How to Keep a Dog Entertained & Busy While You’re At Work?

Last Updated on July, 2024

Leaving your dog home alone is unavoidable when you work a 9 to 5 job. But separation is hard for both you and your pup.

You’ll wonder if your pup is doing okay (or if he’s wreaking havoc in the house…). Also, your pup will be wondering when you’ll be coming back home.

The best solution is to keep your dog busy while you are away.

However, entertaining your dog can be a challenge, and coming up with new ways to keep your dog busy is exhausting.

If you are on the lookout for some simple, great tips to keep your dog entertained, we are here to help.

We’ll share the 10 guaranteed ways to keep your dog busy while you are at work.

So keep reading to find out how to keep your dog entertained while at work throughout the day.

Quick Summary

It is important to keep your dog entertained while you are away at work to prevent loneliness and destructive behavior.

Different ways to keep a dog busy and mentally stimulated, including introducing new toys, filling food toys with treats, and scheduling play dates.

Keeping your dog busy has many benefits, including preventing anxiety and destructive behavior, keeping them mentally stimulated and physically fit, and teaching them to be independent.

Why Should You Keep Your Dog Entertained While At Work?

Keeping the dog entertained

Time apart is stressful for both you and your dog. If your dog is the only pet in the house, he’s bound to get lonely and frustrated.

If you want to improve your dog’s behavior and keep him happy, you must keep your dog busy. Offering physical and mental stimulation is the best you can do for your pup while you are away. 

Your pup will learn to be independent and play on his own, while you won’t have to worry about which shoes will be destroyed when you get home.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to keep your furry friend busy and engaged throughout the day.

How to Keep Your Dog Entertained While At Work? (10 Ways)

1. Introduce a New Toy

Dogs love toys! Place a few new interactive dog toys in a toy basket and let your dog play away.

You can also leave toys in different places for your dog to find.

Switch your dog’s toys every other week to keep your pup extra happy.

Then won’t get fed up playing with the same toys repeatedly. 

When choosing a new toy, you can pick from soft toys and squeaky toys to hardy chew toys.

Having a mix of different toys is bound to keep your pup in a playful mood for a long time.

Introducing a New Toy to dog

Chew toys are a superb investment to keep your dog occupied. If you train your dog to bite on a chew toy instead of the furniture and your shoes, you won’t have to face any more destroyed belongings.

Beware not to leave any toys that may be a choking hazard. 

2. Filling Food Toys With Treats

A food stuffed toy is an old trick that always works. Filling food dispensing toys with some dog biscuits is an excellent way of giving your dog something to do. Peanut butter is an excellent alternative to dog treats. Also, dogs love peanut butter!

A kong toy is perfect for filling with dog treats. These will satisfy your dog’s chewing instincts while giving him tasty treats. Kongs come in different materials and sizes, so pick the most durable and safest one for your dog.

Freezing a stuffed Kong toy will make it last longer. For example, you can fill a toy kong with dog treats or peanut butter and freeze it overnight.

Giving a frozen treat will keep your dog busy for a few hours. Afterward, your pup will be exhausted, full, and happy. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

3. Keep Your Dog Busy With A Scavenger Hunt

Dog With A Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a perfect distraction for pups that love to sniff and find things. You can set up a hunt by hiding treats around your house or just around the living area. 

You can also fill your dog’s toys with treats to make the fun hunting last longer.

Be sure to use small-sized treats to not overfeed your pooch. And don’t forget to keep their water bowl full.

4. Use Interactive Puzzles

An interactive puzzle toy will mentally stimulate your dog and keep him captivated for hours. Puzzle toys work on all dog breeds and ages, but it is a plus if you own a curious dog.

Interactive puzzle toys will also reward your dog with a treat, keeping him happy. After all the mental power used in solving the puzzle toy, your dog will probably take a nap, which is good.

Veterinarians, as well as dog trainers, recommend using puzzles to keep your dog busy. Interactive puzzles will stimulate your dog’s mind and promote problem-solving while keeping him engaged.

5. Hire a Dog Walker

Pooches need a lot of physical activity to stay happy and healthy. 

If your dog is a very active breed, no amount of puzzles or TV will keep them entertained until you get home. 

A dog walker will pick up your dog from home and take him on a much-needed walk.

A dog walker usually takes many dogs on a walk at once, which is also a great way to socialize your dog.

Including a good walk in your dog’s daily routine will keep him healthy. Hiring a dog walker is necessary if you work late and hardly have time to walk your dog.

Dog Walker with dogs

6. Schedule A Play Date With Other Dog Owners

Yes, dogs get lonely, especially if your dog is the only pet around the house. You could ask a coworker to bring over their dog for a day. A playdate is a great way to keep two dogs occupied while their owners go on with their busy lives.

It is essential to figure out if the dogs get along well before leaving them alone in your house. You can introduce your pup to his new friend beforehand and let them get to know each other before the play date.

A play date will socialize your pup and keep him entertained simultaneously. If you have a hard time finding a play date, doggy daycare is another option. 

7. Use Calming Treats

Some pups go through severe separation anxiety. They will be too anxious to be distracted by puzzles and scavenger hunts. This is where calming treats come into play.

