My dogs mean the world to me and make my day every time I come home after a day of clinics. With that in mind, I don’t want my crazy schedule to have a detrimental effect on them when I’m gone, so I have worked hard to come up with a plan to keep them busy when I’m not there.
First, I turned my living room into a safe play area for them. I don’t want them stuck in a crate all day, but given that two of them are under 7 months old, giving them free reign of my apartment is not an option for either their safety nor the safety of my things.
After ensuring the environment was safe, I started putting together a collection of food toys for them to enjoy while I’m gone. My dogs rarely eat from a food bowl. When they do, the food is gone in 5 minutes and then they don’t have anything to do. I fill treat balls with kibble so that while I’m gone they can roll them around and get their meals that way. In addition, I have a collection of Kongs and ever-lasting treat toys that I take every night and fill with a mixture of canned food, chicken, and kibble. Once they are filled, I freeze them so that instead of being gone in under 10 minutes, it gives my pups something to work on for a while that is yummy.
I also like to take a spare water bowl and freeze layers of water, canned food, kibble, treats, etc, together so it gives them something to work on that keeps them interested. My miniature American Shepherd likes to shred things, so another cheap and fun idea I use for her is taking empty cereal boxes and putting treats and kibbles in them and taping them closed. She loves to shred the boxes to get to the good surprises inside. It does leave my living room covered in cardboard, but it is worth it knowing my dog is entertained while I’m gone.