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Having a smart dog has endless benefits. He keeps you entertained with his endless creative tactics. He amazes you with the things he does. However, if he has to be home alone for hours while you work, that intelligence can quickly lead to boredom which can cause problem behaviors like destruction or barking. To help keep clever pup happy when he is alone, follow these tips:

More Exercise! The first step in keeping your pup happy and content during the day is to make sure he has had adequate exercise before you leave. Making time before work can be hard but can you imagine waking up full of energy for the day, and then, having to sit around with no TV, no cell phone, no computer and no way to exercise? How long until you would get frustrated? Your dog feels the same way! Most dogs need at least a 45 min walk or run in the morning. If that is impossible, give him as long of a workout as possible while he wears a weighted doggy back pack. The extra weight will help tire him out. Also, sending him to doggy daycare or getting a dog walker a few times a week will not only make him more content but could also save you tons of money in replacing your furniture or landscaping.

Where’s breakfast? Making mealtime fun and engaging is a great way to keep your dog entertained. Instead of watching him devour his meal in a few seconds, you can put his kibble in a food cube, KONG Wobbler or similar product. You can also hide his food in little bowls around the house so he has to “hunt” for his breakfast. For the real food hounds, just spread his kibble in the kitchen or back patio and he will spend the morning making sure he has found every last crumb. Finally, you can combine his kibble with some wet food, put the mixture in a few KONGS or other hollow rubber toys then freeze them. Give the food stuffed toys to him the next morning and, presto, hours of entertainment.

Toy Time! Having toys to play with is fun for your dog but if all of his toys are always available, your dog will get bored with them. Pretty soon, your shoes will become more fun to play with then his silly old ball. However, if you rotate his toys so he gets to play with different ones all the time, it will help to keep him happy during the day. You can also hide his toys around the house or yard. He will then spend time “hunting” for his rabbit while you are at work. Many pet stores also sell engaging, interactive toys for smart dogs. Nina Ottosson has a great line of products that promise to entertain for your gifted four legged pup.