How To Keep Your Dog Busy While You're At Work
How to Keep Your Dog Entertained
Many pet parents also have full-time jobs, and must leave their dogs at home alone during the workday. Boredom is a leading cause for misbehavior in dogs. If they do not expend enough of their energy exercising or playing, they will find another way to burn it through destructive behavior, and your furniture and other belongings will end up in shambles. Interactive toys are a good option for keeping your dog entertained while you’re away at work. There are also some great ways to entertain your dog while you’re together on the weekends, or travelling together.
Keeping Your Dog Busy During the Workday
Take a long, brisk walk first thing in the morning.Before you leave for work, enjoy some time with your canine friend, and expel some of their energy by taking a walk together. You will both enjoy the exercise, and your dog will be able to have some time outside before they are cooped up inside the house all day.
- A 20-minute walk daily is recommended for most breeds of dogs. Working dogs may need two 20-minute walks a day.
Make a busy bucket for your dog.Find a sturdy aluminum or plastic container and fill it with toys and treats for your dog to discover during the workday. Layer the treats and toys with old hand towels, so that your dog has to dig through to find treasures. To keep them entertained with the bucket from day to day, add new toys that your dog has never seen before every now and then.
Try a self-fetching toy.Technology has not only made our lives easier, it has helped make entertaining our pets easier too. Try iFetch, an automatic ball launcher which will allow your dog to play catch by themselves for hours! There are different sizes that launch full-size tennis balls or smaller balls to accommodate all sizes of dogs and living spaces.
Hire a dog walker.If you have tried everything, and your home is still being turned upside-down by your bored dog, consider hiring a dog walker. That way, your dog can get the exercise and stimulation they need without being cooped up all day indoors. Ask for recommendations from friends and other dog owners, and make sure that you find someone who your dog gets along with well.
- Before hiring someone to walk your dog, ask the person to go on a test walk with you and your dog. You can see if the person is a good fit for your dog’s personality.
- Keep in mind that your dog walker will also require access to your house, so make sure to hire someone who you trust in your home.
Send your dog to daycare.Dog daycare provides socialization, exercise, and plenty of stimulation for your dog. If you can afford to, consider sending your dog to daycare at least once or twice a week.
- Keep in mind that dog daycare is only a good option if your dog gets along well with other dogs and doesn’t have separation anxiety.
Entertaining Your Dog with Interactive Treats
Gather up interactive treats.You might want to start with purchasing a Kong (or two) from your local pet store, a hard rubber toy that can be filled with dog food and stuffing (such as peanut butter or Kong stuffing, small dog biscuits or milk bones). Your dog will have to work at getting the treats out of the cavity of the toy, and this can keep them entertained for hours.
Make an honest assessment of your dog’s smarts, creativity, and stubbornness.Interactive food toys can be stuffed in a way that makes it easy or hard to get the rewards out. As a general rule, the smarter the dog, the more challenging you can make it. If it’s too hard, then the dog’s motivation disappears.
Fill up the interactive toy.You can use a mixture of dog food, dog treats, and additional flavorings (peanut butter, Kong stuffing).
- Optional – place the toy in the freezer. This makes it take longer to get the insides out but is not necessary. You can use frozen treats, such as Frosty Paws dog ice cream, if you are going to freeze the toy.
Do a test run.At a scheduled mealtime, call your dog, tell them to “sit”, and offer them the toy.
- Supervise your dog while they work on getting the goods out of the toy. Note whether they move around a lot or settles in on one spot. Some toys require movement – such as the Buster Ball – so make sure that whatever falls out is safe for your floor and furniture (Frosty Paws ice cream, for example, is not the perfect add on to your new suede sofa.)
Check the toy after your dog has finished with it.Pick it up and check to see if they got everything. If they did, then you can try to make it even more challenging next time. If they did not, check to see what the problem was. Milk bones can cross at the gap and prevent items from falling out, stuffing can stick, and other random things can happen. Adjust accordingly by placing fewer or smaller milk bones in the toy, only having the stuffing at the edges, etc.
Arrange a series of toys stuffed with food and treats throughout your dog’s living area.Space them apart so that they do not settle in first thing and get them all right away. For example, you may want to place the Kong toy in the kitchen and a Buster Ball in a back bedroom (if your dog is free to roam in the house). If they stay in a crate, provide a couple of toys that don’t require a lot of movement to get the treats out. Make it as hard as your dog can handle to get the treats so that it takes time.
- Alternate the toys and treats that are given to your dog so that each day brings a challenge.
Having Fun With Your Dog on Weekends
Run errands with your dog.If your dog enjoys riding in the car, take them with you as you run your weekend errands. Some dogs enjoy going through the car wash, for instance, as they like to watch the sights and sounds of the brushes cleaning the car. Some home improvement stores allow leashed dogs inside, so you can take your furry friend along with you as you go pick up paint or yard supplies.
- Seeing new places and experiencing new things is always exciting and stimulating for dogs; your dog will probably have fun no matter where you go, and they’ll fall asleep exhausted and happy when you arrive home.
- Never leave your dog alone in a car, especially on a hot day.
