26 Ways To Keep Your Dog From Being Bored When Home Alone

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Leaving your dog home alone is inevitable for many working dog owners. This doesn't have to represent a problem as there are many ways to keep your dog busy while away at work (or working from home). Check out these 26 tips and see what works for your dog!

It’s never easy to leave your dog home alone, we know!

However, most dog owners lead busy lives and spend a big part of the day at work.

This is why you have to keep your dog busy too while you’re away and figure out what the best way to do this is for your dog.

Are you thinking about what your dog is doing at home alone and worrying if he or she will chew on something or destroy anything?

That being said, it should be imperative to know how to keep dog busy while at work.

It’s true that some dogs hate being alone and as a result can be quite destructive, both for themselves and your home.

So, to prevent that you have to keep your dog occupied while you’re away at work, or working from home.

This is an article about just that – how to keep dog from being bored when home alone, or while you are working from home!

1. Increase Physical Activity

This is probably one of the easiest solutions as the reason behind your dog’s destructive behavior may be too much energy.

The solution to your problem is naturally to increase the amount of exercise, especially before you leave for work.

If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise and has too much energy, and nowhere to get rid of it, your dog may end up doing things you don’t want him to do, such as chewing at things.

The more exercise your dog gets, the less chance he is going to become destructive when you’re at work or somewhere else.

Of course, some dogs have more need for exercise than others, so you have to see what’s right for your breed.

However, no matter the length of the walk, it’s safe to say that a walk before you leave in the morning is a good step toward reducing destructive behavior.


By walking your dog before you leave for work, you are decreasing the chances of his destructive behavior when he’s home alone. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise!

2. Leave Toys Around

Certain toys can be very effective when you want to keep your dog’s mind off things.

If it’s a toy you can stuff, you can use something your dog likes such as peanut butter or banana.

This will keep your dog occupied for a certain period for sure.

Leaving toys around is a great way to help you while you are thinking about how to entertain a dog at home alone.

You can fill Kong toys, or similar toys, with canine’s favorite snacks.

It will be difficult for him to get the candies out and he will be busy and happy for hours.

Furthermore, there are a lot of toys to choose from, all from stuffed to chewing toys.

Some are specially made for improving cognition and help in improving your dog’s problem-solving skills.

This is a great way to calm down dogs that can’t seem to stop barking at night as well!


Toys left around the house can keep your dog busy and active while you’re away.

3. Make A Busy Bucket

If you don’t want to buy an already-made dog toy, you can make your own “busy bucket”.

To do that, take a plastic or aluminum pail and throw some treats at the bottom. After the treats, put in a toy your dog likes and fill the surrounding with a hand towel.

Layer and pack the pail with toys, treats, and towels. This way you will promote problem-solving and reward your dog with various treats.

Your dog will love going through the layers and finding entertainment, no doubt about it!


If you don’t mind finding a little bit of mess when you come back from work, make a “busy bucket” for your dog and fill it with various treats, towels, and toys.

4. Leave The TV On

Before you leave the house, turn the TV on and leave Animal Planet, or another similar channel, on in the background.

By looking and listening to other animals your dog will stay stimulated and hopefully stick to proactive ways of spending time.


Animal channels on TV are stimulating to dogs and are likely to catch their attention while you’re away.

5. Provide A View

No, we don’t mean changing address and moving to a tropical island or the Alps!

We’re simply suggesting opening the curtains or blinds so that your dog can look out any time he or she wants to.

If your dog is a small breed, such as Pomeranian, put a cushion or chair by the window so that he can see out as well.

Many dogs love looking at the neighbors or the surrounding – they simply like knowing what’s going on.


Observing the surrounding of your home will keep your dog curious while he’s alone and make his time pass much quicker.

6. Invent Scavenger Hunt

You can leave stuffed toys or small amounts of dog food around the house before you leave and create a scavenger hunt for your pet!

That way your dog will have fun hunting the food while you’re away and won’t be restless and bored.

When you’re leaving food around the house, don’t leave big amounts of food and leave them at places you know your dog likes to spend time.

Also, make sure to leave the piles at accessible places, where your dog won’t be able to ruin something.


If you leave little treats around the house, your dog will have fun while hunting the food and the boredom will be avoided.

7. Give Ice To Play With

You can put a treat or some food in an ice-cream container, fill with water and freeze.

