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Playing dog

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re at Work

Dogs need physical and mental stimulation to stay fit, healthy and happy. Physical activity can be walking, running or playing with your dog But letting them sniff on the walk, obedience training or attempting to get treats out of a toy is a great way to promote mental stimulation too. A dog who lacks stimulation and activity often ends up with separation anxiety and can lead to destructive behaviour such as chewing shoes and destroying furniture.  We have a few suggestions on how to keep your dog entertained while you’re at work for the day or leaving your house for long periods of time.  

Here Are Some Easy Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy At Home:

1. The Hidden Treats in Toys and Around the House

There are so many creative ways you can keep your dog entertained while at home. You can purchase different treat puzzles, so they have to work to get their treats or even a meal by solving the different sections. Kongs are another great toy that you can stuff full of tasty treats or serve a meal in for your dog to enjoy and take their time with getting their food out. Freezing the Kong makes for an extra challenge too and it will take longer for your dog to get their food.  

2. Enrichment Games For Your Dog While You’re Away 

Enrichment games are fantastic for providing mental stimulation for your dog. Freezing a Kong full of tasty treats or even their meal is a great way to keep them occupied for a long time as it provides an extra challenge. You can also freeze a bowl of water or bone broth with a treat hidden inside so they have to melt the ice to get to their treat, this is great for a hot summer's day too.  

3. Take Them For A Long Walk Or A High Energy Activity Before You Leave For The Day 

To keep your dog happy at home, taking them for a big walk or play at the park to start the day will give them physical and mental stimulation to help them stay calm and relax at home afterwards. If you can’t commit to this every day, then a dog walker or even a pet sitter  is a great option to consider on those busy times in your life.  

4. Consider A Friend Playdate 

If you have friends with other dogs and they get along well together then you could have a playdate for them every once and a while to break up the week or for those busy times in your life. Your dogs can play and hang out together all day. 

5. Enrichment Games To Play With Your Dog 

If you can’t get outside for an early walk due to the weather or don’t have time, then there are lots of different enrichment activities you can set up for your dog at home before you leave for the day. Puzzle toys and Kongs are great but there are other games that play on their scent work and use mental stimulation to solve problems.  Here are some tricks you can teach and play with your dog:

A New Trick 

Most dogs love attention from you and want to please their master, by teaching a new trick it works out their mind just as much as physical activity can. If you want to teach your dog some new tricks or need assistance with obedience training have a look at our Pet Parenting courses.  

  • Research the trick you would like to teach your dog. 
  • Have some tasty treats ready for rewards. 
  • Lots of praise and end on a fun and positive note. 

The ‘which hand’ game 

  • Place a treat in one of your hangs, close your firsts and hold them out in front of your dog. 
  • Let your dog sniff your hands and choose what hand it's in. 
  • When they choose open correctly, open your hand and give them the treat.

Muffin tin puzzles 

  • Using a muffin baking tin, tennis balls and dog treats place the treats in a couple of tins and cover the holes with tennis balls.
  • Give the puzzle to your dog and let them explore by moving the balls to find the treats hidden underneath.
  • Each time you play you can change the location of the treats to keep your dog's mind stimulated.

The cup game 

  • Using three to four cups, place a treat under one of the cups. 
  • Let your dog sniff around and discover which cup holds the treat. 
  • When your dog chooses the right cup, reveal the treat and praise them. 

The box search game 

  • Using empty cupboard boxes, put several boxes on the floor. 
  • Place a treat inside one or more of the boxes while your dog isn’t in the room. 
  • Bring your dog into the room and let them search for the box that has the treat inside. 
  • When they paw or nudge the correct box, reveal the treat and give them lots of praise.

Mental exercises for your dog can be just as stimulating as physically getting out of the house for a walk or play. Just like us, dogs need a balance of physical and mental exercise.  There are so many ways to keep your dog entertained indoors, from obstacle courses, training, enrichment games, scent work and puzzles.  You may also consider investing in an indoor camera set up where you are able to spy on your dog while you’re away to see what they are up to and help ease your own anxiety with leaving them at home. We hope this gives you some inspiration on how to keep your dog entertained while you’re at work.    

If you need further support you can speak with our PetPA experts or access our education resources for further assistance.   

Shop at Your PetPA online store for these vets’ recommended brands and treats. Thriving Pets+ members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. 

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