How to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You Work

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How to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You Work

March 23, 2024 15 min read

As much as we love our canine companions, most of us have to leave them at home while we work. The challenge is to keep our dogs engaged and entertained during these hours to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. This article compiles various strategies to ensure your dog stays happy and active even when you're not around. From creating a stimulating home environment to leveraging technology, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog's tail wagging until you return.

Key Takeaways

  • Rotate your dog's toys regularly to maintain their interest and prevent toy fatigue, ensuring they always have something 'new' to play with.
  • Interactive toys and puzzles can provide mental stimulation for your dog, keeping them engaged and occupied for longer periods.
  • Social interactions, such as playdates, doggie daycare, or hiring a dog walker, can help alleviate loneliness and provide physical exercise.
  • Technological solutions like dog cameras and automated treat dispensers add an element of interaction and reward even when you're away.
  • Maintaining a routine, including morning exercise and a comfortable resting area, can help keep your dog calm and content throughout the day.

Creating a Stimulating Home Environment

Creating a Stimulating Home Environment

Leave the Television On

Leaving the television on for your dog can be a simple yet effective way to provide comfort and stimulation while you're away at work. The sound of human voices and the visuals from the screen can offer a sense of companionship to your furry friend, reducing feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

Many dogs find the ambient noise of a TV calming, especially if it's a program they've seen before or one that features other animals. It's important to keep the volume at a level that's audible for your dog but not disruptive to others, particularly in shared living spaces.

While not a substitute for human interaction, the television can serve as a familiar presence in the home, making your dog feel more secure in your absence.

Remember to consider the content that is playing; nature shows or animal-centric programs can be more engaging for your pet. Additionally, be mindful of any startling sounds or visuals that might upset your dog.

Ensure a View Outside

Providing your dog with a view of the outside world can be a simple yet effective way to keep them entertained. Allowing your dog to observe the daily happenings from a window can offer hours of entertainment. Position your dog's bed or a comfortable blanket near a window with the curtains open or blinds raised, creating a cozy spot for them to relax and watch. If your dog is too small to see out, consider placing a sturdy piece of furniture to serve as a lookout point.

However, it's important to note that this strategy may not be suitable for every dog. If your dog tends to get overly excited or reactive to outdoor stimuli, leading to excessive barking or stress, it might be best to find alternative forms of entertainment. In such cases, engaging dogs with interactive toys, training sessions, and food games can be a more appropriate way to keep their minds active and prevent boredom. DIY enrichment activities are also an affordable and beneficial option for mental stimulation.

Remember, the goal is to provide a peaceful and engaging environment for your dog while you work, ensuring they remain happy and occupied without causing undue stress or disturbance.

Rotate Toys Regularly

Keeping your dog's interest in toys alive is as simple as implementing a rotation system. Dogs can get bored with the same toys, so it's beneficial to swap them out regularly. Start by gathering all your dog's toys and select a handful to be accessible for a week. After a few days, exchange these with different ones from the collection. This not only refreshes your dog's enthusiasm but also prolongs the life of the toys.

By rotating toys, you're not only providing entertainment but also encouraging your dog to engage with different types of play, which can be crucial for their mental stimulation.

Remember to select durable chew toys that can withstand frequent use. Consistent rotation not only prevents boredom but also contributes to establishing consistent house training by providing adequate distractions. Here's a simple guide to follow:

  • Monday: Introduce a mix of chew toys and plush toys.
  • Wednesday: Swap in puzzle toys and balls.
  • Friday: Bring back some of the favorites from Monday and add a new toy to the mix.

This schedule keeps your dog guessing and excited about what comes next, making each toy feel new and interesting again.

Introduce Interactive Toys

Interactive toys are a fantastic way to keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated while you work. Unlike standard toys, these high-tech options are designed to challenge your dog's problem-solving skills and provide physical and mental stimulation. Safety and training integration are essential when selecting the right toy to ensure your dog's well-being.

  • Puzzle toys
  • Treat-dispensing games
  • Motion-activated toys
When choosing an interactive toy, observe your dog's behavior. The right toy should encourage a state of quiet concentration or calmness, indicating that your dog is mentally engaged.

For smaller dogs, it's important to find toys that are appropriately sized and for larger breeds, durability is key. Remember, the goal is to enhance your dog's daily routine with a safe and suitable form of entertainment.

Engaging Activities to Bust Boredom

Hide Treats or Toys Around the House

Turning your home into a treasure hunt can be a delightful way to keep your dog engaged. Start by hiding treats or toys in various locations around your home to stimulate your dog's sense of smell and problem-solving skills. This activity not only entertains but also encourages mental exercise.

