18 Ways to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re At Work

Last Updated: June 10, 2024

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Most of us would love nothing more than to spend the entire day with our pups! Unfortunately, it's not exactly practical to skip work every day or bring your pooch with you wherever you go. So, we leave them behind to rough out the day on their own!

But have you ever thought about what your dog does all day? Some dogs feel confident on their own and have no issues waiting for you to come home.

However, others think it's downright torture!

dog laying bored on the couch home alone cause it's owner is away at work

Separation anxiety is a real issue that produces some real unwanted problems. If you've ever come home to a torn-up shoe or destroyed house, you know all too well what separation anxiety can make dogs do.

Many pups can't handle their emotions very well. So, they turn to destructive behaviors to get some solace. Dealing with separation anxiety is a long process that requires some careful conditioning and behavioral training. But, there are some things you can do to provide relief in the meantime. 

Keep your Dog Busy

Keeping your dog entertained while you're away is the easiest way to stave off bad behavior and keep your pup feeling good.

Whether you need to keep an anxious dog occupied or you simply want to do something special for your bored pooch, here are some ways you can keep your dog entertained while you're at work!

18 Ways to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re At Work

1. Provide Some Dental Chews

Chewy treats are a great distraction that can keep your dog distracted for a surprisingly long time. They don't last forever. But, they could last long enough to tire your pooch out until they're ready for a nap!

Go for a long-lasting dental chew.

Not only is it tasty and entertaining, but it will improve your dog's dental health in the long run. Just make sure to avoid anything that's potentially dangerous, such as splintering treats or those that could turn into a choking hazard!

2. Try Long-Lasting Treats

If you're not comfortable leaving a chew toy behind, give a long-lasting soft treat a try. There are many on the market. Most of them resemble something like peanut butter or cheese.

Pair the treat up with a stuffable toy and you have something that can keep your dog entertained for hours!

Just stuff or squirt the treat into the toy. The toys are unique designed to put the treat just out of reach. So, they have to work a bit to enjoy it!

3. Turn on the Television

The last thing you want is to create a quiet environment where your dog can get distracted at every little thing. Leaving the TV on at a high volume is a great way to keep them distracted.

We recommend tuning into an animal-themed show or channel, such as the Animal Planet. The sights and sounds of the animals will keep your dog captivated!

4. Create Some White Noise

White noise is a good alternative to leaving the TV on. You can use a dedicated white noise machine to blast calming sounds throughout the home.

The noise will help to block out noises from the outside, which will reduce agitation.

You can also use things you have lying around the home. Try leaving a fan on. Pet fountains, window AC units, and other devices can produce plenty of noise to keep your pooch calm.

5. Prepare Your Windows

Here's a step that will vary based on your dog's behavior. If your dog has a high prey drive and often goes in a tizzy when they see squirrels running around, you might want to think about closing your windows.

The outside world is full of anxiety-inducing triggers. For more sensitive or excited dogs, it's best to just block the view while you're away.

Now, more relaxed dogs may benefit from an open window! Set a blanket or cushion by an open window and let your dog spend the day gazing.

It's a good distraction that will keep your dog occupied for most of the day.

6. Set Up a Play Space

Keeping your pooch in a cramped crate all day isn't the most conducive for staying calm. A good alternative is to create a comfortable play space.

This could be a spare bedroom or laundry area. Cordon off the room with a pet gate. The gate will let your pup see the rest of the house while still restricting access.

Now, fill the space with all of their favorite toys. Make sure to throw some comfort items into the mix as well.

Related:  Best Outdoor Dog Gates

7. Introduce New Toys

dog looking bored at toy because there is no one else around

What dog doesn't like a new toy! New playthings are the perfect distraction. Pick up a durable chew toy that can hold up to everything your dog throws at it.

A chew toy can serve many purposes. The first is a tool for distraction.

With something to play with, your dog is less likely to suffer from separation anxiety. Secondly, it gives your dog a chewing outlet. 

If you teach them that chewing on the toy is the correct course of action, they'll choose that over destroying furniture or shoes!

To keep things interesting, try cycling through toys during the week. Provide a different toy every day and hide the rest. This will prevent your pup from getting bored!

