If you’re lucky enough to have a dog, you know that nothing can make you feel more guilty than their look of disappointment anytime you do something without them. However, as much as we want to hang out with them all day, somebody has to pay the bills. Whether you have to go into the office or someone scheduled a Zoom call during walk time, we have five ingenious ideas for keeping canines entertained and out of trouble while you attend to human things.

Keep Toys in Rotation

Rotating what toys your dog plays with will help keep even the oldest squeakers “new” and exciting. Only put out a few toys at a time and rotate them every week or so. If your pup has a favorite that happens to also be the loudest, save it for times when you’ll be out of the house so they can get lost in squeaky bliss and you can keep your sanity.

Use Enrichment Toys

Enrichment toys keep your pup’s mind sharp by giving them an outlet for their natural behaviors. Puzzles are great for giving dogs an opportunity to practice their problem-solving skills in order to find a hidden, high-value treat. You can find a variety of dog puzzles online and at almost any pet store.

You can also purchase or DIY a snuffle mat, which taps into the foraging instincts of their ancestors. Made of a rubber mat with fleece strips tied to it, the loose ends create hiding spots for the treats. Your pooch will love putting their powerful sniffer to use as they explore all the layers to track down the treat.

Most dogs should have at least 20 minutes of enrichment time each day.

Turn on Some Tunes

If your dog watching TV with you, it can be tempting to leave it on when you leave. However, the visual aspect may cause more stress, especially if a pesky squirrel makes an appearance. Music, on the other hand, can provide calming vibes and enough stimulation to keep their mind engaged. Surprisingly, our canine companions have shown that they enjoy jamming out to reggae and soft rock. Remember, though, it’s just background noise and shouldn’t be too loud.

Interactive "Fetch" Machines

There are machines that will play a game of fetch with your best friend while you’re out of the house. These gadgets are especially perfect for those pups who never get tired of playing fetch.

You may need to teach your dog how to place the ball back in the machine but once they get the hang of it, it may become both of your favorite gadgets.

Hide and Seek

If your dog enjoys having the house to themselves (and who can blame them?), leave treats in the areas they are known to frequent, like in their favorite sunny spot or next to their water dish. When they get up to stretch or grab a drink, they’ll be delighted to find a special treat from you!

It’s All About Stimulation

These activities are especially helpful if your dog isn’t always the best boy ever (don’t worry, we won’t tell). Giving your pup an activity to keep their brain busy will leave little time for eating shoes or ripping apart the pillows. The pleasant distraction can also help with separation anxiety. So, you can do what you need to do and your dog will be so entertained they won’t even realize how long you were gone.

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