Visit a dog park.Most cities have off-leash dog parks that are open to the public. If your dog loves interacting and playing with other dogs, they will have fun meeting new dog friends as you make new friends with other dog owners. Dog parks also offer plenty of opportunity for sensory stimulation, as there is plenty to see and smell.
- To be well-protected at the park, make sure that your dog has a good immune system and has all of their vaccinations.
Go on a hike or walk.After a long weekend indoors, make sure to give your dog some much-deserved time outside in nature. Take them on a long walk or hike a nearby trail. For your dog’s safety and comfort, try to choose a trail with a soft leaf-covered track, without any sharp rocks or steep drop-offs.
- Give your dog their own backpack in which to carry water, food, and treats. Make sure that the pack fits snugly and doesn’t chafe their belly or sides.
Let your pup practice their doggie-paddle.If you have a dog breed that enjoys the water, take your dog to a lake or pond and let them swim. Swimming is great exercise for dogs, and the experience of being in the water engages their senses.
- For dogs, one minute of swimming is the equivalent of four minutes of running! The resistance of the water makes them work harder to swim than they have to work to run on land, and this improves their overall muscle tone.
Find a dog-friendly patio.If your weekend plans include meeting up with friends for a meal or a drink, don’t leave your canine friend behind! Dog-friendly patios at restaurants are becoming more and more common, and many even offer your pup a bowl of water or a treat.
Make a play date.Dogs (especially puppies) are very social creatures, and need plenty of time to interact with their own species. Make sure that you find a play companion for your pup who is around the same size and temperament as your dog, so that both dogs stay safe, and enjoy their time together.
- Introduce your dog to new buddies on neutral territory (while on a walk or at a park), so that the dogs don’t feel like they need to defend their home turf from stranger dogs.
Play fetch at the park.All you need to keep your dog entertained for hours at the park is a tennis ball or Frisbee. Throw the ball across a field, and tell them to “go fetch” it, or teach them to catch the Frisbee in their mouth.
- Your dog may also enjoy a game of tug-of-war. It’s a fun and easy way to wear your dog out and burn off any excess energy.
Plan ahead to keep your dog entertained when traveling.Just like humans, dogs get tired of being in a car for too long. If you take your dog along on a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, then you may need to find ways to keep him entertained.
- Stop at rest stops for walks and bathroom breaks. Most rest areas along highways offer places to walk dogs, and some even have fenced-in areas to allow your canine friend a safe place to run around.
- Bring along some new toys as well. Before you venture out on a trip with your dog, buy some new toys and mix them in with some old familiar favorites. A chew toy is a good option.
QuestionI'm afraid someone will be watching me when I'm walking my uncle's dog every day and track my route and timing. I'm only 14. Advice?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerChange your route up a little. Take new roads, take the longer way home, etc. Just don't get lost. If possible, you could also walk the dog at a slightly different time each day. Keep a phone on you if you have one, and stay alert to your surroundings. If you're really worried, stick to walking in more populated areas.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when my dog is bored?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can take him/her out for a walk or simply play a game using a dog toy. For example, you could play tug-of-war or fetch. You could also train your dog to do tricks using treats.Thanks!
QuestionCan my dog listen to music?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, any dog can listen to music; it won't hurt them if it's not too high. Dogs can hear better than humans, so don't make it too loud.Thanks!
To keep your dog entertained if you're away, layer toys and treats with old towels in a bucket that your dog has to dig through to find treasures during the day. You can also try a self-fetching toy like iFetch, which launches balls for your dog to catch, or an interactive toy like a Kong, which you fill with food your dog has to work to get out. If you’re with your dog, try visiting a dog park, going on a hike, or running errands together. Alternatively, take your dog to a lake or pond for a swim, or arrange a doggy play date with a friend who also has a dog.
- Get your dog plenty of exercise to keep them healthy and calm.
- Keep a mellow, even attitude when coming and going from home. Being too sad in the morning and too excited in the evening can throw the wrong vibe to your dog, making them think that being left at home is terrible.
- Make sure that your dog’s overall caloric intake is at a healthy level. For each treat given, give less kibble. But make sure they get the right amount of kibble to meet their nutritional needs.
- Do a test run and supervise your dog with each new toy. Check to see how much he moves with it (to protect carpet and furniture) and to ensure they use it properly.
- Make meal-time work-time. Place your dog’s food in an interactive toy so that they have to work for it. Not only does this give them a job to do that will keep them busy, but it is also helpful for digestion as it slows down your dog’s eating pace.
- When mixing rewards with the dog food, there’s a chance they’ll end up on your carpet or furniture. If your dog likes to move around with their toy, make sure nothing valuable is at risk.
- Make it a habit to trade with your dog. When they have a stuffed toy, offer them an even better single treat in exchange for dropping the Kong. Reward with the good treat and then give your dog the Kong back. Because the stuffed toy has good stuff in it, there is a chance they will become protective of it. Prevent this problem by making it normal for your dog to be rewarded for giving it back to you.
Video: How to Combat Your Dog's Boredom | Teacher's Pet With Victoria Stilwell
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