To set up your dog's adventure, you'll need a few simple supplies:

  • Toys
  • Treats
  • A dash of imagination
Remember, the goal is to make your dog think and explore, not to frustrate them. Make sure some treats are easily accessible to provide instant gratification and maintain enthusiasm.

Mixing up the treats or toys you hide can keep the game fresh and exciting for your dog. If you're short on time, even a quick session before work can result in hours of entertainment for your pup. Just be mindful of the potential mess—confine the search area to easy-to-clean spaces if necessary.

Freeze Treats/Toys in Ice

Keeping your dog entertained while you're busy with work can be a simple yet effective endeavor with the help of some frozen treats or toys. Freezing your dog's favorite snacks or toys in ice provides them with a refreshing and engaging activity, especially during the warmer months. Here's how to create these cool treats:

  • Start by selecting a freezer-safe container that can accommodate the size of the treats or toys you plan to freeze.
  • Place the chosen treats or toys inside the container.
  • Fill the container with water, ensuring that the items are fully submerged.
  • Carefully place the container in the freezer and leave it there until the contents are completely frozen.

Once frozen, present the icy block to your dog in an area where a little mess won't be a problem. As the ice melts, your dog will enjoy the challenge of licking and chewing their way to the prize inside. This activity not only keeps them cool but also stimulates their mind and satisfies their natural foraging instincts.

Remember to supervise your dog with any new toy or treat to ensure they're safe and having fun. If you're using a Kong, you can follow a quick guide to stuffing it with treats and then freezing it. Leave it for 3-4 hours in the freezer, take it out and run it under a warm tap for a few seconds to prevent their tongue from sticking, and then it's ready for your dog to enjoy.

Make a Lick or Snuffle Mat

After setting up a lick or snuffle mat, consider creating a busy bucket for your dog to provide an additional layer of entertainment. This simple DIY project can be a fun puzzle for your dog to solve and a great way to keep them engaged while you work.

To make a busy bucket, you'll need a sturdy bucket, a variety of treats, a favorite toy, and a towel. Start by placing some treats at the bottom of the bucket, add the toy, and then cover everything with the towel. The idea is to encourage your dog to figure out how to remove the towel and retrieve the items inside, offering both mental stimulation and a reward.

Ensure the bucket is safe and appropriate for your dog's size and strength to prevent any accidents. Always supervise your dog the first few times they interact with the busy bucket to ensure they understand how to use it safely.

Create a Busy Bucket

A busy bucket can provide your dog with a fun job to do while you're occupied with work. This easy-to-set-up activity involves a bucket filled with treats and a favorite toy, concealed by a towel. Your dog will be engaged in a rewarding challenge, working to retrieve the hidden items.

This task can be messy, so it's best to place the busy bucket in an area that's easy to clean.

Here's what you'll need to create a busy bucket:

  • Bucket
  • Treats
  • Toy
  • Towel

Simply place the treats and toy at the bottom of the bucket, fill the surrounding space with a towel, and let your dog discover how to access the goodies. It's a great way to tap into their cognitive abilities and strengthen your bond as they learn to navigate this puzzle.

Social Solutions for Your Solo Pup

Social Solutions for Your Solo Pup

Get Them Some Company

While you're immersed in work, your dog may start seeking attention, which can be distracting. Getting another pet can provide companionship and help keep your dog entertained. This can be a significant commitment, so it's essential to consider the compatibility of the pets and the additional responsibilities involved.

  • Evaluate your dog's temperament and compatibility with potential companions.
  • Consider the size, energy level, and age of both animals.
  • Prepare for an adjustment period where both pets get accustomed to each other.
Dogs comfort and keep us company, showing loyalty through support and companionship. They understand our emotions and form strong bonds, especially when socialized from a young age.

Remember, introducing a new pet is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires careful planning and consideration to ensure a harmonious household.

Hire a Dog Walker

If your work commitments prevent you from providing your dog with the regular exercise they need, hiring a dog walker can be a lifesaver. A professional dog walker can ensure your furry friend gets their much-needed physical activity and social interaction, even when you're busy. This service is particularly beneficial for high-energy breeds that require more frequent walks to maintain their health and behavior.

A dog walker can offer more than just a walk; they can also administer meals, treats, or medications if needed.

When selecting a dog walker, it's important to choose someone reliable and experienced with dogs. You might want to ask for recommendations from fellow dog owners or your veterinarian. Always meet with potential walkers to see how they interact with your dog and discuss your dog's specific needs and your expectations.

