Lockdown special: How to keep your dog entertained when working from home

On 5 November 2020, England entered its second coronavirus lockdown. Once again I was working from home full time. Working from home is means less time commuting and more time for things that you want to do like ‘walkies’!

However, working from home is also very frustrating for your pooch. My dog (Sash) is one of the most laid back and laziest four legged creatures I’ve ever met. She sleeps all day when we’re not here. We have video evidence.

Not only are my constant calls and background noise distracting her and disturbing her endless slumber, she doesn’t understand why I spend hours staring at a screen and not focusing on her. I often have a gentle paw placed on my leg, the back of my hand licked, and hear teenage huffs and puffs when she can’t sleep.

This lockdown I decided to do something different. I wanted to do something that would keep her entertained while I work. I scoured the internet for ideas and picked a few things to try.

Below I detail how my rather intelligent, lazy, slightly overweight, 10 year old Sharpei-Staffie responded a variety of options. I know that the ratings would be completely different for her best friend Willow (an excitable puppy sprocker spaniel). You will have to test these methods yourself to see what works best for you and your dog(s).

I would love your suggestions, recommendations, thoughts and ideas. Please leave us a comment!

Treat them

Overall, we’re not impressed with the treat options. Sash, our pooch, loves them, but they don’t last long enough. She’s soon at my feet asking for more. Plus, she’s slightly overweight and so I’m not sure that continuously feeding her outside of her meals is a good idea. Sash was not impressed when we started portioning her meals to accommodate the treats!

Kongs

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Kongs have to be the most popular suggestion that we’ve seen. Even our vet suggested them. Our pooch loves a Kong filled with dog meat, treats, rice and chicken, anything! But it lasts about 5 minutes and then she’s done.

Scavenger hunts

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I love this idea. If we had a bigger property I think that this would really work and keep our pooch entertained for hours. Unfortunately, our one bedroom apartment (even with the garden) doesn’t have enough hiding spaces.

Treat puzzles

Rating: 2 out of 5.

There are a wide variety of puzzles to keep your pooch entertained. Sash enjoyed it until the treats ran out. Plus she seemed to enjoy it more when we were teaching her than when she was playing with it by herself.

Iced treats

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Sash got bored. Plus, I couldn’t find any treats worth ‘icing’. My pooch isn’t interested in anything vegetable (my friend’s dog loves a frozen carrot) and her treats disintegrated in water.

Snuffle matts

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Snuffle matts were new to me. I liked the idea, but again Sash quickly found the treats and got bored. Would be very interested to hear of other, no treat, ways to use these matts.

Distract them

Toys

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Sash has a number of toys including rubber chews, tuggies and Dino the soft toy Dinosaur (who she loves). But she doesn’t want to play with these toys on her own. She only enjoys them when playing with us.

Busy buckets

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I don’t really get busy buckets. It felt like we were just tidying away her toys and chews into a bucket, and adding a few treats. Which she proceeded to unpack, eat the treats and go back to her long lasting chews.

Long lasting chews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bones, rawhide bones, antlers and other animal parts worked really well with Sash. She chewed and chewed until her gums bled. For us, these were the most successful items.

Outsource them

Hire a dog walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This keeps dog walkers busy and employed, entertains your dog in the day and gives you time and space to concentrate. We do have a dog walker on hand and this really helps break up Sash’s day.

Send your dog to daycare

Rating: 1 out of 5.

While this lockdown doesn’t require ‘non-essential’ businesses to close, many dog daycare providers aren’t taking on new dogs in an effort to reduce interaction with people and risk COVID 19 exposure.

Organise playdates

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Playdates are a great idea. I just need to find friends with dogs who aren’t working and so have the time to spare.

Tire them

Training sessions

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We both loved this. It’s a really nice way to spend time with your pooch and an opportunity to really focus on them and give them praise. I found that training sessions throughout the day added some structure. Morning breaks, lunch and afternoon breaks. I didn’t teach her anything new, but reinforced good behaviours.

Walks throughout the day

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you follow us on Instagram, you will know that we love a big walk before work. It tires Sash out and sets me up for the day. Long walks in the morning give me peace till about midday. I rarely get time to eat let alone eat and do another dog walk, so by the afternoon our pooch can be bored and looking for attention.

Doga

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m a yoga buff and so doing yoga while stroking your dog was fun. Sash thought that I was playing – my face was licked a lot! We found a good video. Sash didn’t do the moves, but enjoyed me trying to make her do them. She spent a lot of time with her head to one side trying to work out what I was saying.

Prepare for normality

It was recommended in most of the sources to prepare for normality. Your pooch will get used to you being around all the time and it can increase separation anxiety. Make sure that you still go out without your dog. Go to the shop, go for a run, spend an hour away from your dog.

Sources

© One Owner to Another 2020. All rights reserved. Nothing, including content and pictures, from this site can be reproduced without prior permission.
All of the information and recommendations on this site are from personal experience and unpaid. Any paid recommendations are clearly marked with ‘[AD]’.

3 thoughts on “Lockdown special: How to keep your dog entertained when working from home

  1. You are very lucky to be able to work from home during these uncertain times. I loved this blog. Scarlett flies through little treats like kongs and puzzles, but we do love when a chew lasts her a long time. It is rare to find a great one. I think that the best option are those long walks and playtime, like Sash, Scarlett is lazy and will snooze the day away if she’s worn out!

    Liked by 1 person

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