17 Ways To Keep Your Dog Busy While At Work

Leaving your dog home alone is inevitable for many working dog owners. However, this doesn't have to represent a problem as there are many ways to keep your pet busy while away at work. Check out these 17 tips and see what works for your dog!

how to keep dog busy

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

So, in order to prevent that you have to keep your dog occupied while you’re away at work. This is an article about just that – how to keep your dog busy!

1. Increase Physical Activity

This is probably one of the easiest solutions, if the reason behind your dog’s destructive behavior is 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 he or she has too much energy, and nowhere to get rid of it, it’s very possible that your dog will end up doing things you don’t want it 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 the destructive behavior.

2. Leave Out Toys

Certain toys can be very effective when you want to keep your dog’s mind off from thing. If it’s a toy you can stuff, you can use something your dog likes such as peanut butter. This will keep your dog occupied for a certain period of time for sure.

There are a lot of toys to choose from, all from stuff to chewing toys. Some are especially 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!

3. Make A Busy Bucket

If you don’t want to buy an already-made dog toy, you can make your own “busy bucket”. In order to do that, take a plastic or aluminium 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!

4. Leave The TV On

Before you leave the house, turn the TV on and leave the 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.

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, 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.

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

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, it won’t have time for destructive behavior while trying to uncover the treats.

8. Schedule A Playdate

This can’t be an every-day solution, but at 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 company while you’re at work.

However, don’t set up random playdates 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.

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 company of other dogs and can adapt easily to new environments this could be the solution for you!

Before you do enroll your dog in a 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 meat the staff and check out the overall atmosphere there.

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.

how to keep dog busy

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 you dog forget 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.

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 with 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 out a bowl of water just in case while you’re away.

13. Calm Your Dog

If you know that your dog becomes anxious when home alone, there are certain things you can do in order to calm him or her. For example, you can apply calming essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, on your dog’s bedding. So simple – but usually works!

You can also try Sleepytime Tonic to the meals or using 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 him or her 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 mind-set.

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

15. Leave Out Paper Boxes

So simple, but so effective! 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!

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 the barking and the 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.

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!

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 the Petcube in the video below.


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, 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 these were only 17 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!

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1 comment

  • John

    I really want to get a dog but I’m at school from 8:30-3:00 and I’m the last to leave the house and get back. How can I convince my mum that a dog is a good idea and it will be loved and cared for