Today’s dogs are, by and large, unemployed.
Without ducks to hunt, sheep to herd, and rats to chase, many dogs have resorted to finding inventive ways to keep busy while their families are not home, including destructive tasks like barking until the neighbors complain, chewing up furniture, and licking their paws until they’re raw.
Keep your dog entertained while you’re at work so they stay safe and out of trouble until you get home.
Toys That Can Entertain Your Dog While You’re At Work
For most dogs, toys are not very interesting until engaged with by a human. So it does not do much good to scatter toys across the floor before you leave for work.
You can, however, set up toys and activities that your dog can enjoy on their own to keep their mind off your absence.
#1 – Kong Toys
Kongs are the holy grail of dog trainers everywhere. They can help with separation anxiety, inappropriate chewing, barking, and many other behavioural issues. You can fill a large Kong with your dog’s breakfast.
Kibble can be mixed with moist food like raw or cooked meat, scrambled eggs, mashed sweet potato, yogurt, cottage cheese, bone broth, or canned dog food. You can also soak kibble in warm water to create a mushy paste. To make the Kong even more challenging to eat, you can freeze it overnight.
#2 – Kibble Dispensing Toys
To make toy prep even easier, use a toy designed to release kibble or dry treats when your dog plays with it.
Puzzle toys not only keep your dog entertained while you’re at work, but provide physical and mental stimulation to tire them out, encouraging them nap for a few hours while they wait for you to return.
#3 – High Tech Toys
There are many wonderful, high tech toys that can interact with your dog, and some even have built-in cameras that you can use to monitor your dog when you’re not home.
Some high tech toys have a laser feature, but playing with laser pointers has been linked to OCD in dogs, so it’s best to avoid them.
#4 – A Snuffle Mat
A snuffle mat has fabric flaps that you can hide food or treats in for your dog to find. Sniffing actually lowers your dog’s heart rate, helping them feel more relaxed while you’re away.
#6 – Get Your Dog To Sleep While You’re At Work
Dogs can sleep for 12 to 14 hours per day, so they can nap for a big part of your workday.
Set them up for a peaceful snooze by making sure they get exercise before you leave. You may need to wake up a little earlier to make time to play with them, or you can even squeeze in a quick game of tug or fetch while you catch up on the daily news.
You may want to keep your dog in a crate or in a quiet room while you’re away. Having a full run of the house can be stressful for your dog because they may be on high alert the whole time, rather than catching some zzzs.
#7 – Leave Music On
The age-old advice to leave the radio on for your dog is still a good idea. It’s unclear if dogs really think that there are people home if they hear voices on the TV, but music has been shown to help keep them calm.
Music therapy can help your dog relax, plus it helps drown out noises from outside. Classical music, soft rock, jazz, and reggae have all been shown to have a soothing effect.
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