As a result, you get a frozen “toy” that will keep your dog occupied for a certain amount of time.

As the ice melts, the food inside slowly becomes available to your dog.

And more importantly, your Fido won’t have time for destructive behavior while trying to uncover the treats.


This icy game will be very good for hot, summer days. It will definitely keep your dog away from destructive behavior.

8. Schedule A Playdate

This can’t be an everyday solution, but on occasions, it could be a great solution, especially if you feel that your pet has been alone a little too much lately.

If you have someone in the neighborhood with a dog your dog gets along with, you can ask if its dog owner is available to dog sit.

That way you’ll know that your dog is in good hands and your dog will have a great companion while you’re at work.

However, don’t set up random play dates just for the sake of it.

If your dog isn’t comfortable with the other dog it could only be a stressful situation and he might fear being left alone more than before.


Socializing will not only keep your dog busy, but it will likely exhaust him which means your pup might want to sleep more after hanging out with his playdate.

9. Enroll Your Dog In A Daycare Facility

Boarding facilities are becoming more and more popular, especially the ones where you only leave your dog during the day.

If your dog likes the companionship of other dogs and can adapt easily to new environments this could be the solution for you!

Before you do enroll your dog in daycare, ask around and get as much information as possible before you make a decision.

It would even be a good idea to visit the facility beforehand and meet the staff and check out the overall atmosphere there.


Daycare facilities are another way to keep your dog active and include socializing in his daily routine. He will need less exercise after spending a day running around with his furry pals.

10. Hire A Dog Walker

If you work long hours or if your dog is on the active side it would be a good idea to find a professional dog walker.

Many boarding facilities offer this service at a certain rate.

Of course, you can hire someone else you trust to do this, but the bottom line is – it has to be someone you trust.

This may be necessary in some cases if you don’t want your dog to get bored and develop destructive behavior while you’re at work.


Hiring a dog walker is the best way to keep your dog active, calm, and happy.

11. Keep The Toys Interesting

Introduce new toys from time to time so your dog doesn’t get tired of them.

Of course, you can’t buy a new toy every day but there are still ways to keep the toys fun and engaging.

For instance, you can rotate the existing toys. That means putting some toys away for some time and leaving out others, so your dog forgets about the old ones for a while.

This will keep the toys interesting and won’t give your dog time to get tired of them. Know that dogs in general love interactive toys.


Don’t use the same toys every day and rotate them instead. This way the toys will remain interesting to your pup and he may spend more time playing with them.

12. Add Water Fountain

Making sure your dog has enough water while you’re away is crucial, no surprise there. But, a water fountain could be a more fun and productive way to handle that.

As water fountains provide water non-stop, they could be a great solution while you’re away.

On top of that, dog fountains are very fun for dogs that love water and can create a diversion. However, leave a bowl full of water just in case while you’re away.


Water fountains will ensure your dog is staying hydrated and having fun at the same time.

13. Calm Your Dog

If you know that your dog becomes anxious when home alone, there are certain things you can do to calm him.

For example, you can apply calming essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, to your dog’s bedding. So simple – but so effective!

You can also try Sleepytime Tonic to the meals or use a dog pheromone.

The Sleepytime Tonic is a natural herbal tonic you add to your dog’s meal before you leave and it will help your dog relax and reduce the barking.

When it comes to dog pheromones, they are usually used in a collar or spray.

This pheromone is similar to the one a lactating mother is emitting. As such, it will be familiar to your dog and attribute to a relaxed mindset.


Calming essential dogs may help pups with anxiety calm down when left alone.

14. Satisfy The Chewing Needs

No, we don’t mean letting your dog chew on furniture and shoes in order to fulfill its chewing needs.

As chewing is necessary for a dog’s dental hygiene, you have to provide ways for it to do just that – chew.

This is why it’s important to have good chewing toys around the house which will keep your dog busy and away from your shoes.

When it comes to choosing the right ones, invest in nylon bones, not rawhide.

The lather can break into pieces and create problems if they get stuck in your dog’s stomach, which is why nylon is a safer choice.


Leaving chewing toys around the house is a good method of stopping your dog to chew on shoes or furniture while you’re away.

15. Leave Out Paper Boxes

So, how to keep your dog entertained while at work? Think about something simple and fun. Think about paper boxes.