Calming treats are yummy treats for your pup that start working in about 30 minutes, and the effects last for about 4 hours. Once your pup is calm, he will be able to play with the other toys or be distracted by the TV.

8. Keep Your Dog Busy at the Window

Open the shades and place a dog mat or a blanket next to the window.

Your dog will be immersed in the outside world and won’t have time to feel bored. 

If your windows are a couple of feet off the ground, you can draw a couch next to the window and lay out a blanket to make a comfy view spot for your pooch.

Beware this method won’t work with all pups. Loud pooches with high prey drives will bark every time they see a squirrel.

This will make the dog anxious rather than keeping him engaged, and the excessive barking is sure to annoy your neighbors.

Dog Busy At The Window

9. Keep the Television or Radio On

Yes, dogs watch television. If you want your pup to feel that someone’s at home, the background noise from a TV is a good solution.

What’s more, if you tune your TV to animal planet or discovery channel, your dog will have a lot of fun listening to all the animals and the sounds of nature.

Alternatively, you can leave the radio on. Studies show that music can reduce your dog’s anxious behavior. Remember to tune into quiet, classical music. Loud music with fast beats can agitate your pup instead of calming him down.

10. Buy a Pet Cam

Who says you have to wait until you get home to see your dog? Using a pet cam, you can watch your dog throughout the day and see what mischief he’s up to. 

You can interact with your dog through a pet cam and throw out treats to your dog by pressing a button remotely. 

Some pet cams have a bark alter feature. If your dog is barking and seems to be anxious, you will receive a notification on your phone.

You can then talk to your pup through the cam and try to soothe him with a treat.

Furbo dog camera is a good pet cam with bark detecting, and treat tossing features. Click here to check it out.

Pet camera

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Spending Quality Time With Your Dog After Work

Spending Quality Time With Your Dog After Work

Resist the urge to play with your dog as soon as you enter the house. Instead, give your dog some time to calm down. After your pooch has calmed down, you can shower him with all the attention. 

Here are some useful tips on spending quality time with your pooch.

Take A Walk

Taking a walk is the best way to spend quality time with your pup. A good walk will benefit both you and your dog. 

You can either go to a dog park or ride a bicycle with your dog on your side.


Dogs love it when you talk to them. So keep talking to your dog while doing household work and cooking meals.

You can even share your workday with your pup. He’s guaranteed to listen without judgment.

Run Errands With Your Dog

If you are going shopping after work, why not take your dog along. There are many pet-friendly shopping malls and supermarkets. You can get your shopping done while your dog enjoys a walk and socializing with people.

Engage Your Dog In Outdoor Work

If you are an outdoorsy person, involve your pup in yard work. Your dog will have a good time outdoors, whether you are sweeping the leaves or watering the plants.

Snuggle With Your Pup

Invite your pup to stay beside you while watching TV or reading a book. Pups crave affection.

Cuddling with your dog will build up trust and loyalty, and it’s a great way to relieve your stress after a tough day at work.

Go To A Pet-Friendly Cafe

Many cafes with outdoor dining allow pets. So if you are meeting friends after work, you can take your pup along with you.

Play A Game

Dogs love to play. Playing tug, fetch, or hide and seek is an excellent way to spend time with your pup. These games won’t tire you out but will give your dog plenty of exercise.

Playing with your pup is a superb way to bond with your dog and train him simultaneously.

What Are the Benefits of Keeping Your Dog Busy?

A mom, kid and a dog in the kitchen

Stops anxiety. Separation anxiety is common in pups. An anxious dog will be on the edge until you get home, and they can often turn destructive. This is harmful to your pup’s well-being. By designing engaging activities that suit your dog’s needs, you can make sure he’s not depressed until you get home.

Prevents destructive behavior. If you keep your dog busy, you can prevent destructive behaviors like chewing and barking. By creating a good outlet for your dog’s energy, you’ll be keeping your pet happy while saving your beloved furniture.

Keeps your dog mentally stimulated. Building an engaging surrounding is the key to keeping your dog interested and happy. With a lot of mental stimulation like puzzle games and scavenger hunts, your dog will be more intelligent in no time. 

In addition, a mentally stimulated dog is curious to learn, and you will face no problem teaching him new tricks.

Keeps your pup physically fit. Physical activity is crucial for a healthy dog. Even a huge backyard is useless if your dog doesn’t find any fun activities to do in it. You must provide an engaging environment so that your dog can explore new things and keep himself busy. Activities that keep your dog moving around will prevent many problems like obesity and diabetes.

Teaches your pup to be independent. Your dog must learn to play on its own. By providing ways to keep your dog occupied, you’ll be helping your pup be independent.



It’s not easy being a dog owner with a 9-5 job. But, if you select the right fun activity, your pup will be as busy as you are.

Keep in mind that all dogs are different. Most dogs are just scared of being left alone and need a fun surrounding to keep them engaged, while others need a lot of exercise. Make sure you know your dog’s exact needs before choosing how to keep him busy.

Once you get home, dedicate some dog-time just for your pup. Also, don’t forget to give your dog lots of love for being a well-behaved pup throughout the day.

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Thomas Villalpando
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of Dogs Academy. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. He has been featured in MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Sun, Entrepreneur & More. You can find more about him here.

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