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Tips for Keeping Your Dog Happy When You are Not Home

Updated on July 24, 2009

Try to make a treasure hunt for your dog to enjoy

Your nine to five schedule may appear to go by pretty swiftly as you keep yourself busy at work carrying on tasks all day, but what about your canine companion left behind to cater to itself? What can you do as a responsible pet owner to keep your pet entertained and happy? Indeed, eight hour work shifts may feel quite long in a dog's world, especially if you add your daily commute on top of that. While some dogs may accept your absence stoically, others may become terribly anxious and even resort to destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture or worse, chewing their own paws.

Dogs are pack animals and as such, they are used to sticking around their pack members. When your dog is left alone therefore, it is natural to feel lonely and even abandoned. Dogs unlike people live in the present and therefore, do not have the ability to reason in the future such as thinking that you will be back later in the day. Rather they see your leaving and coming back as two separate non related scenarios, so he may feel terribly anxious when you leave and will feel incredibly happy upon seeing you back home.

Dogs also are very watchful beings and can literally read through your actions. They know that every morning each action you do will lead one after another to leaving the home. They therefore, may become anxious already upon seeing you slip your shoes on and grabbing the car keys. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety he may know the drill too well.

There are several things that can be done to ensure your dog stays calmer when left at home. Of course, many of these may not work if your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety which often requires the intervention of a professional.

-Hire a Dog Walker

You dog will surely appreciate a mid day break in between your long absence. This daily stroll will help remove some pent up energy and should allow your dog to relax for the rest of the day.

-Doggy Day Care

More and more owners are enrolling their pooches in dog day care so they can be left safely in a place they enjoy. There are several activities for dogs in these centers and they will provide many hours of fun. Do not be surprised if your dog appears quite tired upon picking up in evening.

-Have a Friend Stop By

Sometimes all your friend needs is a little bit of companionship during the day. Having a friend/neighbor/relative stop by to say hello and even take the dog for a brief walk may be really beneficial for your dog's well being. If you have a lunch break stopping to say hi may be appreciated.

-Walk Early

In the wild dogs are used to walk in the early morning, hunt, eat their food and then relax. Take your dog for a nice one hour walk in the morning, then have breakfast, feed your dog, give a bit of attention and then head for work. Very likely your dog will relax for the rest of the day.

-Leave a Kong

There are not many durable chew toys when it comes down to powerful chewers. Often a heavy duty Kong stuffed in a challenging way with great goodies may provide several hours of entertainment.

-Hide treats

Try to hide treats around the home in hard to find places. Your dog will enjoy a treaure hunt while you are away. 

-Provide White Noise

Some dogs are more relaxed if left with familiar noises while you are away. Turn the television or radio on and keep it on a low volume but enough to mask a bit other noises from the outdoors.

-Pheromone Plug-ins

These plug-ins provide pheromones which help dogs relax.

As seen, there are several ways to help your dog stay relaxed while you are away. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety you may need to resort to some desensitation tecniques and/or hire a professional.


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