Last week’s post dealt with some of the basics that you need to take care of in order to avoid separation anxiety. Today’s post presents some ideas that are easy to implement before you leave home, to keep your dog entertained while you’re away.
For us, leaving an ox stick with Nix when we leave home is a must if we know we’re going to be away for a long time (four hours or more). I’m not sure how effective they are, because she eats them really fast, but at least she is very entertained for a while.
Whenever Nix is left alone for more than half an hour, we always make sure that she has a chew bone around. She does not always chew them when left alone, but at least she has the option if she feels like eating (or chewing!) something.
We also leave plenty of toys around, especially around areas where we know that Nix is more like to cause destruction (the main door).
Manel tried this one day he had to leave Nix alone the whole morning. He decided to hide some of her food around the house around various places. He didn’t tell her to search for the food specifically, but she saw him hiding it. It was quite successful: when he came back, she had found and eaten them all. I do wonder, though, how fast she found it.
I think this is a very interesting option, as dogs get tired by using their noses and it is a very natural exercise for them.
Fill a Kong with Food
This is a kind of mixture of the previous two options. By filling a Kong with food, and doing so in a way that it’s difficult for the dog to get the food out, will keep the dog entertained for a long time. Some people freeze the Kongs overnight to increase the difficulty and also to relieve the pain of puppies who are growing their teeth.
We’ve tried leaving the Kong with food inside, but never in a way that was difficult enough to get the food out. I should probably do some research, which will also help put the Kong to good use.
DogTV may be another interesting option if your dog enjoys watching TV. Early on we thought that Nix might be one of these dogs, as on her first day home she seemed very curious about the TV, but while I was preparing the post we decided to give it a try, and below you can see the result:
As you can see, she was more interested in taking a nap at Manel’s feet than watching the TV. I tried moving in front of the TV, but her gaze kept following me and did not pay attention to the dogs on screen.
However, the fact that Nix ignores it does not mean that other dogs may not actually enjoy it. If you wish to try it like we did, you can go to DogTV’s YouTube channel and you’ll find several sample videos. The drawback: these samples are very short.
So, what do you usually do to keep your dog entertained while you’re away? Any other ideas?