If you’re a dog owner who works long hours each day or has a busy lifestyle, you may worry about leaving your dog home alone. Or you may simply wonder what they get up to all day.
Dog owners are putting a lot more thought into creating an enriched home environment for their canine companions. Like many dogs, your pooch may even sleep for much of the day, but there are always options to make sure your pet has some fun when home alone.
Create a home environment full of fun
Dogs left home alone all day need things to occupy their minds and their mouths. This means providing toys, chews and comfortable places to snooze. Some dogs also enjoy space to romp around. Before leaving your dog home alone, it's always best to ensure they are well exercised.
A good chew toy can be fun and some dogs can spend hours on one. Dogs also like challenges or puzzles like finding hidden food or a favourite toy. Food releasing toys help occupy your dog and can be especially useful for dogs who dislike being separated from their owner or who are noisy barkers. Purina Total Care has a whole range of toys to keep dogs occupied. Rotate these around to keep your dog interested and, if you leave them alone with your dog, remove them when you come home again.
Dogs love to play with their owners and enjoy games such as fetch, hide and seek or canine sports such as agility and fly-ball. Even when you are home, it’s not always possible to be entertaining your dog, so it can be handy to keep your dog occupied with fun toys like the Purina TotalCare Stuff n Tuff. It provides a wide range of games, and is great for dogs that like to chew a lot. Read more about the importance of pet play here.
While you are out, your dog will snooze for at least part of the day. Provide a cool spot in summer and a warm spot in winter for them to sleep, and make sure they are comfortable with a suitable bed. Check out Purina's Petlife range of bed including the odour resistant bed; the tear, chew and flea resistant bed and the seasonal bedding range
Most dogs enjoy the company of other dogs and there are now many off-leash parks for dogs to meet and greet and to burn off their energy. Contact your local council for parks near you. You can even arrange a play date for your dog with dogs in your neighbourhood.
If your dog needs more canine company, then doggie day care may be a good option. Depending on where you live, and how much you want to spend, you can find anything from basic day care services which offer supervised play, to those that provide obedience training, canine sports and even luxurious canine spa services.
Your dog can also be cared for in-home. While many owners only consider this for holiday care, dog walkers and in-home carers may be an option for keeping your dog company while you are at work.
Your dog's lifestyle influences his behaviour. Regular walks or play periods with your dog and giving him the attention and praise from you that he craves will make your dog’s life fun and stimulating. A happy dog is less likely to develop annoying behaviour problems.
About Dr Joanne Righetti
Dr Joanne Righetti is an animal behaviourist, educating the public and professionals in all aspects of the human–animal relationship. Her background is in zoology, with a PhD in animal behaviour and a counselling diploma – qualifications which enable her to work with all sorts of animals – including the human variety! Joanne likes to help pet owners understand their pet's behaviour and solve any pet behaviour problems. She also consults to a variety of organisations including non-profit organisations, commercial companies and councils and is involved in a variety of media including regular spots on radio. Joanne is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. Find out more about Joanne at www.petproblemsolved.com.au