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How to Keep Your Dog Entertained: Ideas for Busy Pet Owners

Discover practical and creative ways to keep your dog entertained even if you're busy. Ensure your furry friend stays happy & engaged throughout the day! 🐶
Written by Mark Braeden

It can be very difficult to keep your dog entertained, especially. when you’re away at work or off running errands all day. Dogs, like people, require mental stimulation, physical exercise, and social interaction to stay healthy and happy. Below, we’ll share with you some practical and creative ways to keep your dog entertained. It will also help you to better understand Fido’s needs, including whether or not you need to hire outside help (such as a pet sitter or dog walker). 

Understanding Your Dog’s Needs

Dogs have different needs depending on their breed, personality, and age. It’s essential to know your pup’s temperament and tastes so that you can create a tailored entertainment plan. Here are three critical areas to consider.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is crucial for your pup’s cognitive development and emotional well-being. Dogs are intelligent creatures that need to exercise their minds just like their bodies. Interactive toys, puzzles, and games help keep Fido mentally stimulated and prevent boredom-related behaviors like destructive chewing or excessive barking.

One great way to engage your dog’s mind is through food puzzles. These toys challenge your dog’s problem-solving skills by rewarding them with treats or kibble which is hidden inside. You can find food puzzles in various shapes and sizes, from simple toys to more complex multi-level designs. Experiment with different types of puzzles to see which ones your dog enjoys the most.

dog toys for when you're not home

Physical Exercise and Playtime

Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and burn off excess energy. Dogs that don’t have a regular exercise routine tend to be overweight and exhibit behavioral problems.

Depending on your dog’s size and breed, they may need different levels of exercise. For example, a small lap dog may only need brief walks around the block, while a high-energy working dog may require more vigorous exercise, like running or hiking. 

Playtime is essential for your dog’s physical and mental health. Playing fetch, tug-of-war, or chasing games can help your pooch bond with you and release pent-up energy. It’s important to choose safe and appropriate toys for your dog’s playtime. Avoid giving them anything that could be a choking hazard or toxic if swallowed.

Besides traditional exercise and playtime, you can also try other activities to keep Fido active and engaged. For example, you can take your dog swimming, design your own agility course, or even try dog yoga (also known as “doga“).

You can encourage physical exercise, even when your dog is home alone, with a window seat. Along with getting exercise when jumping on and off of the seat, they’ll be able to see outdoors which can fight off boredom and keep them stimulated.

Physical Exercise and Playtime keeps dogs entertained while you're away

Social Interaction and Bonding

Dogs enjoy both giving and receiving affection. Spending quality time with your dog can increase their happiness and reduce stress levels, both for them and you. Dogs that lack social interaction may develop anxiety or depression, leading to destructive behaviors or aggression.

Make time each day to cuddle, pet, and play with Fido before you leave home. Take them on social outings to dog parks or dog-friendly cafes to meet other pups and people. Dog training classes or a canine sports program, such as agility or flyball, are also great ideas! They can interact with other pups AND learn new skills.

If you have multiple furry friends, it’s essential to give each one individual attention and socialization. Recent studies show that dogs can develop jealousy or compete for attention, leading to conflicts or behavioral problems. Make sure both of your pups have their own toys, food, and sleeping area, and spend one-on-one time with each one regularly.

Understanding your dog’s needs and providing them with appropriate mental stimulation, physical exercise, and social interaction can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.

Preparing Your Home for Your Dog’s Entertainment

Your dog is more than a pet. They are part of your family. As such, it’s important to ensure that their environment is safe, comfortable, and entertaining. Here are three areas to consider when prepping your home for your dog’s entertainment.

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Space

Your furry friend’s space should be a haven of comfort and relaxation. Similar to humans, dogs need a comfortable place to rest and recharge. Make sure your home is dog-proofed by removing any hazardous items, such as toxic chemicals or choking hazards. Keep electrical cords out of reach and secure any loose furniture that could potentially fall on Fido. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Provide your pooch with a cozy bed, blankets, and toys to keep them entertained and relaxed while you’re away. Consider investing in a comfortable dog bed that supports Fido’s joints and provides him with a sense of security. You could also add a few blankets or pillows to make the space even cozier. In addition, always offer plenty of fresh water and a healthy, balanced diet.

If you’re concerned about your dog getting into mischief while you’re away, you can use a baby gate or crate to limit access to certain areas of the house. This can help prevent accidents and keep your furry friend safe and secure.