So simple, but so practical! If you think that there’s something else behind the heading, there’s not – it simply means leaving out paper boxes or bags for your dog to play with.

They can be so entertaining for your dog as they can throw and push them around or crawl inside the box.

Just remember to poke holes in the bags or boxes and you’ll see how fun these simple things can be!


Simple things like paper boxes keep dogs very busy and curious.

16. Leave Music On

Some dogs really like music and they find it calming and relaxing.

There is even special dog music, created for dogs and their listening frequencies.

Music is believed to soothe and reduce barking and destructive behavior, so if your dog is rather anxious when you’re leaving for work try leaving dog or classical music on in the background.


Leaving music on while you’re away might hold a calming effect on a dog left home alone.

17. Invest In A Petcube

The Petcube is a pet camera allowing you to interact with your dog while you’re away. It includes a two-way audio stream and a laser pointer for playing! Sounds like an interactive toy, right?

Naturally, you can’t work and play with your pet at the same time, but it could come in handy during breaks or when you’re away for a short business trip. Learn more about Petcube in the video below.


A pet camera like Petcube will allow you to observe your dog’s behavior while you’re away, but it will also make interacting with your dog while at work possible.

18. Play A Game

Did you know that dogs actually enjoy playing hide and seek?

Mental stimulation is something that dogs not only enjoy, but also need. Through games they learn, train, have fun, and accumulate energy.

Simple games, such as hide-and-seek or tug-of-war do wonders for a dog’s energy, mind, entertainment, obedience, and overall happiness.

Have you ever heard of the saying – A tired dog is a good dog? It is true. When bored dogs may get destructive.

If fact, they may get destructive when they have extra energy to burn.

Hide and seek is a great game as it requires zero investment, and doesn’t require any sort of equipment, just open space. This is a great way to include the whole family in playing hide and seek.

SUMMARY: Your dog will love any opportunity to keep his mind busy. Playing a fun and interactive game is a great way to enhance dog training and keep a dog active.

19. Train Your Dog New Tricks

Dog owners and dog enthusiasts know that dog training should start as soon as you bring your dog home.

Dogs are more than capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t learn new tricks.

Even an older dog can master a new trick if you provide the right structure, treats, and make a serious time investment into training.

Dogs never stop learning and mastering new tricks will keep their minds fresh and body fit.

Plus, dogs love spending time with their humans, which should make training time only more interesting.

Practice ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ command al;l the time, test recall training, and train your dog to bring you tennis balls and jump/get off the couch if that is something that matters to you.

Dogs should know which area is allowed inside the house, and which is off-limits.

SUMMARY: Training your dog should be an ongoing process, not a one-time affair. Training your dog builds up the dog’s confidence, keeps the dog active, increases safety, and overall helps your dog to become a great canine citizen.

20. Train Your Dog To Perform Scent Work

Did you know that Beagle is one of the breeds with the best sense of smell?

Dogs were bred to perform certain tasks, which is why certain breeds are masters for specific work.

This is why Australian Shepherds are superb when it comes to being active all day long (they were bred to herd cattle), and why Beagles have great noses (they were bred for hunting).

Still, every dog is capable of using its nose to its maximum. Dogs have a great scent.

They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while humans have only six million olfactory receptors in their noses.

In other words, scent work is something that any dog can do. However, only well-trained dogs can be capable to sniff out the smallest scents, such as scenes of essential oils.

This is why you should think about training your dog scent work to keep Fido entertained when home alone, while you are busy working from home or just enjoying your time.

How to train your dog to master scent work? It is easy, just follow these steps:

  • Place clean cotton swabs on your table
  • Use essential oil drops to put them on the cotton swabs. You can use essential oils for dogs as well
  • Place cotton swabs in a well-hidden area
  • Let your dog sniff them and find
  • Do not forget to reward Fido with a nice treat for finding the cotton swabs

Pro tip: ALWAYS ask your veterinarian before administering the oil or defusing it in your home

SUMMARY: Scent work is not only stimulating and keeps dogs engaged, but it is also a great physical exercise and mental exercise that dogs enjoy. Plus, it helps burn energy in dogs of all ages and breeds.

21. Make A Toy To Keep Your Dog Busy

Do not toss away that old toy collecting dust. Instead, turn it into a dog toy.

You don’t have an old toy around? It’s fine, as you can use an old t-shirt and make a new toy from it.

