Are you a part of the “WFH” club now? Working from home can be great… as long as you can keep your furry friends occupied and entertained!
Working from Home with a Dog
Ever since the spring of 2020, our worlds have been turned upside down! Everyone’s rhythms, lifestyles, and realities have changed quite a bit as we try to navigate our “new normal.”
Ever since the pandemic-fueled push to WFH (work from home), companies have realized that we can all be trusted to get our jobs done at home. Not only that, but we can actually be more productive while working from home.
We’ve set up our home offices. We’ve learned the best backgrounds and lighting to use for video calls. And we’ve determined that keeping a routine and schedule—even while working from home—actually helps us to feel productive, focused, and normal.
But what do we do with our precious pups while we’re trying to have those important meetings or racing to meet a crucial deadline?
4 Tips & Tricks for a “Working from Home” Dog Schedule
Just like us, dogs appreciate a regular schedule. In fact, they may even crave it more than we do. Your dog loves knowing your routines and expectations. And now that you’re working at home, your schedule looks very different to him or her.
As fun as it is to be at home together all day long, it might cause your dog to think that means it’s playtime all day long. And while you might wish that was your full-time job, there has to be a way to get work done with your furry coworker by your side.
- Walk your dog before starting work
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of walking your dog at least once a day to help them get all that crazy, anxious energy out. Remember… our dogs were bred to be hunters, herders, and workers. And now they sit around all day, getting stir-crazy for that much needed outdoor playtime.
VCA Hospitals tell us that “insufficient exercise can contribute to problem behaviors including destructiveness (chewing and digging), investigative behavior (garbage raiding), hyperactivity, unruliness, excitability, attention-getting behaviors, and even some forms of barking.”
We’ve all experienced these issues with our pups from time to time—especially when we’re trying to work from home. And walking them first thing in the morning will help you both start off on the right foot (or paw).
- Take quarterly doggy breaks for 10-15 minutes
When you take a lunch break, spend a little time playing with your pup, throwing a ball, or taking them on another walk. And if you take a couple of breaks for just 10-15 minutes mid-morning and mid-afternoon, this will help break up the day for you and your dog.
Depending on your dog’s breed, he or she might need more exercise or mental stimulation than others. You can check out breed personality traits on the American Kennel Club’s website. The more you know about your dog, the better you’ll be able to take care of his or her specific needs.
- Have a dog-free work space
This is a tough one because we all love having our precious pups right by our sides. And if this tip isn’t for you, it’s ok. But if you can create a separate, dog-free work zone, you’ll be able to focus a lot better! Otherwise, every time you see how stinking cute your dog’s face is, you’ll want to stop working to pet, pet, pet. All this leads to getting behind on work.
- Keep your dog entertained
Even if you take breaks for playtime and exercise throughout the day, your dog may need something more to keep them entertained while you’re working. Whether that’s a chew toy, a TV show, or a long-lasting treat… your pup will leave you alone to work with something fun, delicious, or interesting just for him or her.
How to Keep Your Dog Entertained While Working from Home
Here are some ideas for ways to keep your dog happy and busy while you’re trying to get your work done.
You may have noticed that I mentioned using a TV show to keep your dog entertained. This might sound a little crazy… but bear with me! While you can put on one of your regular shows to help distract your dog and keep them calm, there are shows just for dogs.
“DOGTV offers a myriad of programs created exclusively for canines, scientifically designed to help keep them calm, relaxed and entertained throughout the day.” It is subscription-based, just like all of your other streaming services. This could be a great way to help your dog stay relaxed and mentally stimulated throughout the day.
- Long-lasting chews
The most popular long-lasting chews on the market these days are bully sticks. The Daily Dog has a Buyer’s Guide—written by a veterinary professional—exclusively about bully sticks. You can check out our bully stick Top Picks here.
Bully sticks are highly digestible, single-ingredient, long-lasting chews made from beef. They are a great source of protein, perfect for improving your dog’s dental health, and your pup will absolutely love the taste!
Just remember to keep treats at a minimum. Snacks—even healthy ones—should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet. Otherwise, they could struggle with obesity, which can lead to all sorts of other health problems.
- DIY dog treats
You can actually make your own long-lasting dog treats at home! Be sure to only use dog-friendly ingredients like bananas, blueberries, or peanut butter. Avoid added sugar, but especially avoid xylitol because it’s poisonous for dogs.
If you mash up the dog-friendly ingredients, you can freeze them in a KONG toy or in an ice cube tray. Read The Daily Dog’s full review of the classic KONG here. You could even use a dog treat as the “stick” of a doggy popsicle. Frozen treats will keep your pup occupied for quite a while.
- Quiet enrichment toys
Although our dogs love toys of all kinds, there are some created to specifically keep them entertained longer. Some dog toys are even created to give your pup some extra mental stimulation. Our dogs are very intelligent creatures, and they love a good challenge. So let’s check out some of the best enrichment toys that will help your dog stay entertained, so you can stay productive.
Best Quiet Enrichment Toys to Keep Dogs Busy
There are all sorts of toys with varying qualities to keep your dog occupied, entertained, and mentally stimulated. So let’s check out some of the best enrichment toys on the market. We’ve made sure to focus on only quiet enrichment toys. After all, who wants a constant squeak in the background of your video call?
As mentioned above, KONG toys are some of the most popular quiet enrichment toys. You can get the classic KONG toy with room to stuff peanut butter inside. Or you can choose one of their many other toys with ropes or their treat-dispensing toys.
- Dog Treat Toy Ball
This dog treat toy ball is fun and entertaining for your canine. They’ll be entertained for quite a while—digging out all of the treats as the ball rolls around. And the ridges help to clean their teeth at the same time. Plus, it’s made out of rubber so it’s not too loud when rolling around.
- Chuckit! Canine Hardware Indoor Roller Dog Toy
Chuckit! toys are great for keeping your pup entertained and on the move. The popular original Chuckit! ball was made for outdoor play (read The Daily Dog’s full review here). But this quieter, “roller dog toy” is actually made for indoor play.
- LickiMat Wobble
Licking dog mats are a great way to keep your pup busy while you work, or even while you have company over. Just spread some peanut butter on it, and freeze it ahead of time for maximum distraction. This mat is also slightly bowl-shaped to give a little wobble while your dog licks.
- Dog Puzzle Toys
You may have seen these dog puzzle toys before. With these toys, your dog moves the plastic pieces around to find the pieces of dog food or treats you put into the puzzle. It’s a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and entertained.
- FOFOS Dog Sniff Mat
This toy is pretty unique. It has the same general concept of the dog puzzle, but you’ll hide treats or dog food pieces under the little fabric flaps of mat. Your dog will love using their sniffing skills!
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