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Leaving your dog home alone for extended periods can be stressful for both you and your four-legged friend.
Dogs are social animals that crave company and activity.
However, with some preparation and planning, you can keep your dog happily occupied while you're out.
This article outlines some great ways to provide stimulation and entertainment for your dog, so they don't get bored or anxious in your absence.
Creating a calm environment can help ease anxiety in dogs when left alone.
Try leaving a radio or TV tuned to a classical music station.
The soothing sounds will provide comfort and distraction while you're gone.
Classical music has been clinically proven to reduce stress in canines.
Put on Dog TV Shows or Audiobooks
Another option is to leave the television or radio on dog-oriented programming.
There are channels and shows specifically designed to capture a dog's interest with animal footage and stories.
Audiobooks featuring dog characters are also great for keeping your pup's mind engaged.
Just be sure to avoid channels with a lot of doorbells or sirens which may make your dog excitable.
The sound from the shows will provide company for your pet.
Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is key to avoiding boredom-related behaviours.
Interactive food puzzle toys are great for occupying your dog's mind and energy.
These come in various shapes and sizes, such as balls with holes for hiding kibble, puzzle boxes that require manipulation to uncover the food, and gadgets that release treats when rolled.
Start with basic puzzles and increase the level of difficulty as your dog learns to solve them.
This provides mental stimulation that tires them out.
Give your dog one of these challenging puzzles before you leave home to keep them productively engaged.
For dog owners with a spacious backyard, consider erecting a large outdoor dog kennel.
This gives your dog ample room to move around, play, and explore while remaining safely confined when you're away.
Outfit the enclosure with shelters, toys, tunnels, ramps and other obstacles to make it more stimulating.
Ensure the kennel has appropriate shade and ventilation for the weather conditions.
For rainy days, include a waterproof dog house so your dog can take shelter.
For very active dogs that need constant supervision and interaction, a great alternative is doggy daycare.
These facilities offer a safe and stimulating environment where dogs can play and socialise with other dogs for hours under staff supervision.
Your dog will enjoy tuckering themselves out with vigorous play and exercise.
The social interaction is also beneficial for dogs that experience separation anxiety when home alone.
Doggy daycare may also offer additional services like training, grooming and overnight boarding.
Leaving dogs unoccupied for long periods can lead to boredom, stress and destructive behaviours like chewing, digging and barking.
However, with some preparation and planning, there are many ways to keep your dog happily engaged in your absence.