Article by Matt LeClair
The home can be a lonely place for your dog especially if he or she is the only one there for hours on end. The silence can represent isolation and can bring on feelings of abandonment and may lead to unwanted behaviour. This unwanted behaviour may be a dog's way of getting your attention because they've been deprived of it all day long. In cases like this, your dog may be experiencing what's commonly known as separation anxiety.
So what can you do to prevent poor behaviour brought on by separation anxiety? There are many ways of helping your dog pass the time or stay occupied when left home alone. First, you may want to eliminate the silence that fills your home when no one is around. My wife and I like to leave the radio on when we leave for the day which provides for constant background noise in the house for the dog to hear. What kind of music you play isn't really that important, but we feel that it's best to play music that is generally soft and soothing, or relaxing. It is probably a good idea that you avoid any type of loud clashing, clanging music as this may scare or startle your dog if he or she is not expecting it. If a radio is not available to you, you can also turn on the television. Dogs are often intrigued by the constantly changing pictures and sounds that the television produces, and this may be a great source of entertainment for them throughout the day.
Another great way of keeping your dog occupied during the day is with dog toys. Every dog has a favourite toy or some sort of object that they love to toss in the air, tug on, pull around the room, or whip back and forth in their mouth. Why not make sure that toy is always available for them to play with while you're gone? Chances are they are going to play with it just like they would if you were home with them. It never hurts to have more than one toy available for them so they can have a little variety throughout the day.
Dog treat dispensing toys are also a great source of entertainment for your dogs while you're gone. There are many different styles of treat dispensing toys that you can choose from. Most have an inner compartment that can hold various types of dog treats or other dog healthy snacks. They go crazy when they know that there are treats stashed away in that little compartment and will spend hours trying to get every last one out.
A real live companion might just be one of the best remedies for keeping your dog occupied throughout the day. What can be more fun and entertaining for a dog than another dog, or more dogs, looking to get the same fun and entertainment? Having more than one dog at home helps to eliminate the feeling of loneliness because they have each other to play with and keep each other occupied.
All of the above examples are great ways to keep your dog occupied and free from feelings of loneliness and abandonment, which will also help to prevent unwanted behaviour due to separation anxiety. So next time you come home, if you've chosen to take advantage of some of these tips, you won't have to feel so bad about leaving your furry little friend home alone all day because you know that he or she had plenty of entertainment to stay occupied. This will make your dog happier, and it will make you happier as well.