If you have dogs, then you likely already know how important it is to make sure that your dogs can be left home alone safely. Dogs that can be left alone will be far less likely to damage furniture, tear up toys, bark endlessly, or otherwise make trouble when their owners are gone.

The following guide will help you learn how to leave your dog at home without having to worry about what you’ll find when you get back.

Your Dog Needs to Get Used to Being Alone

A recent study has shown that dogs have a sense of time, and they react differently when their owner goes back home after a short or long leave. Your dog needs to know that you’re going back, so first start to disappear for short periods, and eventually increase the duration of your leave. This will help your dog not to panic because the owner went missing.

Dog-Proof Your Home

The first thing you need to do to learn how to leave your dog alone is to dog-proof your home. No, you don’t have to wrap everything up in bubble wrap–but a few common-sense changes will help to reduce the chances that your dog will feel tempted to get into trouble while you’re away. Make sure that anything fragile is placed well out of your dog’s reach, and shut doors to rooms where you don’t want your dog to enter.

Give Your Dog Energy Outlets

The most important thing to help create dogs that can be left alone is to look for energy outlets. Dogs need something to do during the day so that they don’t get bored and decide to tear up the couch, pee on the floor, or both!

Energy outlets can include: a place with a window where your dog can sit and look outside; interactive toys for dogs home alone; and leaving a TV or music on so your dog has audio or audio/visual stimulation.

Remember, the longer that you plan on leaving your dog home alone, the more you need to be prepared; if your dog will only be alone for an hour or two, then they will likely need fewer energy outlets than if they need to be home alone all day while you work or run errands.

Make Sure You Have Interactive Toys

Toys for dogs home alone are essential to providing them with both mental stimulation and a physical outlet for their energy. Toys will keep your dogs entertained and help them feel less lonely and stressed while they are alone.

The best types of toys for dogs home alone are those with some type of interactive component since you or another family member won’t be there to play with the dog. There are many different types of interactive toys for dogs that are left alone. Some of the most common types of interactive toys for dogs include:

  • Dog puzzles
  • Toys with hidden treats
  • Electronic moving toys
  • Activity balls
  • Squeaky toys

In addition to the above toys, you can utilize “regular” toys by making them more fun for your dog when they are home alone. For instance, you can hide them, along with a treat, in different dog-friendly areas of the house for your dog to find.

And finally, remember: always rotate your dog’s toys when they are alone so that they don’t get bored and remain stimulated by them.