Remember, tailor activities to your dog's size and breed for optimal health and happiness. A well-exercised dog is more likely to be calm and content, allowing you to focus on your work with the peace of mind that your pet is in good hands.

Schedule a Playdate

Arranging a playdate for your dog can be a delightful way to provide them with socialization and exercise while you're busy working. Ensure the playdate is in a safe environment where your dog and their canine friends can interact freely without the risk of trouble. It's not just about physical activity; these social gatherings are crucial for developing your dog's social skills and preventing boredom.

When planning a playdate, consider the compatibility of the dogs involved. It's essential that all dogs and owners are comfortable with each other to foster a positive experience. If the playdate is at your home, inform the other owner of the location of toys, treats, and leashes, and how to reach you if necessary.

Remember, a successful playdate can significantly enrich your dog's day, offering them the joy of companionship and play in your absence.

Here are some quick tips to ensure a smooth playdate:

  • Choose a familiar and secure location
  • Match dogs of similar size and temperament
  • Provide clear instructions to the attending owner
  • Have emergency contact information readily available

Send Them to Doggie Daycare

After ensuring your dog has had a fun and active day at daycare, it's important to consider how technology can further enhance their day-to-day life. Interactive tech can provide mental stimulation and entertainment for your dog even when you're not at home. Here are some ways to incorporate technology into your dog's routine:

  • Get a Dog Camera: Keep an eye on your pup and even interact with them through two-way audio features.
  • Play Tug of War via Webcam: Some cameras come with toy attachments allowing you to play with your dog remotely.
  • Set Up Automated Treat Dispensers: Schedule treat times or trigger them remotely to reward your dog for good behavior throughout the day.
By integrating technology into your dog's life, you're providing them with engaging activities that can prevent boredom and promote a happy, well-adjusted pet.

Remember, while technology can be a great aid, it's not a substitute for the physical and social benefits that doggie daycare and other activities provide. Balance is key to keeping your furry friend healthy and content.

Interactive Tech for Your Dog's Day

Interactive Tech for Your Dog's Day

Get a Dog Camera

Investing in a dog camera can be a game-changer for pet owners who must leave their furry friends at home during work hours. Not only does it provide peace of mind by allowing you to monitor your pet, but it also offers interactive features to keep your dog engaged. Many models come with two-way audio, so you can soothe your pet with your voice or even record messages to be played throughout the day.

Some advanced cameras include treat dispensing options, enabling you to reward your pup from afar. This can be particularly useful for training purposes or simply to give your dog a midday surprise. Additionally, certain cameras are equipped with built-in laser toys or movement capabilities, allowing for remote playtime sessions.

While a dog camera isn't the most economical solution, its multifaceted benefits make it a worthwhile investment for the busy dog owner.

Before purchasing, consider the following features to find the best fit for your needs:

  • Two-way audio communication
  • Treat dispensing mechanism
  • Laser toy or other interactive features
  • Quality of the camera and night vision capabilities
  • Ease of setup and use
  • Compatibility with your smartphone or other devices

Play Tug of War via Webcam

In the age of technology, even our pets can benefit from the advancements in interactive gadgets. Playing tug of war via webcam is a novel way to keep your dog engaged and active while you're away. With a durable tug toy, you can initiate a game of tug of war with your furry friend, even from a distance. This activity not only provides physical exercise but also strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

To set up a virtual tug of war session, you'll need a webcam and a tug toy with a stable base. Position the toy in view of the camera and use a remote-controlled mechanism to simulate the tug action. Encourage your dog to grab the other end and start the game. It's a fun and interactive way to keep your dog entertained, and it allows you to be a part of their playtime, even when you're not physically there.

Remember to let your dog win occasionally to maintain their interest and excitement in the game. It's important to monitor the play to ensure safety and prevent any potential injuries. This type of interactive play is a great solution for pet owners who want to provide their dogs with a mix of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day.

Set Up Automated Treat Dispensers

Automated treat dispensers are a fantastic way to keep your dog engaged and rewarded even when you're not at home. Set up a device that can be programmed to dispense treats at regular intervals or via a remote command. This not only provides a tasty surprise for your pup but also adds a layer of interaction that can reduce feelings of loneliness.

By incorporating treat dispensing toys into your dog's day, you're promoting active engagement and mental stimulation. These devices often require your dog to perform an action or solve a puzzle to access the treat, which keeps their mind sharp and focused.

For the best experience, consider the features of various treat dispensers. Some may offer simple functionality, while others, like the eufy Pet Dog Camera, come with a suite of fun options. Here's a quick guide to help you choose:

  • Ease of Use: How user-friendly is the device?
  • Treat Capacity: Can it hold enough treats for the day?
  • Dispensing Mechanism: Is it reliable and does it provide the right amount of challenge?
  • Remote Access: Can you control it through your phone or computer?
  • Durability: Will it stand up to your dog's excitement and curiosity?

