You may share separation anxiety with your dog when the two of you are not able to spend all day together. Rather than leave your dog to stare at the door awaiting your return, why not prepare to keep him engaged in safe activities that will keep him happy? Here are three ways to entertain your dog while you’re out of the house:
Open Things up and Allow the Light to Shine
It makes sense to lock things down and shut things up when you leave the house. This would be fine if there were no occupants remaining in your absence. Your dog will appreciate enjoying the light shining in with the curtains left open. If security is an issue, only open those that are not facing the public traffic. Dogs enjoy taking a nap in the sunlight.
It also helps to keep doors open to convey a sense of liberty for your dog. One of the things your dog will notice is how the house is shut down when you are gone. In a way, this further emphasizes your absence for him. Keep doors closed where you want to keep certain valuables protected.
Keep Your Dog Entertained with Engaging Toys
Boredom for your dog is more stressful than it is for you. Both mental and physical stimulation are important for your dog’s happiness. Enrichment toys or interactive dog toys provide a challenge for dogs to engage their interest. It may be sounds such as squeakers or moveable objects inside the toys that make noise. There are also treat toys that you can fill with dog food or healthy treats that provide a reward for the effort.
Your dog will call upon his natural desire to forage, hunt and work for his food by teasing out the goodies held inside his treat toy. There is a wide array of these toys on the market. While your dog has his favorite toys, you can find something that you can add to his collection that will offer a little more to make his idle time less stressful.
Don’t Underestimate Your Dog’s Sense of Smell
Since your dog cannot be out on a walk with you to gather up all the smells out in the big wide world, why not take advantage of the space he occupies? At some moment when your dog is not in the room with you, stash some treats he will be able to find later when you are not around. Your dog’s sense of smell is powerful, and this will engage his interest in locating the source of the smells as well as reward him with a treat when he finds it. Just be careful not to place them where your dog must tear things up to get to them.
You may also choose to add some drops of pet-safe essential oils where your dog sleeps to provide a calming effect. Another option is to purchase dog pheromones that mimic a familiar scent. Placed or used in the collar, the use of pheromones may also lead to more relaxed behavior. Before using anything new without supervision, be sure to check with your vet about and research your choice extensively to ensure that your pet won’t be harmed by anything.
It will all come down to the level of intelligence or degree of boredom your dog experiences in the “quiet times” that will determine their need for entertainment. Keep in mind, your dog will reserve a good portion of the day for sleeping, probably dreaming about you coming through the front door. So fix up that air conditioning to keep your dog cool, set up their favorite blankets and pillows, and go to work knowing that your loving pup will be there when you return.