Behavior Tip of the Month
Those must be dreaded times for a lot of our dogs. Now that my Therapy Dog, Lara is working her therapy magic on my sister and her family in Potomac, Maryland, I too now have an "only" dog. When I leave, I do feel guilty. Here are a few ideas to help them pass through those tough, boring hours when theyre alone with nothing to do.
My other Therapy Dog, Ryan is the one home alone. Ive tried to keep him busy, even when Im not there. Here are some suggestions that might keep your dog from going stir-crazy in your absence:
1. Get a dog door and allow your dog access to at least one room in your house (hopefully, dog-proofed). Leave a few knotted, smelly (of you) old underwear items on the floor. At least hell have your smell and a part of the comforting house, even if he cant have you! On the other side of the dog door, if hes a puppy (up to 4 years old in large breeds), build him a shaded dog run so he can potty outside, not inside. If hes not destructive, he can have the whole yard. Well discuss a digging pit in a future month.
2. Get him a few activity toys that will keep him busy while you are gone. A Buster Cube or activity ball is great. They are plastic hollow toys and you put your dogs dry kibble breakfast in one of them. You can adjust the opening to let the kibble come out slowly as your dog bats the cube or ball around. The cube is my favorite, but sound-sensitive and touch-sensitive animals are afraid of it. They (and cats) may prefer the ball. Your dog gets his breakfast toy when you leave the house. A Tuffy-Kong toy is also great. Its a hollow rubber toy that you can stuff with something. If your dog gets a mixture of dry kibble and wet food for breakfast, perfect. Make it the night before and stuff it into the Kong toy. Then put the Kong into the freezer. When you are about to leave the next day, take out your dogs Kong toy from the freezer and give it to him either outside or in the kitchen. You dont need his melted breakfast all over your carpeting. Hell spend many hours trying to get his breakfast out of the Kong toy. Good! This gives him something constructive to do. He doesnt need to eat out of a bowl. He needs the stimulation of working to get his food. Make his time alone rewarding for him.
Next month, we will discuss other activities that will keep your dog happy and busy (constructively) while you are away.
Woofs and Wags,
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
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It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.