Remember to play around with various treat dispensers to determine which ones are most effective for your four-legged companion. The goal is to find a balance between keeping them entertained and not overfeeding them.

Maintaining Routine and Comfort

Maintaining Routine and Comfort

Create a Calming Environment

Ensuring your dog feels calm while you're away is crucial for their well-being. A serene atmosphere can significantly reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. To achieve this, consider a few simple adjustments to their environment.

  • Use a white noise machine to mask disruptive external sounds.
  • A pheromone diffuser or spray can provide a sense of security and comfort.
  • Provide a soft, cozy bed in a secure spot where your dog can retreat.
Reinforce calm behavior by softly praising your dog and offering food rewards when they relax in their designated space. This positive reinforcement helps your dog associate the area with tranquility and safety.

Stick to a Morning Exercise Routine

Establishing a consistent morning exercise routine is crucial for your dog's well-being and can be a game-changer for keeping them calm while you work. A morning walk or play session not only expends energy but also sets a positive tone for the day. It's a special time for your dog to explore and engage with the world, which can lead to a more relaxed demeanor during your work hours.

Regular exercise is not just about physical health; it also provides mental stimulation and helps maintain obedience. By varying the activities and settings, you can keep your dog's mind active and prevent boredom.

Remember, consistency is key. Feeding and exercise should occur at similar times each day to create a predictable schedule. This routine helps your dog understand when it's time to be active and when it's time to settle down. Here's a simple morning schedule to consider:

  • 6:30 AM: Wake up and immediate bathroom break
  • 6:45 AM: Morning walk or playtime
  • 7:30 AM: Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM: Settle in for a nap or quiet time as you start work

By sticking to a routine, you'll find that your dog is more content and less likely to seek out mischief or demand your attention during work hours.

Provide a Comfortable Resting Area

Ensuring your dog has a comfortable resting area is crucial for their well-being, especially when you're occupied with work. A designated spot with a cozy bed can encourage your pup to take relaxing naps, making the day pass more pleasantly for them. Consider the following to enhance their comfort:

  • Select a bed that suits your dog's size and sleeping style.
  • Add a soft blanket for extra warmth and a sense of security.
  • For older dogs or those with joint issues, an orthopedic bed can provide much-needed support.

Remember, a dog that has a snug place to rest is less likely to seek attention during your work hours. This setup not only contributes to their physical comfort but also to their emotional contentment. A well-rested dog is typically a happy dog, and they'll be ready to engage with you once your workday concludes.

Creating a space where your dog can unwind and feel secure is an investment in their happiness and your peace of mind.


In conclusion, keeping your dog entertained while you're at work is not only essential for their happiness but also for maintaining a harmonious home. The 18 tips provided offer a variety of methods to ensure your furry friend stays busy, from simple solutions like leaving the television on to more engaging activities such as creating scavenger hunts or rotating toys. Remember, a mentally stimulated dog is a content dog, and by implementing these strategies, you can enjoy a productive workday knowing your canine companion is both safe and entertained. As you experiment with these tips, observe which ones resonate most with your dog and make them a regular part of your routine to foster a joyful and enriching environment for your beloved pet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep my dog entertained while I'm working from home?

You can keep your dog entertained by leaving the television on for background noise, providing a view outside, rotating their toys regularly, and introducing interactive toys that stimulate their mind.

What are some engaging activities to prevent my dog from getting bored?

Engaging activities include hiding treats or toys around the house for your dog to find, freezing treats or toys in ice to prolong playtime, making a lick or snuffle mat for sensory engagement, and creating a busy bucket filled with goodies.

Is it a good idea to get another pet to keep my dog company?

Getting another pet can provide companionship for your dog, but it's important to consider your current pet's temperament and the additional responsibilities that come with another animal.

How can technology help entertain my dog while I'm at work?

Technology can assist through the use of dog cameras that allow you to monitor and interact with your dog, automated treat dispensers for rewards, and even playing tug of war via webcam for physical engagement.

What can I do to ensure my dog is comfortable while I'm away?

To ensure your dog's comfort, maintain a calming environment, stick to a morning exercise routine to tire them out, and provide a comfortable resting area with their favorite blankets and toys.

Can hiring a dog walker or sending my dog to daycare improve their well-being?

Yes, hiring a dog walker can provide your dog with exercise and mental stimulation, while sending them to doggie daycare can offer socialization and activity throughout the day.


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