You don’t have to make anything complex, just make a ball from it and your dog will love it.

Fido will adore it extra if it has your scent on it. It can work as a soothing item if your dog is scared of thunder or tends to suffer from separation anxiety.

Want to be extra creative with an old t-shirt? Cut the shirt into strips and braid it, tie it, or knot it any way you would like.

If your dog shows zero interest in this toy or any other, just place a few treats inside and he will love it instantly.

SUMMARY: Toys are a necessity when it comes to having a well-behaved dog. It helps fight boredom and soothes nervous dogs. All in all, a comfortable toy can help prevent your dog from developing certain problem behaviors.

22. Stuff A Kong

Yes, you can always leave toys around, but if you want to invest in a single toy then invest in Kong. You can never go wrong with Kong.

This is an efficient way to keep your dog entertained. All you have to do is to fill it with safe and delicious treats, and your dog will love it.

Kong is excellent because of its structure and durability. It is also safe for dogs and won’t break easily.

Kong-like toys may also work, but they are hardly as durable as the original Kong.

When filling it with treats, make sure that you place smaller treats on the bottom and use bigger ones to block the smaller ones from getting out.

Stuffed Kong should keep your dog entertained for hours.

SUMMARY: Always do your best to get a Kong that can help fight boredom and prevent bad behaviors. As a hard-to-break toy, Kong can be used all day long and for moths, making it a great investment.

23. Think About Agility Training

Agility for dogs is a great way to help your dog burn that extra energy and stay fit.

Not only that agility helps dogs stay active and strong, but it keeps their minds stimulated as well.

You may think that agility is strictly an outdoor activity, but in reality (if you have enough space) it can be a great way to keep a dog busy throughout the day.

Get the agility barriers that you can use indoors as well, such as:

  • Jumps
  • Tunnels
  • A-frame
  • Seesaw
  • Weave poles

Make sure that you find items that can easily be moved, stored, and cleaned.

Now, you may ask – can indoor agility be effective if you have a large breed, such as Doberman?

Most likely no, unless you have a really large living area. But… Do not let that discourage you as you can still use tunnels, for example.

Make sure that you set obstacles based on your dog’s activity levels, discipline, physical need, physical capabilities, and of course – willingness to participate.

If your dog prefers to play with stuffed kong when indoors let him.

Know that for some dogs an empty bottle is enough to have a great time. If you see that something works for your dog, let him be.

SUMMARY: Agility is a great way to provide adequate physical exercise. This is an athletic workout that keeps a dog in shape, helps against obesity, and activates the dog’s mind.

24. Include Your Dog In Chores

Dogs love when there is a job to be done. They were bred from day one to perform a certain task.

Have you ever seen a sad Golden Retriever bringing the newspaper to his owner? Probably not, because that dog is happy to perform a task.

No matter how small a task might be, dogs will enjoy it. If possible, include your dog in daily chores.

Get your dog to help you with daily tasks, such as bringing in the newspaper, putting his toys away into the doggy-toys basket, closing doors, or even picking up trash.

Just be careful with household items, as you want to keep your dog from any dangerous items that might hurt him, such as household items for cleaning.

SUMMARY: Including your dog in chores is a great way to keep your dog entertained all day long. This includes a great range of low-exercise movements if your dog isn’t of a high-energy breed.

25. Think About Doggie Massage

While you can think about creative ways to keep your dog entertained indoors you should think about your dog’s needs in general.

Is your dog hungry for a run or your attention? In most cases, they are hungry for both.

However, until playtime comes, you should invest a few minutes into keeping your dog amused when you are home. That being said, think about back rubs. Dogs love them.

Giving a dog massage or just providing longer back rubs should result in the same feeling – happiness. Plus, touching your dog’s skin may be a great way to notice any changes in the dog’s skin.

Good to know: If your dog suffers from arthritis know that dog massage can help as it may help soothe achy and sore joints.

SUMMARY: Canine massage comes with many benefits, including improved blood flow, less stress, reduces pain, and overall relaxation.

26. Groom Your Dog Regularly

You may not enjoy long grooming sessions, but your dog loves them for sure. At least, they will adore brushing time.

Grooming is much more than providing regular brushing time as it includes nail trimming, ear cleaning, eye check, etc.

Dogs prefer brushing as the most fun activity of the grooming process.

If your dog tends to bother you while you are working from home, spare a few minutes to have a great brushing session.

