Beating Boredom and Barking

If you are going to leave your dog unsupervised while you are out of the house for long periods, you want to think about ways to keep them busy.


Dogs love nothing more than whiling away the day chomping on a big juicy bone.  Bake the bone for a few minutes in the oven to stop them trying to bury the bone.  The best place to get bones is the local butcher.  If the bones are too big for your dog, ask them to saw into pieces for you.

If you don’t have a local butcher, your local supermarket probably has some bones, just ask someone at the meat counter.  Soup bones and marrow bones are also good choices. 

We also like compressed rawhide treats.  We find it last much longer than regular rawhide.


There are a range of dog toys and puzzles available at most pet stores. The kong is a favorite among our dogs.  This ingenious toy has a treat hidden inside and our dogs happily spend hours trying to get the treat out.

You don’t have to buy anything fancy, be creative with what you already have.  An old childs squeaky toy may capture your dog’s imagination.  An old jar of peanut butter with a few scrapings of peanut butter left in it will keep your dog occupied for hours.


One downside of leaving your dog outside more often is that they may get into the habit of barking. This can be a hard habit to train your dog out of because the problem usually occurs when you are away from the dog. One good option is an anti bark collar. These devices first warn the dog after they bark then proceed to give them an escalating correction as they continue barking. Dog’s that have been trained on a dog fence will usually learn not to bark quickly with the help of one of these collars.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

tina May 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

We are installing the Innotek 2000 in our yard for our beagle and golden. We also have a 10lb Yorkie who is an escape artist. Is that too much for her? I purchased the set long before I had her and only really had to worry about our beagle following his nose out of the yard. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Tina, I believe the correction would be too much for the Yorkie. The fence unfortunately has only 1 correction level so you don’t have any options to work with.

louise April 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

What age should a dog be to start fence training?

ADMIN – Hi Louise,

Six months old is generally the youngest we start training. Pups under six months, don’t tend to have the ability to focus for long enough times to do the training. You can start a couple of months earlier if the dog is particularly mature, a good measure is if they can do a “sit”, “stay”, and “come” reliably. For all other dogs, I would wait until they are at least 6 months of age.

Kari Aker July 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Your website is the most informative I have come across regarding all of the options of dog containment. Thank you so much.

Debbie June 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

We have 2 untrained Border collie/Australian shepherd puppies approx 3 months old. They don’t even respond to their names but we do plan to get serious with those basics very soon. They are outside dogs and we want to install an electric fence to give them ample running room -(considering the Innotek IUC-4100) are they too young/small and/or will their lack of basic training pose a problem? They weigh approx 10 & 13 pounds.

ADMIN – Hi Debbie,

I think they are too young to start. We usually make customers wait until they are over six months to start training. Earlier than six months, most dogs don’t have the attention span to handle the training. This makes the process take longer than is necessary and is frustrating to both of you.

The only exception is if a dog is particularly advanced and can confidently do a sit/stay/come. But, it doesn’t sound like your are quite there.

You should have an easy time of training them at six months, herding breeds tend to be wicked smart!

Karen Cavallo October 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I have a 2 year old German Shepherd who goes wild everytime my neighbor, and his two little dogs, step out into their backyard. I have a four foot picket fence that he practically jumps over when they’re out. I want to install the wired fence just along the side of the house that borders my neighbor. He would have free range over the rest of the backyard, I just want to prevent him from jumping the fence and terrorizing my neighbor.

What would you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Karen,

I’d recommend installing an Innotek IUC 4100 fence using the single-sided boundary method. We have a great illustration on our planning page on how to create a boundary just on the back fence line: (You’ll need to scroll down the page)

Kim Kirk December 18, 2009 at 9:46 am

We have a 10 lb, almost 1 year old snoodle. I am considering an electric fence and have a few questions.
I know you have the petsafe system for small dogs but I sure would like something with a rechargeable battery. Can you buy small dog collars separately for any the other rechargable battery systems or is the petsafe system my best bet?
My husband and I have no electrical background. I think we can handle renting the trencher and doing the holes but I am concerned about setting up the box etc. If the box needs to go inside the garage, how do we get the plug through into the house? Does it just plug into an outlet? Does it come with the stuff to secure it to the wall?
Can you leave the collar on all the time except when you take the dog off your property and maybe at night?
Thanks, Kim

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

Afraid, if you have a dog under 10lb you either need to get the dog some steroids or get the PetSafe Little Dog. The PetSafe Little Dog collar does not work with any rechargeable Innotek systems, only other PetSafe. You could give the Innotek a try, you are pretty close to the border line … if it is too big it will be immeadiately obvious and you can just return it.

Most of the systems come with two mounting screws and wall plugs for you to attatch the control box to the wall. You just plug it into a regular wall socket. If you don’t have one nearby, you can either run an extension cord from the nearest outlet to the box, or mount the box near the outlet and run the boundary wire outside from the outlet.

Most people leave the collar on all day and then take it off at night.

Bruce August 24, 2009 at 11:13 am

We have two Golden Retrievers that love to chew on deer antlers. Our dogs, especially our 125 lb. male Golden, will chew through a rawhide or soup bone in no time. Deer antlers can last for years, plus they are a good source of calcium. I went to the local butcher who also processes deer during deer season and asked him to save antlers for me. The only drawback is that the dogs can chew the antler tines down to some pretty sharp points, so best advice is to pick them up frequently so they don’t get stepped on, or better yet, train the dog to put them away when they’re finished. We have a plastic tool box with lid removed in our living room that the dogs keep their antlers in. We’re working on training them to pick up their chews.

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