One of my biggest worries after losing Cricket was how Luke was going to be when left home alone. From the time we brought him home, he’s had siblings to keep him company. Many years ago, we had our beagle Kobi and Lab mix Maggie, and when Maggie died unexpectedly, Kobi completely freaked out the first time we left him home alone. Kobi ended up staying with our neighbors while we worked until we got Cricket to keep him company. That is no longer an option.
I wasn’t completely panicked, since I had left Luke home alone on more than one occasion when I had to bring Cricket to the vet. I left him with a Kong full of treats and peanut butter, and we were not gone long so he was OK. But I also worry that he knows things are different now.
While I am still mostly working from home, I do have go to the office to pick up work and spend a short time there. Initially, my times to be gone coincided with the Dadz being home, but eventually the day came where we both had to be gone. I try to keep my time away as short as possible while we see how he does.
I had a couple treat dispensing dog toys, Kongs* of different kinds in the drawer, but I knew I had more somewhere. When we had our two beagles and two golden retrievers, in the beginning they used to each get a Kong filled treat when we left for work. That was until the time Moses decided to steal Kobi’s (thankfully before I even got out the door), and a fight broke out. We ended up doing away with Kongs and each dog just got a crunchy treat when we left. With multiple dogs who sometimes fought over food and treats, we never used them that way again.
When Luke came to us as a puppy, while he was still in a crate, then a small room on his own, he always got a food dispensing toy of some sort to play with. For some reason, I just don’t love the traditional Kongs, maybe because it seems like the dogs could never get everything out of one, or because they’re harder to clean. We had a couple different types* though and they worked well with puppy Luke. One I knew he had outgrown, but the other I had used, and I also was sure we still had the original Kongs too.
I found them at the bottom of the toy box, and I had all of the originals!
I also found something else in there that I was even more excited about – a West Paw Qwizl*. If West Paw made a new Zogoflex toy, I would almost always bring one home (we sold them at the store we used to work at). A lot of them got played with initially but then Luke grew bored with them, and Cricket was mostly only interested in the balls. Therefore, the Qwizl was like brand new, and when I tossed it out of the box, Luke immediately grabbed it and started playing with it.
I love it because it’s much easier to clean than the other treat toys we’ve had, with just a long brush I can swish it right out. So far, Luke has been left with that and when I go out the door, he’s not even paying attention to me anymore. I’ve been gone probably a couple hours at the most, and though he seems maybe a little more wound up and excited when I get home, I think he’s been OK. There are no signs around the house that he’s stressing out. Hopefully by the end of the month when we’re supposed to go visit our grand-kids, I’ll be less worried about leaving him until my sister arrives to stay with him.
I’m going to try some of West Paw’s other treat dispensing toys too. I could have sworn I had the Tux, but couldn’t find it, so maybe I gave that one away. Luke is a tough chewer, so that’s a consideration too. Most Zogoflex toys have held up to our tough chewers, and I feel good about the fact that they are made in the USA and are eco-friendly.
Do you do something special to occupy your dog or dogs when you leave them home alone?