8. Invest in a Cozy Bed

Ideally, your dog will sleep a few hours during the day. The best way to get them to rest is through a plush dog bed!

Splurge a bit and get your dog something they'll want to curl up in. Plush fabrics, orthopedic foam, and unique comfort features like pillows or bolsters make the resting spot much more enticing.

Related: 5 Best Cozy Heated Dog Bed Options for Your Pup

9. Hide Some Surprises

Before you leave for the day, take a moment to hide a few pieces of kibble around the play area! Eventually, your pup will catch a whiff and spend some time trying to locate those delicious food morsels!

It becomes a fun little game for your dog. Use this to your advantage and let them know that your hiding treats before work.

Eventually, your departure will turn into a positive thing rather than a negative one.

10. Provide Some Mental Stimulation Toys

Mental stimulation toys don't rely on simple chewing or sound triggers. Most are treat-based and require your dog to figure out some puzzles before they can reap the rewards.

These toys take time to figure out and can potentially keep your dog entertained for hours, they can also strengthen your dog's brainpower!

11. Prepare an Ice Treat

You'd be surprised by how much dogs love ice. This tip is best if your dog is staying in an area that can get wet. Ice treats tend to get a bit messy!

The night before you go to work, fill a small plastic tub with water. Then, add a chew treat or toy. Bully sticks and knotted ropes work well.

Freeze the water and tub overnight and you'll have a refreshing distraction for your dog to play with.

Related: What are Bully Sticks Made of?

12. Schedule Play Dates

Does your dog have a local canine companion? Try scheduling a play date. This is a great choice if you have a friendly neighbor or family member with a dog your pooch is comfortable with.

Give that person a key and ask them to come over for a bit while you're out! If this can be a regular thing, your dog will have something to look forward to when you're out.

13. Hire a Dog Walker

Dog workers can check on your pup while giving them some much-needed exercise during the day! It's not hard to find a dog walker. There are several apps and services to connect you with a person your pooch will enjoy.

You can create a walking schedule that works for you. Fido will enjoy the brief company and can take care of business to prevent accidents.

14. Consider Doggy Daycare

Highly socialized pups can benefit from doggy daycare. These facilities operate much like human daycare centers. Your pup will be under the watchful eye of professionals while they get a chance to socialize and have fun with others.

15. Tire Your Dog Out

Even if you work a standard 9:00 to 5:00 schedule, you can get a good workout in before you leave. Wake up early and take your pup on a long jog around the neighborhood.

Take some time to play a few good rounds of fetch, too.

A tired dog is a well-behaved one. Once you leave for work, your pooch will be more than ready to nap and relax while you're gone.

16. Use Calming Treats

If your dog has a reputation for anxious behavior, calming treats and sprays may be the solution you need. Calming treats typically contain botanicals that will control stress hormones.

The same goes for Topical sprays or pheromone-based products. Just provide the treat before you leave and your dog should stay pretty mellow while you're gone.

17. Adopt a Furry Companion

This method is a big commitment. But, it's a smart commitment if you work a lot. Single dogs aren't able to socialize all that often. They get bored easily and can turn to destructive behaviors to cope.

But, two dogs can keep each other contained. A companion will play with your pooch all day long. They can also keep each other in check.

Adding a new furry friend to your family is no easy decision, so think long and hard about whether it's the right choice before you head to the pet adoption place.

18. Get a Pet Cam

puppy home alone sitting on chair

Our last big tip is to get a pet cam. Pet cams have changed the way dog owners check on their pups when they're away.

You can set the camera up in the play area and use your smartphone to get a live feed.

Many cameras have additional communication features. You might see two-way audio, video chat systems, or even treat dispensers.

Camera systems can provide alerts when your dog starts barking too much. Then, you can use the communication features to calm them down and provide some training reinforcement from your work site.


Over time, dogs will learn to accept your work schedule. It's not something they will enjoy, but they will learn to expect it every day.

A couple of nice distractions are all they need to get by. Try one of these methods to keep your pooch entertained. Once you find the method that works, you can rest easy knowing that your home and dog are safe while you're away.


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About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.