Dog owners know all too well that if their pets are left alone at home, years of careful training could go right out of the window. You could come home to a real mess!
As humans, many of us relish the opportunity to be “home alone”. We can enjoy a little me-time to pamper or entertain ourselves however we want, without interruption! Your dogs, on the other hand, get bored and lonely when you’re away. They might turn to mischief as a way of relieving anxiety or displaying their disapproval – so don’t be too harsh on your naughty Husky or other dogs, they can’t help it!
Here are a few tips on how to entertain and distract that doggo, and keep him or her from wrecking the house while you’re out.
1. It Takes Two (Or More) To Tango
Dogs are naturally sociable, and generally enjoy being part of a pack. Adopting another dog – if it’s an option for your family – is a great way to keep BOTH animals company.
Of course, it’s important to make sure both pooches are socialized with other animals. Take your time to introduce them to each other, and keep a close eye on how they get along before you leave them alone with each other.
While your new family member might well be younger than your first pooch, remember that a senior dog isn’t going to enjoy a noisy, active pup too much! Ideally, your first dog shouldn’t be more than a few years old before you give him or her a sibling. If the dogs are a similar breed with similar energy levels – even better for both.
2. Everybody Needs Good Neighbors
If there are folks in your neighborhood who spend time at home during the day, you might be able to rally some volunteers and set up a weekly dog-sitting timetable.
You can all take it in turns to walk, entertain and feed each other’s dogs every day. That way, everyone’s fur kids get company at some time during the day. Dogs who get at least some attention are less likely to bark incessantly, or practice their digging and chewing skills on flowerbeds and furniture!
3. Dog Walkers for Hire
Urban dwellers are leading the trend of hiring dog walkers to exercise their pets when they’re at work or running errands all day. Professional dog walkers ensure that doggoes get exercise during the day. Not only is this good for the dogs, it also means you have quality time to play with your pet when you get home.
Make sure any dog walker you hire comes with good recommendations. Ideally, they should have plenty of experience with animals, and understand dogs in particular. If you can’t find anyone who fits the bill (or whose bill fits your budget), maybe it’s time for YOU to consider a career change!
4. Toys 4 Dogs
If you’re a seasoned dog owner, you probably already know there are two inescapable facts of dogs and their chew toys:
- Every dog has a favorite toy or two.
- Dogs’ favorite toys tend to not last very long.
If you need to leave your boy or gal at home for a while, chew toys are a good way to keep them stimulated. Because dogs will chew and chew on their favorite toys until they’re mush, it’s best to get one or two good-quality toys, and rotate them every so often. Tough chew toys can be pricy, but you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t have to keep replacing them!
Another reason to invest in heavy-duty toys like Kongs or good-quality hoof or leather chews, is that your dogs run less risk of biting off smaller parts and choking on them while you’re not around to notice.
Don’t give dogs bones to chew on while you’re not home – professionals advise against this because of the choking risk, especially in smaller dogs.
5. Canine Couch Surfing
There are YouTube videos for just about anything you can think of – so needless to say, there are uploads to keep your pets entertained! Not all dogs react to the TV, but some are mesmerized if they see something they like.
Test a few video options while you’re at home, and see if your dog takes any notice. You can find all kinds of “made for pets” content on the ‘Toob without much searching required – like music, footage of birds and squirrels, or scenes from the dog park. If your pooches react, you might just have found the perfect way to keep them happy when they’re home alone.
Make sure your TV or device is out of doggy reach, if you’re going to try this option – no-one wants to come home to the result of an attempt to chase a cat through a screen!