Leaving a Dog Alone for 8 Hours – Top 10 Fun Games Your Dogs Will Love
How many times we have felt that pang of guilt when we get ready to leave our buddy home for long hours without anyone to look after him? How many times we have wondered about ways which could help our furry friend entertain himself alone for long hours? Well, no need to despair any longer because we have compiled a list of ten things just for you and your dog. These things will keep your buddy entertained and productively occupied when you are away at work.
10 things that will keep your dog engaged
1. Play with Toys
If modern lifestyle has brought with it the cons of long distance commutes it has also brought the pros of technically enhanced products. With advances in science and technology you are no longer confined to giving your dog a tennis ball as a toy always. Today, there are a number of choices when it comes to dog toys. The market is full of chew toys, puzzle toys, treat dispensing toys and what not. Here is a list of toys to help you choose one for your doggy friend:
Kong toys: These toys can ideally be filled with some semi-solid treat like peanut butter or Kong’s own delicacies for the dog to enjoy at a leisurely pace. You can freeze the toy before giving it to your dog for extending the enjoyment hours.
Starmarks’ Bob-a-lot: This is a treat dispensing toy that drops treats when it is touched. You can also adjust the openings to increase the difficulty level so that your dog is occupied for long hours.
Seek-a-treat puzzle toy: This toy will make your dog think of different ways to get the treat. It will keep him mentally stimulated and he will get treats as rewards for solving the puzzle.
Chewable toys from Greenies: Chewable toys not only help fulfill the urge of dogs to chew on something but special dental chew toys also help clean their teeth and keep their breath fresh.
Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours will not seem like a problem when you have these toys. In order to keep the dog’s interests alive each day, try to rotate these toys. Do not give the same toy every day. Also, remember to clean the toys after use, especially the treat dispensing toys. This way you can use them for long term and also keep things hygienic and safe for your dogs.
2. Go on a Treasure Hunt
You can also create your own toy or game if you have the time. You can take a basket and stuff it with toys and other interesting things which your dog loves. It will keep him busy for hours as he will take out one thing at a time and explore it and have fun. Things you can stuff are toys, treats, balls, rope toys and so on.
You can also create small treasure hunt games for your buddy by hiding his treats in safe places. He will have a mentally stimulating time trying to find his treats. You can place them inside his bedding, under the sofa cushions and so on.
3. Watch TV
You can keep the TV turned on while you are gone. You can tune in to a channel that your dog usually likes to watch like Animal Planet. This will have two advantages. Firstly, it will keep him occupied and secondly, it will keep him distracted from outside noises. This will make him bark less at every harmless sound he hears. This in turn will also keep your neighbors happy.
4. Go on a walk with Dog Walker
Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours or more is generally not recommended for any dog. Small dogs and puppies cannot hold their nature’s call for that long because of their small bladders. Secondly, dogs are social beings and remaining alone for too long is not their natural way of living. They live in packs and thrive on companionship. Thirdly, bigger dogs have lots of energy and remaining idle for such a long time might make them expend their energy in the wrong direction like towards your sofa or boots!
In order to overcome these problems use the services of a dog walker. A Dog walker can add one more walk to the daily walking routine of your dog. If using a dog walker daily seems a bit expensive, then you can combine 2-3 methods together. You can call a dog walker for a couple of days a week. For another 2 days you can ask a friend or a neighbor to walk your dog in the afternoon. On other days you can ask a friend who has a dog to walk your dog too when she takes her dog for a walk. You can in return walk her dog on weekends and holidays.
5. Have a Pet Sitter
Call a pet sitter, if possible, once a week to give a break to the weekly routine of your pet. The pet sitter will play with your dog, give him food, take him for a walk and might also bathe and brush him if required. You can find some good pet sitter around your locality through the online resource Pet sitters. Make sure to take a look at their tips of hiring a pet sitter before you decide to hire one.
6. Go to Doggy Day Care
Another professional option is to send the dog to a day care center. Day care centers are great if they have trained personnel to take care of your dog and vast open and clean space to put up your dog. Evaluate the option of day care very carefully before sending your dog there.
The downsides of sending your dog to a day care are illnesses, injuries, changed behavior to name a few. A recent blog published on The Globe and mail carefully outlines all the pros and cons of doggy day cares which would be worth a read before you make your decision.
Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours will look easy if the dog spends most of that time sleeping. According to American Kennel club, dogs sleep on an average 12-14 hours a day. The sleep pattern and amount would also depend upon age, health, and breed and activity level of the dog. Hence if you can take your dog for an hour’s play before leaving for work and exhaust him, then in most probability he will spend half of the day sleeping. Apart from keeping him away from mischief and boredom, this high level of activity will also be good for him physically, emotionally and mentally.
8. Listen to Music
Recent studies have shown that music has a calming effect on dogs. They tend to bark less and behave less aggressively when they hear music. There is a wide selection of music you can pick for your dog. Studies also show that running same kind of music again and again will not show any positive effect. It is only when music is changed or music type is changed that dogs respond positively. You can select different type of music and let it run for your dog. It will be a good pass time for him for a couple of hours and might also induce him into sleep.
9. Have another Dog Friend
Like Humans feel less lonely when they have a companion, similarly dogs might also feel better when they a dog companion. But before you go ahead and adopt another pet make sure that your dog’s temperament suits this idea. Leaving two dogs home alone for long hours is equivalent to leaving your dog in a day care without any supervision. Evaluate your pros and cons very carefully before you make a decision.
10. Have a Human Friend Over
Instead of adopting a dog, you can ask one of your friends who have a dog to come over and let the two dogs play together. This will give your dog some supervised playtime and will help decrease his boredom. Even if your friend does not have a pet dog you can invite him to just house sit. While he works at his computer or watches TV your dog will feel comforted by his presence.
Now, that you know that your dog can be happily busy in your absence you can also enjoy your day without worrying too much. You can also leave for work feeling relaxed and you will notice that this positive change in your attitude is also helping your dog cope with loneliness better. According to Dog psychologist and trainer Cesar Millan, Dogs react to our energy, hence if we radiate positive energy our dogs will also react positively. Keeping that in mind take care of a few things listed below before leaving a dog alone for 8 hours or more
Leaving a Dog Alone for 8 Hours Things to Take Care
- Train your dog sufficiently so that he adjusts well to your routine
- Don’t make good byes or hellos long or dramatic
- Don’t leave tempting things such as dustbins, laundry bags within his easy reach
- Always test toys in your presence before leaving your dog alone with them
- Don’t leave your dog alone for too long (like more than 8 hours)
- Always leave happily and with a positive frame of mind
Now, that you have prepared the ground both physically and emotionally, leaving your dog home alone will not look like an uphill task any more. You can look forward to seeing a less messy home when you return. No more chewed up carpet or disturbed neighbors or an unhappy dog. Come home to your bundle of joy and spend the remaining hours of the day enjoying each other’s company to the maximum!