In general, dogs should be brushed at least once a week, although this will vary from breed to breed.

If you provide extra brushing sessions, your dog will love you even more. Use the indoor time to enhance your grooming skills and make your bond with Fido stronger.

SUMMARY: Regular grooming helps your dog have a longer and healthier life. Plus, it enables better hygiene, less hair around, and less smell.

How To Keep Your Dog Busy While Working From Home?

For many, working from home is a new reality. Overnight, many house corners have evolved into working spaces.

While it may take you a long time to adjust to this new scenery, you can be sure that your dog loved every second of it.

Dogs have noticed that their favorite people are staying in longer and longer.

In no time, they got used to seeing them indoors every day, all day long which in their fluffy heads led to one conclusion – Dog bored at home alone never again.

No matter how much you love your pooch, the reality is that you can not spend all day playing with Fido.

This is why many dog owners continually think about different ways on how to keep dogs entertained while working from home.

Since working from home is here to stay many dog owners are faced with four-legged distractions that demand their attention on a daily level.

Since dogs may be very uncooperative coworkers keeping them busy while working from home is crucial.

To keep your dog busy, while achieving your productivity pick is possible with the tips listed above.

If you apply them efficiently you will never again have to wonder how to keep dogs entertained while at work, or while you are working from home.

These same tips should work on puppies and even senior dogs, just make sure that you adjust the activity to the dog’s age and physical capabilities.

While you are working from home, make sure that you make time for play breaks.

Get up and go for a brief walk, and have a mutual activity, such as tag-of-war.

Do not forget to make a break even when your dog is entertained on his own, as proper breaks will lead to your mental boost and better health.

When you are healthy, your pooch will be healthy and happy as well.


A busy dog is a happy dog could be the conclusion here.

As long as you keep your dog engaged in various activities while you’re away (or working from home), you will reduce the chances of destructive behavior, barking, and anxiousness.

So, it’s up to you, as a dog owner, to provide these ways to keep your dog busy. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that he will find ways to entertain himself – ways you often don’t approve of.

So, experiment a bit in the beginning and discover what works best for your dog, as every dog is different and has different preferences.

Fortunately, as you can see, there are numerous ways to keep your dog busy while you’re away at work. And there were only 26 of them!

We’re sure you’ll pick up more along the way so feel free to share some of your tips with us as there are never enough fun ways to keep your best friend happy!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Snuffle Mats Good Exercise For Dogs?

Snuffle mats are a great tool for dogs who are fast eaters. If you have a larger or giant dog breed then you know that bloat is a serious condition that may cost the dog his life.

To prevent bloat, dog owners avoid feeding their dogs after a walk or any sort of exercise, and even use snuffle mats.

This item is designed to help dogs eat slower, while in some dogs it can support exercise and even reduce anxiety, which is why they may even warm as a soothing blanket, sort of speaking.

All in all, snuffle mats can be a fun activity for your dog when bored at home alone.

Just use really tiny treats and set them separately all over the snuffle mats and your dog should spend hours searching for treats.

As such this may be a fair exercise for your Fido.

2. What Is The Strongest Material For Dog Toys?

As a general rule, nylon, rubber, and rope are the most durable dog toy materials.

If possible, avoid any sort of plastic items or plastic toys made of thin rubber. Why? They are the first to break and may cause health disturbances in dogs.

They may be a bit cheaper, but will usually cost you higher in the long run.

3. Are Dog Puzzles Good For Dogs?

A puzzle toy is something that every dog enjoys. Interactive puzzles keep their mind sharp and body active.

Dog puzzles are often recommended not only by veterinarians but also by dog trainers as this is a great way to keep dogs active when bored at home alone or bored while you are working from home.

4. What Is The Toughest Toy For A Dog?

You cannot go wrong with Kong. Kongs are not completely indestructible, but they are one of the toughest dog toys available around.

Kong Rubber toys are carefully designed to last, while they are safe at the same time.

Dogs have chewing instincts that they may display differently, so providing them with a chew toy can only benefit them.

5. Can A Dog Be Left Alone For 8 Hours?

In general, puppies should not be left alone, especially not for long hours.

Adult dogs, dogs who are older than 18 months, can be left alone at home for a period between 4 and 8 hours.

Once used to be left alone adult dogs will usually sleep until you return (this is the case if a dog is trained well).