The Importance of Teaching Your Pup to Play Alone

Merritt Milam | September 3, 2022

At first glance, the title might indicate that playing with your dog is not encouraged…. far from it. While it is important for people to have pet bonding time, it is just as important to develop your furry friend’s ability to manage time on their own. By teaching your pet solo play, or how to play alone, they will build confidence and reduce their stress and anxiety when left at home by themselves.

Playtime for all dogs is important. It provides much-needed physical exercise and stimulates their mental and emotional health. It’s also essential for pets that need to be left alone during the day, like when the summer routine is suddenly interrupted by the back-to-school routine. Dogs not prepared for solo play may exhibit anxiety and unwanted behaviors when left alone for long periods.


Here are some valuable tips to help your dog handle their alone time through solo play.


The Solo Play Routine

Like eating and sleeping, playtime should be a routine for your pet – both with family and as a solitary activity. Establishing a solo play routine is the first step toward teaching your pet the skills needed to effectively handle their time alone.

Start with providing a variety of safe pet toys appropriate for their size and age. Plush fabric and squeaky toys are good because the feel and noise stimulate their senses. Interactive toys and pet puzzles are great ways to entertain and develop mental skills. These usually provide a small treat as a reward for solving the puzzle.

Over time your pet may lose interest in a toy, just like children do with their toys. Rotate the lesser played items with a new toy to keep them engaged in solo play. For their safety, health, and well-being, always make sure you inspect and clean their toys regularly. Damaged toys can be a choking hazard if swallowed.


Additional Considerations

In addition to providing toys for your dog’s time alone, adding soft background sounds from the radio or TV can be calming and reassuring. Also, consider crate training for your pet. Most dogs like an enclosed space to make them feel comfortable and safe. Adding an old piece of clothing with your scent is a good way to comfort them while you are away, too.


Training For Success

An important part of teaching any dog a new routine or skill is training. Your involvement in this activity is critical to building their confidence and trust, whether to handle solo play or life experiences in general. Now, with our exciting collaboration with Roverchase, Wags offers stress-free, science-based training for your dog. Our Family Dog Levels classes are a modern and convenient way to attend group classes with your dog. No need to clear your schedule for a lengthy course, our classes are perfect for the busy pet parent who wants the best for their furry friend. For more information and a class schedule list, visit our training website.


Happy Back-to-School!