Tips for Keeping Your Dog Entertained While You’re Away

keeping a dog entertained while away

Dogs are social animals that thrive on human interaction and stimulation. However, sometimes we must leave our furry friends home while working or running errands. When we leave them alone, our dogs can become bored, anxious, and destructive. So, keeping your dog entertained while away is essential to prevent these problems.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss several tips for keeping your dog entertained while you’re away. These tips will help to keep your dog mentally stimulated, physically active, and emotionally balanced.

Crate Training

Training a dog is an essential task for any dog owner. It provides them with mental stimulation and can be a fun way to spend time with them. In addition to teaching tricks and commands, crate training is essential to your dog’s education. It helps your dog become accustomed to being alone.

Crate training involves teaching a dog to feel comfortable in a crate or kennel as a safe and secure space they can retreat to. It also teaches dogs to hold their bladder and bowel movements, preventing accidents inside the house. It can also help prevent destructive behaviour by providing a space for the dog to rest while you are away.

Don’t feel bad about using a crate. It is in the dog’s nature to retreat to a small place for safety, and depending on the nature of your dog, you won’t need it for long. Start with short periods of leaving them alone in their crate until you can leave them for a few hours. Then, to make them feel more comfortable, provide familiar items such as blankets, pillows, or clothing with your scent on them. These items can make your dog feel more relaxed and secure.

Eventually, you won’t need to use the crate at home, although it will still be helpful when you leave home with your dog.

Provide a Safe and Familiar Environment

Make sure that your dog has a safe and secure environment to play and rest in while you’re away. This includes ensuring that there are no hazardous items your dog can get into, such as cleaning supplies, chemicals, or sharp objects.

As we mentioned before, a crate is an excellent accessory to have. You can start by using the create in a room or area of your house and eventually leave your dog without a crate in the same area. They will, with time, feel safe in that room when you are away.

You should also ensure that your dog is in a secure area they cannot escape from. For example, if you live in a house and plan to leave your dog outside while away, ensure your property is fully fenced and that the type of fence is appropriate for your dog. But still, ensure your dog has a place outside the house to retreat, feel comfortable and be protected from extreme weather conditions. You can even leave outside the crate you use for your dog’s initial training.

If you live in an apartment, do not leave them access to balconies or a fully open window (like in the picture). Even well-trained dogs can lose their cool when chasing a cat, rat or wildlife in your area.

Provide plenty of toys.

Toys are a great way to keep dogs entertained and distracted while you’re away. They love toys and can keep them entertained for hours. Many types of toys are available in the market, such as chew, puzzle, interactive, and fetch. The best toys are durable, safe, and appropriate for your dog’s age, size, and breed. Some popular toys include Kong toysNylabonesrope toys, and puzzle balls.

Dogs can become bored with their toys if they have the same ones every day. To keep them entertained, rotate their toys regularly. This will keep their toys new and exciting and prevent them from getting bored with the same toy. It’s a good idea to have a few different toys available and to rotate them every few days.

However, toys can be expensive and may not last long. So, big bones are a simple alternative that is always effective. Dogs can spend hours chewing on a bone. However, please do not give your dog cooked bones or chicken bones because they splint easily and can tear the throat or puncture the intestines.

Use Treats

Dogs are natural scavengers, so it’s no surprise that they love treats. Treats can be a great way to motivate your dog and reward good behaviour, but they can also keep them entertained while you’re away. One way to do this is by using treat dispensers or puzzle toys like KONG Classic, the Busy Buddy Twist ‘n Treat, and the Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado.

Treat dispensers and puzzle toys are designed to dispense treats gradually, requiring your dog to work for the reward. By making your dog work for their treats, you can help them burn off excess energy and prevent them from gaining weight. It can also help to reduce anxiety and prevent destructive behaviour by providing a positive outlet for their energy and instincts.

Hiding treats around the house is another way to mentally stimulate your dog. This not only helps to prevent boredom but also encourages them to use their natural sense of smell. Start by hiding treats in easy-to-find locations and gradually increase the difficulty level as your dog gets better at the game.

It’s important to note that, like with toys, dogs may lose interest in some treats. Therefore, it’s essential to occasionally rotate the dispenser toys and treats to keep things fresh and interesting for your pet. You can also try different treats to see what your dog likes best.

Exercise your dog before your leave the house

One of the best ways to keep your dog entertained while you’re away is to make sure they get enough exercise before you leave the house. Taking your dog for a walk or engaging in other forms of physical activity before you leave can help burn off excess energy and reduce anxiety. This can help to prevent your dog from becoming bored and engaging in destructive behaviour, such as chewing on furniture or digging in the yard.

Exercise also has some health benefits for your dog, including improved cardiovascular health, better digestion, and a stronger immune system. Regular exercise can also help to prevent obesity and other health issues that can arise from a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to these health benefits, after a good workout, your dog will be more focused and better able to concentrate on figuring out a puzzle toy or working for treats from a dispenser.

Ideally, you walk your dog twice: before leaving your house and after you return. A good walk is not only good for your dog but also for your own physical and mental health. For example, many fitness programs recommend 10,000 steps a day. You can quickly achieve them if you take your dog for about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the afternoon/evening.

Leave the TV or radio on

Music can have a profound effect on dogs and help to calm them down. The sound of music can soothe anxious dogs and make them feel less alone when their owners are away. Leaving the TV or radio on is a great way to provide background noise to make your pet feel more comfortable. However, choosing the right music or sound is essential to help calm your dog.

There are many specially designed CDs and apps to calm dogs. These CDs or apps have music and sounds designed to help dogs relax. Some of these CDs or apps use calming sounds, such as rain or ocean waves, while others use classical music, which has been shown to have a relaxing effect on dogs.

If you don’t have a CD or app specifically designed for dogs, you can still use music to calm your pet. Choose music with a slow and steady beat, as this can have a calming effect on dogs. Avoid loud, fast-paced music or music with too much bass, which can make dogs anxious and agitated.

Hire Dog Walkers or Daycare Services

If you’re away from home for an extended period, consider hiring a dog walker to take your dog for a walk. This will provide your dog with some much-needed exercise and mental stimulation. A dog walker can also provide some companionship for your dog and can break up the long hours of being alone. 

Doggy daycare is another option for dogs that get bored or anxious when left alone. These facilities provide your dog with socialization, exercise, and playtime with other dogs. Doggy daycare can also help break up the long hours of being alone and provide your dog with a change of scenery. However, it’s essential to choose a reputable daycare with trained staff, a clean and safe environment, and proper supervision of the dogs.

An alternative to a facility is to hire a pet sitter to keep your pet company. A pet sitter can provide your pet with dedicated attention, playtime, and exercise while you’re away. For example, we have dogs that regularly come to our house and are now part of the family.

In conclusion, keeping your dog entertained while you’re away is essential to their well-being. Providing them with toys, treats, and a safe environment, rotating their toys, and hiring a dog walker or using doggy daycare can help to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active. Following these tips can help ensure your pets stay happy and entertained while you’re away. 

Pablo Matamoros

I love animals and technology. I've developed software and led technology teams for 25 years, and I've owned pets since I was a toddler. This blog allowed me to combine both passions and, in the process, help my partner promote her art and pet-sitting business. For more about me, visit:

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