Updated: May 20, 2021
The way things are going these days, a lot of us are spending more time at home. But even if we’re home more than usual, we may still have time away from home for work, travel, and other needs.
Our dogs love us — and they may not be too understanding of the time we spend away from them.
Dogs can quickly get bored with the status quo, and if they don’t have a human around to distract them, they may resort to chewing, ripping, howling, barking, and other destructive behaviors.
How can you keep your dog happy during the day even if you can’t be home with them 24/7?
Training provides a lot of the answers for any maladjusted behaviors for dogs — and other animals, too. But dogs in particular can be very responsive to advance training.
You can train your dog to use a crate for certain periods of time, gradually extending that time and then extending the space that you leave your dog in. It may take some time, but it will help your dog to get used to you being gone — and reassure them that you will return.
Care For Their Needs
Apart from boredom, dogs may howl, bark, chew, or engage in other destructive behaviors for other reasons — because they’re hungry or thirsty, for instance.
Make sure that you care for the needs of your pup before you leave for the day. This means plenty of fresh water, some food, and maybe even some snacks. Friends of ours would hide small treats throughout the house for their beagle to find gradually over the time that they were gone, and that worked wonderfully for keeping the pup occupied!
Not all of us live in a large house with a fenced yard, but if you happen to be the dog parent who has enclosed space adjacent to a room that your dog is used to, consider leaving the door open to let them come in and out at will.
The more space a dog has, the less likely that they will be bored and unhappy while you’re gone. However, remember that it’s important to make sure that they are enclosed and can’t just roam at will while you’re away.
Don’t tie them up if you can help it — dogs can easily get tangled! A fenced-in enclosed space with a partial roof for shade or protection from rain is ideal for a dog.
Toys — Lots Of Toys!
Another aspect of keeping your dog occupied and happy while you’re gone is stimulation and engagement. In other words: toys!
This might mean simply toys to chew on and cuddle with while you’re gone. But some breeds really benefit from puzzle toys, especially the type that dispense treats if they can figure the puzzle out.
These types of toys are especially beneficial for a dog that gets anxious right as you’re leaving. If you can distract them before you head out the door, it should help to train them that something positive is coming when they see you getting ready to leave. Over time, this should cut down on negative behaviors.
Exercise When You’re Home
Of course, any dog that doesn’t get enough exercise is going to act up no matter what precautions you take when leaving the house.
So, while you are at home, make sure that you exercise your pup in accord to the recommended daily exercise needs for that breed or mix — or just for their age or personality!
Making sure that you can adequately exercise your dog is one of the most important considerations to take into account before you make the commitment to a pet.
Love And Attention
Finally, in order to keep your dog happy throughout the day — not just when you’re gone, but after you get home, too! — make sure you give them plenty of love, pets, and attention once you get home.
Your dog wants nothing more than to be with you and have you engage with them. Making sure that you provide for that need when you return will reassure them that, when you leave, it isn’t forever, and it isn’t because you don’t love tem!
Dogs forget quickly about things that are in their past, even if it was earlier in the day. So if your pup was upset that you left her this morning, give her lots of attention when you return in the afternoon, and she’ll swiftly move on to being a happy puppy once more.