Dogs sleep about 14 hours per day - but they do not always stay asleep when their owners are out of the house. Dogs are intelligent pack animals that generally do not like being alone or being bored. Bored, lonely dogs quickly find activities to do - such as trashing your house or howling for hours on end. But if a dog is entertained, those hours of being alone will fly by when you are not there.
There are many things a dog owner can do to keep a dog entertained when he is stuck alone at home all day. You can also ask your veterinarian or your dog-owning friends and family members for additional suggestions for your specific dog.
Walk Your Dog
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many dogs do not get daily walks. This leaves them with an excess of energy and nowhere to release this energy - except your house. As the old adage goes, "A tired dog is a good dog." Regular walks, especially before you need to leave the home for hours, can help make the dog tired enough to take a nap. Dogs should be walked until they begin to pant.
Treats and Toys For Alone Time
If a special treat, bone, or toy is given to a dog only when she is to be alone, then the dog has something to look forward to while you are out. My dogs get a long-lasting chew toy. There are frozen treats or treat dispensers available for dogs. You fill the treat with gravy and the dog has a nice gravy-sickle while you are gone. It is important to ONLY give this treat or toy when you are about to go out. Soon, your dog will ignore you jingling your keys as she settles in to chew the treat or toy.
Keep Reminders of You With Your Dog
Some dogs will stop pining for you if you keep an old shirt you recently wore on the dog's bed or in his crate, advises The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs, Dog Breeds and Dog Care (Hermes House; 2005. This worked well for my dog, Pony, when she was an only dog. Both Pony and I slept in the same bed, so she would jump on the bed and more or less stay there, despite having the house to roam through. You can also leave a radio or the television on so the dog can listen to the familiar sound of human voices.
Hire a Dog-Walker
If your dog is hyperactive or just will not settle down, really consider hiring a dog-walker. Another walk can help your dog safely release energy and become tired enough to nap until you arrive home. Contact your vet for recommendations and check out the Professional Dog Walkers Association.
Warning: A Second Dog May Not Work
It's a common misconception that two dogs will keep each other company and out of mischief until you get home. This sometimes does not work. Sometimes a dog will be so upset at being alone that even another dog will not distract her. If a dog is a rescue with a questionable or dog-aggressive past, then it may be dangerous to keep the two dogs together. Training Secrets for Bully Breeds (Bow Tie Press; 2005) notes that two dogs with bulldog bloodlines, such as a pit bull, should never be left alone together unless the both of them are in separate rooms or crates.