Home Alone: 4 Ideas For Keeping Doggo Busy

italian geryhound playg indoors

OK, guys, I think that those who say that they feel nothing when leaving their doggos alone at home are lying. Yes yes yessss, lying – first to themselves and then to everyone around. Who could feel absolutely indifferent of leaving those lovely creatures all by themselves? No-Bo-Dy. 

Unfortunate as it is, the world we live can be quite cruel, so our furriends have to face the reality and learn to spend some time alone. But this could actually be turned to a quality time if planned well.

In previous blog post I told the story of how we dealt with Harvey staying alone (the worst experience everrr). And this article is to share 4 ideas of how I kept Harvey busy (for like… 20 minutes…Uhm…), what actually paid off and what didn’t work at all.

Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by any manufacturers mentioned below. All is based on personal experience. If you’d like to get the exact links to the listed items, please reach out to me, I’ll be more than glad to share those individually! Otherwise, please look for the generic names – you’ll find a lot of different products online or in your local pet store.

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Best of the best!

1. Treat dispensing ball

It’s perfect choice if you don’t keep your dog in a crate as the dog needs to walk around and roll the ball to take the treats out.

Based on the type of a ball you can increase the difficulty. Furriend has to put some effort to turn the ball upside down and get treats out. The only downside is that this ball being quite heavy is pretty loud when smashed on a floor :) To save your nerves, leave the doggo alone while playing with it.

2. Sniffing Mat

Made from a soft material with a stiff base, sniffing mat stimulates the sense of smell. I used this one for all breakfast until the moment we switched to raw diet. It goes like this – we’re leaving home to work and put all the breakfast kibble on this sniffing mat. It takes 10-15 minutes to sniff & eat it all.

Oh, and the good thing is that you can easily make this mat at home! Stay tuned for a video tutorial @harvoola Insta feed soon!

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3. Frozen goods stuffed toys

These are life savers when you don’t have standard treats/kibble and you need to keep your doggo busy. I got few sizes of Kong toys (I used this brand but there are quite some similar ones you can try – the most important thing is safety. You have to be sure the material the toy is made of is high quality and can’t be chewed).

Simply stuff any dog canned food (could be mixed with kibble or treats) and put it in a freezer. It’s alright not to have it frozen, yet having it frozen prolongs the time it takes to lick all stuffing out.

It could as well go with any frozen dog-friendly foods such as yogurt, mashed sweet potato & peanut butter mix, etc.

4. Lick Mat

Well, this was a blast once I discovered it after starting feeding Harvey raw two years ago! Lick mat is a type of a slow feed tray. You can spread treats or kibble on it and it will take slightly longer for a dog to eat his meal. Or you could elevate it to a next level by covering it with canned food or minced raw meat, mashed banana, you name it aaaand put it in a freezer.

This doesn’t require too much of a brain work yet it takes time to lick everything clean. Work it work it, tongue!

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Besides these top toys, there is something that didn’t work for Harvey

Deer Antlers

Though this is the best chew ever (safe, smell-less, long lasting) it somehow didn’t stick when Harvey was left alone. No motivation to chew it…

Dog food balls

The ones where the treats are too hard to take out demotivated Harvey. The challenge was simply too big so he used to leave treats in there only half eaten.

Dried & natural dog chews (beef, chicken, etc. parts)

I always have some of those at Harvey’s snack drawer. It’s tasty, healthy and he simply loves them but I’m just too worried he might choke on that (might be that I’m just overthinking things :)), so I don’t leave him unattended with majority of these chews. Better safe than sorry!

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Oh, and I have some ideas to share of the brain activating games to play AT HOME! Check them out in another blog post here :) 


Do you use something else for keeping your dogs busy? Please share in the comments, some new ideas for a change would be perfect!

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