Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is 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 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 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 while home alone.
But how long is too long to leave a dog home alone while at work
Age of the dog
|Time to be 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 home alone at this age can lead to separation anxiety.
|Adult dogs (over 18 months)||Up to 5 hours a day but indeed no more than 6.||Adult dogs are generally used to being home alone and will sleep while 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 he will need to be mentally stimulated during his waking hours to avoid boredom and separation anxiety. Even a dog 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.
Consider a dog walker to break the day up whilst he is at home alone
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 awaiting your return.
Read Finchley Dog Walker’s article on what to look for in a dog walker
If not, arm yourself with toys for the dog to play with. Please ensure these are robust enough to withstand 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 regularly. This is 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, because they are slightly difficult, but not impossible, to extract.
Food dishes are also now available in major pet stores and online, fulfilling 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 peanut butter, marmite, carrots, or kibble. Freeze it overnight, then take it out and leave it for the dog to lick slowly. 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 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 will get a little bit messy, so leave some towels around the bucket. This will give the dogs hours of fun as they scoot around and generally discover what’s in the bucket. It’s a plaything or toy for a dog. It works wonders and keeps them entertained.
Rotation is important with the rest of the dog’s toys at home. Don’t just leave the same toys hanging around the house all day throughout the week. Every couple of days, refresh the dog’s toys to play with. Try to buy a new toy for the dog to play with weekly. This keeps them interested. Dogs can get bored very quickly because they have so much energy. A fresh rotation of toys regularly 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; 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 the dog has a continuous soundtrack. However, he can choose to leave the room if they want 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 a positive experience for your dog and give 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, please 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 necessary exercise. The emphasis is on play and exploration and plenty of activities. Click here to learn more about how we can give your dog a great start to its day. Or get in touch