Work Smarter, Not Harder: Mental Stimulation Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Your Work on Track
It’s a lot – juggling kids, deadlines, laundry loads and important work presentations. But what if you have an excitable pup who also needs some of your attention during the day? How can you balance your furry friend’s needs whilst getting everything else done too?
As mums, we’re used to doing more than one thing at once. In fact, it’s a bit of a speciality of ours. But we’re also good at finding solutions that can help us. So, what are some mental stimulation activities for dogs that can free up a bit of time and ensure they don’t start barking just as you unmute yourself on that important Zoom call?
In this article, we’re going to go through some of the best ways that we’ve found to keep dogs entertained whilst we’re otherwise busy. By adding a couple of these into your day, you can rest assured knowing that your pup is happy and entertained so that you can get on with everything else you need to be doing.
5 Tips to Make Working From Home Easier With a Dog
There are a number of things you can do to keep your dog busy during the day. Whether you’re working full-time or part-time, whatever your budget, there are lots of fun ways to ensure your pup is stimulated and safe whilst you’re working.
Tip #1: Dog Stimulation Toys
Toys are one of the easiest ways to keep your pooch stimulated – but you need to be careful about the kind of toys you buy them. For instance, a ball or any other toy that needs your input will double the amount of work you have to do.
Look for puzzle toys or interactive toys that your pup can play with alone. Puzzle toys come in all different shapes and sizes and some are more difficult than others. You can hide treats in them which will give your pup some extra encouragement!
Make sure you don’t get a toy that’s too easy and that they can solve in a matter of seconds. But also not one that’s too hard. You don’t want them getting bored and wandering off to find you!
Tip #2: Snacks Snacks Snacks!
Dogs will try even harder to get your attention if they’re hungry. So, some healthy snacks can stop them from pestering you and keep them entertained.
But we’re not just talking about regular treats. There’s a whole host of ways you can make snack time more interesting (and drag it out a bit). Why not try filling a Classic Kong toy with some doggy-safe peanut butter (no xylitol) or another healthy spread and let them spend a while licking it out?
If you have a fenced-in backyard, you could also try freezing chunks of dog-friendly fruit (such as apple, watermelon or strawberries) and let them pass the time licking them down. But really, do it outside. You don’t want half-melted strawberries all over the carpet!
If you fancy, you could even make your own pupsicle. Trust us, on a hot day this is one of the best mental stimulation activities for dogs.
Tip #3: Tire Them Out
Mornings can be difficult in a busy house before the kids go off to school but it can also be a really useful time to let the pup burn off some steam. If possible (and let’s be honest, it will be half an hour of alone time too), try to take the dog out nice and early. By letting them run around and do their business, they’re less likely to interrupt you to play or because they need to go outside. That gives you plenty of time to get on with your work.
If your kids are old enough, you could also get them to take them out before school. Or, why not bring the dog along on the school run for a bit of extra stimulation? Not only will exercising them early tire them out but new sites, sounds and people are great mental stimulation too.
Tip #4: Train Them Young
It’s not uncommon for dogs, especially some breeds, to suffer from separation anxiety. This can make closing the office door difficult, especially when your dog does everything they can to get in.
If you can, train your puppy from a young age to spend little amounts of time alone. Make sure they have plenty of dog stimulation toys to keep them occupied and never leave them alone for long periods. You can gradually build it up so that they won’t even notice when you’re missing for a meeting!
It’s best to keep training sessions short and fun so dogs stay engaged. It can even be a great way for you and your dog to take a break from home office life.
Tip #5: Doggie Daycare
Sometimes, you know you’re going to have a really busy day well in advance. The diary keeps filling up and finding time to make sure your pup isn’t bored can seem impossible. On these days, taking your dog to a professional doggie daycare can be a great idea. Socialising with other dogs is another way to keep your pup stimulated. They learn key doggie skills, make friends and can play lots of different games.
Specialist facilities even offer enrichment sessions with trained professionals so you know your pup is in good hands and having lots of fun. You can drop your pooch off in the morning and pick them up at lunch or later on – depending on how hectic your day is. You can even combine it with a grooming session, which is just one less thing to do another day!
It’s Possible to Harmonise Working At Home and Pet Care
It can be really difficult managing work, kids and a furry friend. Especially on particularly stressful days. All of these little tips, however, should help to ensure your pup is happy, engaged and that they’ll leave you to get on with your work.
Having a dog around the house is also a great excuse to make sure you’re taking enough breaks. Mental stimulation for dogs is important but you also need to make sure your brain is engaged to work – and breaks can help! 🙂
Christine Hough is the owner and operator of The Dog Dazzlers. The Dog Dazzlers is a purpose-built dog daycare and grooming facility in Burwood, Victoria. She absolutely loves dogs of all breeds and sizes, and runs the family business with her two daughters, Sam and Jen. They help ensure that busy mums can go about their day, knowing their fur babies are happy and having fun at daycare.