In this day and age, it is, unfortunately, essential for many of us to have to go out to work and leave a dog alone that has to amuse and entertain themselves.
This has to be carefully managed so as not to cause psychological problems for him, such as extreme boredom. Boredom, in turn, can cause problems for us, such as a wrecked house. Whilst some people are lucky enough to be able to take their dog to work with them, others can’t. This means for the rest of us, we have to find ways to keep the dog entertained and out of mischief whilst he is home alone.
But how long is too long for the dog to be home alone
Age of the dog
|Time for being alone||Reason|
|Dogs under around a year old||2 hours a day is the limit.||Generally,
speaking puppies are not used to being home alone. As a result, they will usually want to pee more. Log periods of being home alone at this age can lead to separation anxiety
|Adult dogs (over 18 months)||Up to 5 hours a day but certainly no more than 6.||Adult dogs have generally got used to being home alone and will sleep whilst you are out or entertain themselves|
|Elderly dog||Can be left alone for two to six hours.||this is down to individual dogs as some older dogs will have a weak bladder and, like puppies, need to wee more|
An adult dog will naturally sleep most of the day, but during his waking hours, he will need to be mentally stimulated to avoid boredom and separation anxiety. Even a dog that is kept in an outdoor run during the day requires some form of entertainment if he is not to become a nuisance barker. This means finding ways to keep him occupied.
If you can afford it, employing a dog sitter or walker to come and take him out during the day is an ideal solution. A good dog walker will provide quality enhanced dog walk providing both mental and physical exercise, so your dog is tired and content when home alone dog awaiting your return.
Read Finchley Dog Walker’s article on what to look for in a dog walker
If not, then arm yourself with toys for the dog to play with. Make sure these are robust enough to withstand a good shaking and chewing and, most importantly, try to vary which toys he has on different days so that he doesn’t get bored with them. Buy him new ones on a regular basis; much cheaper than new furniture!
A popular device, which all dogs love, is the Kong. This is conically-shaped, made from hard rubber, with a small hole in one end and a slightly bigger hole in the opposite end into which you put food treats for the dog to find. These could be his usual kibble or biscuits. It is best to mix these in with meat paste or peanut butter, for example, the idea being that they are slightly difficult, but not impossible, to extract.
There are also now food dishes available in major pet stores and online, which fulfil the same slow-release of food principle. You could even put the Kong in the freezer overnight so that as it gradually thaws, it takes longer to get the treats out. This is especially useful during the summer months.
Another option is to make something called a doggy popsicle. This could be something like chicken broth or a mixture of this with peanut butter or marmite and carrots or kibble. Freeze it overnight, then take it out and leave it for the dog to slowly lick. Of course, remember to place this somewhere easy to clean!
Another good idea is to create a busy bucket. The busy bucket is what it sounds like, This is an excellent tool for keeping your dog entertained whilst they are home alone. Grab a plastic bucket, the more durable, the better, and throw some doggie treats at the bottom. Then place one of the dog’s toys in the bucket on top of the treats. It’s going to get a little bit messy, so leave some towels around the bucket. This will give the dog hours of fun as they scoot around and generally discover what’s in the bucket. It’s basically a plaything or toy for a dog. It works wonders and keeps them entertained.
With the rest of the toys that the dog has at home, rotation is important. Don’t just leave the same toys hanging around the house all day throughout the week. Every couple of days, refresh the toys that the dog has to play with. Try and buy a new toy every week for the dog to play with too. This keeps them interested. Dogs can get bored very easily because they have so much energy. A fresh rotation of toys on a regular basis helps to solve this problem.
Keep the TV On
If your dog is a telly addict – and some are – leave the TV playing to keep him amused. Believe it or not, you can buy DVDs for dogs to watch – check out Amazon! If you know your pooch is inclined to lunge at things on the TV, this may not be suitable though; try leaving a radio on instead.
Music is the key
One final idea is to leave a classical music CD or radio playing in one of the rooms. This, believe it or not, really helps to relax dogs. Leaving a cd playing in a loop means that the dog has a continuous soundtrack. However, he can choose to leave the room if he or she wants to.
Dogs have tons of energy and are very lively. They can be a nightmare if they get bored, and your furniture can suffer too. Take steps to prevent this by following some of the ideas in this article, and you should have a happy and contented dog.
How you should behave once you’re back
When you return, make it is a positive experience for your dog and gives them plenty of love ad attention.
Below are a few suggestions for when you return after your dog has been home alone
- Spend some time taking our dog for a quality walk
- If a walk is not possible then spend some playtime in the garden
And remember: Letting your dog stretch his legs after a day spent indoors is a great way to help him burn off some energy. On the other hand, don’t get him accustomed to receiving treats as you walk in. Your dog should know that “Leave & Return” means that there are moments during the day when he could be left alone.
If you are lucky enough to be working from home then we have an article on that
Finchley dog walker provides a fun and effective way to ensure your dog gets the exercise they need. The emphasis is on play and exploration, as well as plenty of exercises. To find out more about how we can give your dog a great start to their day, click here.