If you had a hidden camera in your home, what would your dog be doing while you're at work or away from the house? Would he be sadly waiting for you, sitting by the door or window expecting your car to pull in and minute? Or maybe he gets into trouble, suddenly deciding that your tennis shoes are a tasty treat.
If you make sure your pooch doesn't get bored while you are away, you can reduce bad behaviors. You'll feel less stressed knowing your dog is busy and your dog will be more content. A tired dog is a happy dog! Boredom can lead to excessive chewing, barking, digging, and other destructive behaviors.
As a pet owner, you have many options available from treat toys and tech gadgets, to outside help like doggie day care and dog walkers.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and likes to be mentally stimulated, the GameChanger is the ideal toy to keep him engaged. Treat toys can keep your dog's mind preoccupied for long periods of time and will keep him chewing on the toy versus something inappropriate. Developed by Bark Busters, the GameChanger Is safer for your dog's teeth than hard toys that can potentially chip or wear teeth down. Made of Flexa-Pure - a soft but sturdy, washable, durable non-toxic PBA-free polyurethane material. It is a quiet toy if bounced around because it is made of the soft material - great if you live in an apartment or have hard wood floors. As a pet owners all you have to do is open up the two sides, fill it with your dog's favorite treats or kibble, and your dog will go to work trying to get the treats to dispense from the toy.
Another great toy is the Kong which can be filled with peanut butter. There are even some great DIY toys you can make from items around your house like the great dog bottle game. According to studies dogs get bored with the same old toys. To keep your dog interested in his toys only give him access to a few at a time.
TV or Radio for Your Dog
Many dog owners play the TV or radio while they are gone. Believe it or not there is a TV channel just for dogs called DogTV. In fact, classical music has been shown to help ease anxiety in dogs. Similar to DogTV, there is even specially designed music for dogs which is believed to help reduce stress. This can help distract your dog from focusing on noises outside the house. Or leave on a fan or white noise machine to help cover up other noises, which can help reduce barking.
Hire a Dog Walker
If your dog's home alone for long periods of time consider hiring a dog walker. If you don't want to hire someone see if one of your neighbors, relatives or friends would be willing to stop by every once and a while to let your dog out for a nice walk or game of tug.
Nestcam and PetCube let you watch and communicate with your dog from afar with a pet camera, 2-way audio and a link to your smartphone.
Enroll in Doggie Day Care
Benefits of day care boarding include socialization, exercise, and relief from boredom. Doggy daycare also offers one-on-one care and attention for your pet. You can leave your pet in a group play setting or with a private dog sitter during the day through companies like DogVacay.
Provide a window or open door
Open the curtains or blinds to a back window in your home so that your pooch can watch whatever is going on outside your back door. If you have a small dog or a toy breed, set a cushion or chair by the window so that your pup is comfortably able to see out.
Give Your Dog a Brother or Sister
As Bark Busters trainers, we are often asked if two dogs is better than one to keep each other entertained. Our answer is always the same: only get two dogs if YOU really want two dogs. Adopting or rescuing another dog as a companion to your furry friend can help both animals. You give your existing animal someone to socialize with during the day and you save a life. Reputable rescues will often allow you to foster first, and then adopt the dog of your choice to make sure the animal fits well with your family.
Remember that dogs by nature are bred to perform a job such as herding, helping us hunt, watching over livestock or ridding the property of rats. When dogs don't have an occupation, they may act bored or lethargic - sleeping all the time and not showing interest in life - or they may act out, usually in ways you don't like, such as nuisance barking or eating the sofa.
It's up to you to provide the most entertaining and comfortable experience for your dog while you're away.