Dogs > Work
This year, Covid-19 has changed the workflow for a lot of us. We find ourselves working from home for the first time, and in the beginning, we think it's a luxury. You soon realize all the little distractions around the house, especially the cute, fluffy kind. Yes, I'm looking at you doggo. It's so hard to resist their sweet innocent face when they want to go for a walk, play ball, or simply want pets. However, the work still needs to be done and your pup barks for attention every time you're on a Zoom call. Here are a few ideas to keep your dog happily entertained while you get through those thousands of emails. Please note: on some links, I may earn a very small percentage on qualified orders. This in no way has skewed my opinion for this article.
1. A SPA DAY AT YOUR LOCAL DOG GROOMER
With businesses opening back up after being closed for months, I am sure your dog could use a fresh cut or even just a deep cleaning bath. Your pup can be freshly groomed and out of the house for a few hours. Plus, if they’re anything like my dog, she's always tired after being groomed. Looking that good is hard work! I love where my goes, Wüf Pet Spa, who was voted Best of Cincinnati's Best Pet Grooming in 2020! You can also check out this Yelp article on the top 10 best dog groomers in Cincinnati.
2. A GETAWAY AT DOGGY DAYCARE
After quarantine, I am sure we could all do with some socialization, your pup included. Send them off to doggy daycare a few times a week to get all that energy out and regain their social skills. Red Dog Pet Resort & Spa, Classy Canines Pet Sitting, TailWaggers Doggy Daycare, and The Pet Spot are a few local options. Check them out and tell me what you think!
3. AUTOMATIC TENNIS BALL LAUNCHER
According to a study done by behavior ecologists, playing fetch may not necessarily be exclusive to domesticated dogs. This study showed that wolves and their early ancestors have the inherent need or desire to play fetch. Not only does it provide great exercise for your pet, it gives them a task that for many breeds fulfills an innate need to hunt down and retrieve things. Let’s not forget the bond strengthening that occurs when playing with your best friend and the fact that they will probably nap afterward! I recommend the iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher.
4. TREAT DISPENSER
Dogs are not alone in their need to be rewarded for good behavior or special tricks. Even us humans like to take breaks and have a snack or a special beverage. Why not take the work out of rewarding your pup? Enter the automatic dog treat dispenser. If you are busy with a deadline and don’t have any time to reward your special friend, these products are able to work right from an app on your phone. See your pup do something special? With the click of a button you can give them a reward and keep pushing through on your big deadline without interruption. Some even have cameras for when you aren’t at home! If you want to keep it simple, click here for the one I use with my pup.
5. SNUFFLE MAT
You may be asking, what in the world is a Snuffle Mat and why does my dog need one? Believe me, I asked the same thing when I first heard someone talking about it. A snuffle mat is a brain game made from a rubber sink mat with fleece strips knotted through the holes of the mat. You can actually make your own or order from a variety of choices on Amazon. It may look silly but once you add bits of treats and dog food to the mat your dog will be occupied for hours looking for all of the goodies! Dogs prefer to investigate the world with their noses so this satisfies that need and rewards them at the same time.
6. LICK MAT
This may seem somewhat messy but a lick mat can actually help to reduce anxiety and calm your dog by releasing endorphins through the promotion of licking. Not only can it keep your pet entertained, but you can use this to distract them during stressful events such as vet visits, nail clippings, or thunderstorms. It works with treats and foods such as peanut butter, yogurt, and wet dog foods. Recommended by vets and trainers, it can also help with dental health as the saliva production helps to protect your pup’s teeth and gums. You can’t go wrong with this fun and interactive product!
7. SMART BONE
What will they think of next? Every dog loves a good bone but who knew there is now a Smart Bone?! This bone will keep your dog busy and give him some much needed exercise and you can control it from an app on your phone. It can chase your dog as well as run away from your dog. Continue to work on that deadline while this bone does all of the hard labor and your dog is fully entertained!
8. PET FITNESS ROBOT
Along the lines of the interactive bone, this ball can become an instant companion for your pup and keep him playing for hours. No app is required and it is a completely interactive toy with three different modes.
9. INTERACTIVE DOG PUZZLE
Dogs can have board games too? This flip board is perfect to entertain your bestie while also stimulating his brain. Dogs are naturally very curious and inquisitive, and just like humans, need to be challenged intellectually.
10. DOG TV
Have you ever left your TV on for your pup when you leave the house? I do it all of the time! Enter DOGTV! DOGTV is science-backed TV programming for dogs. The programs are based on a dog’s daily cycle and they help to prevent boredom and provide the intellectual stimulation that dogs need. Not only are there relaxing shows for your pup but there are many educational and entertaining shows for the pet lover in you. Sign up for a monthly or a yearly plan here!
11. HIDE AND SEEK PLUSHIES
Dogs love hide and seek just as much as kids do. Hide and seek plushies can satisfy that need to seek and find toys or rewards. They come in all shapes and sizes but I love this milk and cookies one the best!
12. SUCTION-CUP TUG-A-WAR
Chewing and pulling are a natural desire for dogs. Anyone else have to replace their tennis shoes when you first get a puppy? Me! This need to chew and pull actually continues on through adulthood and helps to keep their chewing muscles strong, their teeth healthy, and their brains engaged. This toy is the perfect substitution for playing tug of war with your best friend. You can suction it to a hard surface and let Fido have at it while you work from home.
13. GIANT BONES
If you have an aggressive chewer a giant dog bone can keep your pup busy for days. This bone in particular will thrill your dog as it is meaty and delicious as well as nutritious. It is also eco friendly, safe, and great for your dog’s teeth and gums. Make sure you have them chew it on a floor you can easily clean. No need to add to your cleaning duties!
14. HIRE A DOG WALKER
A dog walker can be an affordable and valuable resource for your family. You can research local dog walkers at Rover.com and even read reviews from others who have used certain walkers. Who knows, maybe you will keep your dog walker when you head back to your work place after restrictions are lifted.
15. GET A SECOND DOG
Back to the need for the recent increased need for socialization, why not get a friend for your pup? If you can afford to add another member to the family go out and adopt a brother or sister for your best friend and let them entertain each other. Be sure to check with the adoption agency to make sure your new pup gets along with other dogs and kids if you have them. We all need a good friend, especially right now! Animal rescue is an issue that is near and dear to my heart and you can find me most Saturdays volunteering with the Stray Animal Adoption Program here in Cincinnati and you can see some of my dog photography here. To find more information about my recue work and how to get involved go here.
Our dogs are a part of our family and we should treat them as such. Keeping them healthy, stimulated, and occupied is always going to be a priority. There are many more options other than the ones listed above but I hope that you are inspired to try something new with your pup during these very different times. What are some of the ways that you keep your dog busy while you are at home and while you are away from the home? Comment below and let me know!