One idea is to apply essential oils that have a calming effect, like lavender or peppermint, on the dog’s bed. This simple trick is enough to keep him relaxed. There are also products like natural herbal tonics that can be added to his meal just before you go to work. It will help him calm down and bark less.
On the other hand, there are also dog pheromones that can be used in the collar that mimics a familiar scent and can lead to a relaxed behavior.
11. Let Your Pet Chew
Chewing is a part of your pooch’s activities, and without something to gnaw on, he will choose whatever it is he finds at home, starting with your shoes or furniture. Chewing toys are also vital to maintain good dog dental hygiene, and of course, keep him busy.
Opt for nylon bones instead of rawhide, as this may break into smaller pieces and present a hazard to the dog’s stomach. The only thing you don’t want your pet to chew on is your furniture so make sure that you have a good indestructible dog bed so he can munch all he wants.
When You Are Home
These activities will work best if your dog is getting his needs met when you are out from work. Dogs require fresh air and exercise every single day, and you have to fulfill this to reduce the barking, anxiety, and the destructive behavior while you are away.
When your pet has too much energy, he will have to do use this in destructive ways. This is why you need to set aside enough time for walks with your beloved pooch. Squeezing a walk just before you go to work is one of the best things to do. Some dog breeds, however, need more exercise, so it is important to do your research and make arrangements or plan your day well to be able to provide your pet what he needs.
Instead, be proactive and plan different activities and toys that will keep your precious mutt happy and entertained at all times. These tips may also help, though it is important to decide what to do based on your pooch’s personality and preferences to avoid even more anxiety.