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Space

Providing Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Interactive toys and puzzles are excellent ways to keep your dog entertained when you’re not home. Not only do they provide mental stimulation, but they also help prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Make sure to rotate your dog’s toys regularly to keep them interested and engaged. You could also try making DIY toys at home, like hiding treats in an empty cardboard box, or freezing Kong toys filled with peanut butter or yogurt.

Check out the video below for some more ideas for simple DIY dog puzzle toys:

Setting Up a Dog-Friendly Environment

Dogs love to explore their surroundings with their senses, so create a safe and friendly environment where they can do so. Set up a designated play area in your yard or balcony with chew toys, tunnels, or a small pool. If you don’t have the benefit of a private outdoor area, consider setting up an indoor play area with a variety of toys and games.

Create a sensory garden by planting dog-friendly herbs like lavender or mint. These plants not only provide a pleasant scent, but they also have calming properties that can help soothe your furry friend. You could also create a digging pit filled with sand or dirt, which will allow your dog to indulge their natural digging instincts.

Consider installing a doggy door to make it easy for your dog to come and go as they please. This will let them explore their surroundings and get some exercise whenever they feel the urge. If you’re concerned about security, you could install a lockable doggy door that only opens with a special collar or tag.

By following these tips, you can create a safe, comfortable, and entertaining environment for your furry friend. Remember, a happy dog is a healthy dog!

Incorporating Technology for Dog Entertainment

Technology has made it easier than ever to keep your dog entertained whether you are home or away. Here are three ways to incorporate technology into your dog’s entertainment routine.

Automatic Treat Dispensers

Automatic treat dispensers are devices you can program to dispense treats at certain times or intervals. Some treat dispensers have built-in cameras, microphones, and speakers, allowing you to see and talk to your dog while you’re away. You can also customize the size and number of treats dispensed, depending on your dog’s dietary needs and preferences.

How puppod is tossing treat to a pup

Interactive Pet Cameras

Interactive pet cameras are another great tool for keeping your dog entertained and connected to you. Some cameras allow two-way communication, so you can speak to and hear your dog from your phone or computer. Others offer motion detection, so you can receive alerts if your dog is barking or moving around. You can even use some cameras to dispense treats or play games with your dog remotely.

Placing Furbo dog camera in my living room

Dog TV and Music Channels

Lastly, consider subscribing to a dog TV or music channel. These channels feature sights and sounds that are specifically designed to entertain dogs, such as calming nature scenes or upbeat music. Some channels also include interactive features like games and training exercises, which can help keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

Hiring Professional Help for Your Dog

If you work long hours or are away from home a lot, you might need to rely on professional help for your dog’s entertainment. Here are three options to consider.

Dog Walkers and Daycare Services

If you work long hours or have a busy schedule, hiring a dog walker or doggie daycare service can help give your dog the exercise and social interaction they need. Dog walkers can take your dog on regular walks during the day, while daycare services offer playtime, interaction with other dogs, and even training classes.

In-Home Pet Sitters

If you prefer your dog to stay in the comfort of your home, consider hiring an in-home pet sitter. A pet sitter can come to your home and provide care and attention to your dog while you’re away. They can also maintain your dog’s routine, such as feeding and medication schedules, and provide you with updates and photos.

Training and Obedience Classes

Finally, consider enrolling your dog in training or obedience classes. These classes can provide structure and socialization for your dog and help build their confidence and skills. You can also learn new ways to keep your dog entertained and stimulated at home.


Keeping your dog entertained while you’re at home or away is essential for their health and well-being. You can start by understanding your dog’s needs and preparing your home for their entertainment. There are an array of toys and games, including high-tech gadgets, that can help with this effort. These products can further help you to bond and build a close relationship with your furry friend. If needed, you can hire professional help to keep your dog safe and engaged if you’re away from home a lot. 

What are some of your favorite ways to keep your dog entertained when you’re away from home? Share in the comments section!


  • Mark Braeden

    Mark is a Boston University graduate and former electrical engineer. In 2017, he decided to combine his tech knowledge with his love for dogs. He spent a year familiarizing himself with the latest GPS tracking collars, invisible fences, and other hot pet gadgets before he wrote his first product review. After selling Technobark, Mark remained a writer and consultant but spends more time on his other passion now: raising and training his growing family of dogs.

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