We can all agree the past few years have been unpredictable. Now that the world is opened back up, that means returning back to work and, unfortunately, not being home with your dogs all day.
As dog trainers and behavior specialists, we have seen an increase in crate anxiety and separation anxiety, especially following the pandemic. Puppies and dogs have become accustomed to someone being home all day, and when they are suddenly alone, it can be stressful for them. Behaviors like destructive chewing, inappropriate elimination, excessive barking, drooling, and even self-harm can increase. However, if you can create a neutral or positive association with your absence, you can decrease those behaviors over time! With patience and consistent training, you can shape calm and relaxed behaviors in your puppy or dog whenever you need to leave home.
One of the ways we can make our absence more positive is by associating that time with our pup’s favorite food, treats, or toys!
Here’s a list of items to introduce to your dog to keep them busy while you’re at work or need to run errands.
Groov Interactive Dog Toy
Groov is a crate training tool that allows you to freeze your dog’s favorite treats directly into the mold. Once frozen, it can be inserted in and latched onto your dog’s crate. It allows for a great opportunity to teach your dog that going into the kennel can be a positive event. Your puppy can lick the Groov until they have eaten the treats, or until they are mentally stimulated and encouraged to take a nap!
BONEHEAD Chew Toy
The BONEHEAD chew toy requires Doggo Dog’s Himalayan Cheese Sticks or other similarly sized bones that are safe for your dog to chew. This toy is designed to hold onto the end of the bone to help your dog, but primarily as a safety precaution to prevent them from choking. It can be dangerous for any dog to chew on edible bones as the bone could become a choking hazard once it is small enough to be swallowed. The BONEHEAD prevents that and makes it easier for your dog to chew.
Lastly, any type of Himalayan Cheese Sticks like these is unique in that you don’t need to throw them away when your dog has whittled them down to 1-2 inches. Instead, you can pop them in the microwave for a few seconds and they turn into what looks like a marshmallow! You don’t have to waste it, and your dog gets a tasty little treat at the end.
LaRoo Frozen Dog Toy
The LaRoo Frozen toys are especially great in the summer or if your dog easily overheats. If they like ice cubes, these can also be a fun alternative toy for them! They are easy to use: fill with water and keep in the freezer for 4 hours. They can be played within the house, in the pool (they float!), and offer benefits such as relieving anxiety, offering mental stimulation, and promoting dental health!
Cheerble Interactive Dog Ball Toy
This fun, interactive toy is called Cheerble and is just one example of a great way to keep your dog occupied and entertained. There are a variety of options for dog ball toys like this one, but the main premise is that once charged, the ball rolls on its own when your dog approaches it. It does not require an app to control it as it will roll, bounce, or shake on its own.
It is not recommended for dogs that are heavy chewers, as the outside can become detached if bitten too hard.
There is an active, normal, and gentle mode for you to switch between to accommodate your dog’s personality and playstyle. The best part is that it will never get stuck under a piece of furniture!
PET ARENA Adjustable Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats are a fun, alternative way to feed your dog their meals and offer a variety of benefits! You can use this instead of a food bowl by sprinkling the dog’s food into the snuffle mat. The kibble will be buried between the fleece material and encourage your dog to use their sense of smell to find each one. This is a great way to both mentally stimulate your dog and force them to eat more slowly, which improves their digestion. The material this particular mat is made of is eco-friendly and most snuffle mats are easy to wash. You can also buy non-slip varieties and adjustable snuffle mats can be altered to suit your dog’s (or cat’s or bunny’s!) size. Snuffle mats come in many varieties, so you can find one to suit your dog and/or your aesthetic!
We hope these suggestions help promote calm behavior in your dog and keep them busy whether you need to get things done around the house, run errands, or go to work. If you are concerned about your dog’s crate anxiety or separation anxiety, contact our behavior specialists today to discuss how we can help your dog as soon as possible.