Most days pass in a fairly ho-hum way for dogs. There is the early morning ritual of waking up and stretching in preparation for a walk to go potty and release some energy. Then, it is usually back home for a tasty breakfast and hopefully another walk as a potty break before the rest of the family leaves the house and heads to work or school. At this point, a typical dog’s day tends to consist of lounging about and finding ways to pass the time until a dog walker arrives midday and then the family returns in the late afternoon or early evening.
But, what exactly is your dog doing while you are away? When we hang out at home, we can pass the time with reading, surfing the internet, watching TV, or spring cleaning. But, what does a dog do with all this time on their paws?
You can be a hi-tech dog detective and set up a video or camera system such as the Panasonic Pet Cam, Liveline.com, Sun Security Pet System or the Pet’s Eye View which attaches to your dog’s collar. These, and other devices like them, allow you to watch your dog (or cat) like a hawk through the internet or even your phone.
A dog who has been aided in developing the ability to self-pacify and rest calmly and quietly when left alone, will probably do just that. But, a monitoring system will give you a detailed understanding of your dog’s daily routine. This information can be useful in helping you make their time alone safer, more enjoyable and enriched. Maybe you’ll find that your dog is most active at a specific time and that can be when you can schedule a walker to come for a visit. You might find that your dog is most prone to nest in a specific area of the home. In which case, you can add to their enrichment by focusing on that area. Hiding food stuffable toys and safe chew toys is a great way for your dog to use their natural hunting instinct in a safe and positive way.
These monitoring devices can provide an added level of comfort when you leave your dog home alone, the instant gratification of watching your dog rest or play while you are away, and potentially valuable information in regards to your dog’s behavior. Scientists who study dog behavior keep detailed notes on the specifics of what they see. You can do the same as a way of better understanding your dog and as a valuable asset if you need to resolve a behavior issue.
I recently worked with a client whose neighbors were complaining about her dog barking. After setting up a video camera she saw that her dog was indeed barking throughout the day. Oddly, it was happening at intervals of about every two hours when the dog would run to the front door and begin to bark for approximately 5 minutes. She chatted with her doorman about this who let her know that one of her neighbors on her floor headed out every couple of hours. She added a tape recorder to her hi-tech dog detective tools and lo and behold, there was banging on her door just prior to each barking outburst. It seems she had a neighbor who didn’t want dogs allowed in the building.
Hi tech tools can certainly aid in being a dog detective. However, you should also be observant of your dog’s behavior when you are around. See each interaction with your dog as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of who they are and what you can do to provide them with all they need to be as healthy and happy as possible.