More time working from home means more time to play, and our dogs can’t get enough of the extra games of catch or impromptu belly rubs. But when you need to get down to business, or hop into a meeting, it can be tough to turn down another game of hide and seek. So here are a few tips to keep them entertained when you have to clock in.
When was the last time your dog got bored of fetch? Never? Nobody has time to throw a ball all day, but many dogs would chase one until they’re exhausted. The solution is an automatic ball launcher. You can set the device up and let your pup run for hours without you having to lift a finger. Look for one that works indoors or outdoors so you can be flexible with where you work.
The Toy: Petsafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
Dogs love to tug, but that usually requires someone on the other end to pull back. If you’re not available for a tug-of-war match, leave the work to a bungee toy that attaches to the ceiling instead. For smaller dogs, indoor versions of these toys work great — just set it up in an open part of your home and let them go nuts.
The Toy: Tumbo Indoor Tiny Tugger Hanging Bungee Powered Plush Dog Toy
If you thought puzzles were just for humans, think again. Your dog might not be able to beat you at Risk, but you can bet she’ll figure out how to make treats come out of a tricky toy. Choose one that requires your pup to turn something or push a lever to dispense a treat. It’s even better if the game has multiple levels of difficulty. Once she learns the secret, she’ll have fun making treats appear out of thin air. Be sure to pick an option that can stand up to the size of your dog!
The Toy: Trixie Windmill Dog Activity Strategy Game; Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Dog Toy
Not all dogs are cut out for complicated games or puzzles. Some just want to lick peanut butter — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Licking is a great way for dogs to self-soothe, which helps keep them calm and entertained. All you have to do is choose a durable, safe toy, add some pet-safe peanut butter, and let them have at it. Pro tip: The treat will last even longer if you freeze it first.
The Toy: KONG Classic Dog Toy
Sniffing is a basic instinct in dogs, so look for a toy that lets them use their sense of smell. Snuffle mats are great for this because they provide an opportunity for your pup to use her nose to search for treats. You can easily make your own by cutting fleece material into strips and tying it into the holes of a rubber sink mat. Then simply hide small, dry treats in between the pieces of fleece for her to find and enjoy.
The Toy: DIY Snuffle Mat
Even when you can’t spend every moment playing with your pup, you can make sure she won’t be bored during a workday. These toys and tricks will provide hours of entertainment and enrichment so you won’t feel guilty when it’s time to get some work done.
Lani Furbank is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lanifurbank or read her work at LanisCupOfTea.com.