wikiHow to Keep Your Dog Busy for Hours

Four Methods:Keeping Your Dog Busy at HomeTaking Your Dog to the Pet ParkPlaying With KONG ToysGoing to School

Do you have a high-energy pooch who just can’t relax? Do you feel guilty about leaving your dog at home while you go to work all day? Finding something to keep your dog occupied can seem difficult. In fact, there are many options to engage your dog’s mind and body. Whether its a game, an entertaining show, or a learning opportunity, finding an activity that will keep your dog busy for hours is really not that hard.

Method 1
Keeping Your Dog Busy at Home

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    Bring your dog a friend. Dogs love playing together.[1] Together, your dogs will have hours of fun sniffing each other, chasing one another around the house, and cuddling together on the sofa.
    • Make sure your new pet gets along with your original one. Rescue shelters usually allow you to foster a pet before you adopt it permanently. Treat the fostering period as a trial run.
    • Ensure your new pet is vaccinated and receives all its shots. If you do not spay or neuter your pets, get a dog which is the same sex as your original dog.
    • You might also choose to get another house pet, such as a cat or pig. Both can befriend your dog and offer a source of steadfast companionship. Just as you would with another dog, though, make sure your new pet gets all of his or her shots and vaccines.
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    Turn on the TV. Dogs have excellent vision and are very attentive to moving images.[2] If you have Animal Planet, Nat Geo, or a similar station which features lots of pet and animal programming, your pet will like those best.
    • Not every breed will be amused by television. But if you have one that is, such as a terrier or bichon frise, your doggy will have hours of amusement ahead of them.
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    Give your dog a toy. There are a variety of options, all of which provide many hours of fun for your dog. Which toy you choose depends on your dog's preferences. If one toy fails to keep your pet busy, try another.
    • Chew toys can offer hours of fun for a good dog. Whether they are a simple rope knotted at the ends or a more complex design of cloth covering a squeaker, chew toys provide dogs with tons of fun.
    • Rawhide dog bones are also fun for dogs. A dog can easily pass the whole day gnawing on a rawhide bone.
    • Balls and rolling toys are great fun, and dogs will playfully chase a ball toy for hours.
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    Play tug of war with your dog. This can be a great outlet for your dog’s pent-up energy after he or she waited all day to see you. Choose a soft toy of fleece or soft rope, something which will be both gentle on your hand and the dog’s jaw.[3]
    • While you could just give the toy a gentle wiggle after your dog has grabbed it in its mouth, and pull until either you or the dog let go, it’s best to use the game as a teaching opportunity. After pulling back and forth on the toy for a few moments, make your dog let go of the toy when you tell it to by pulling their face close to yours and intoning the phrase “Drop it” or “Give.”[4] Give him or her a treat after obeying these commands. Initiate a new game of tug to reinforce the lesson.
    • You can also train your dog to pick the toy back up with a command like “Get it!” and offering the toy to them. As before, utilize treats when your dog correctly obeys you. Having learned this command, do not let your dog pull the toy until you tell him or her to “Get it!”
    • Repeat the process with a new game to ensure your pet learns this command. Get another round of tug going immediately so your pet doesn’t become bored.
    • Playing tug of war with your dog simulates a struggle for power/dominance. A pack leader or alpha dog would never play tug of war with another dog in the pack. A dog should therefore surrender the toy to you and wait for you to initiate play.
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    Play hide and seek with your dog.[5] Like humans, dogs are very curious and get anxious when they haven't seen you for awhile. You can take this natural tendency and turn it into a great game for your pet.
    • Hide somewhere accessible like a closet, under the bed, or behind the couch or other large furniture.
    • Wait for your dog to find you.
    • You can accelerate the process if you hold a doggy treat while you wait. The scent will provide a clue for the dog and make a good reward when you've been found.
    • After your dog finds you, start the game again. Hide in a variety of locations so your dog doesn't become bored and always has a challenge.
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    Play fetch. It's a timeless classic. With a rag toy, a stick, a Frisbee, or a tennis ball in hand, throw it as far as you can and let your dog run after it. After he or she picks it up and returns it to you, smiling all the while with that silly grin of anticipation, throw it again! A game of fetch can go on and on.[6]
    • Play in an enclosed area such as a dog park or backyard.
    • Do not play fetch near traffic or busy streets. A mistimed throw or a bad bounce can send the thrown object into traffic, with Fido close behind.
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    Have your dog chase a laser light. A simple laser pointer can make a dog go crazy. With the laser in hand, shine it in a spot where the dog can see it. You may need to attract his or her attention by pointing at the laser light and saying excitedly "Hey! What's that?" When the dog sees the light, they will pursue it. When the dog gets close to the point of light, move it to another visible location 3-5 feet away. A dog can easily wile away hours with this simple game.
    • The laser light excites the dog's natural predator instincts.[7] When they see the zigzagging laser light, they will fixate on it, jumping, clawing, and digging at it until they can "capture" it.
    • Be sure to have extra batteries on hand.
    • You can shine the light while lying down, resting, or watching TV.
    • Laser pointers are readily available at many big box retail stores or online.

Method 2
Taking Your Dog to the Pet Park

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    Take your dog to the dog park. The park has a multitude of smells, sights, and sounds that your dog doesn't encounter every day in his domestic life. The plants and animals, as well as the other dogs and their humans, make the park a place of endless wonder and excitement for a doggy.
    • If the weather and facilities allow, your pet may want to go for a swim. However, beware of waterborne illness and only allow your pet to swim in and drink clean waters.[8]
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    Think of the best time to go.[9] Being surrounded with too many dogs can be bad for the dogs. Crowding can lead to aggression and stress for dogs who are poorly socialized.
    • Most dogs and their humans go to the park in the evening or on weekends. Try to avoid these most busy times.
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    Find an appropriate space for your dog. The kind of park experience your doggy has depends on his or her reproductive status, size, and general attitude.[10]
    • If your dog is small, don’t let him or her play with or near larger dogs; typically, there is a separate area for smaller dogs.
    • Try not to bring dogs younger than 12 weeks old to the dog park. Not only could they get trampled, but their immune systems may not have fully developed yet.[11]
    • If your dog isn’t spayed or neutered, do not let him or her play with doggies of the opposite sex.
    • If your dog is not well-socialized, avoid letting them play with many other dogs. Give them a chance to understand how to interact one-on-one before leaving them to a large crowd. Dogs who are very territorial might try to pick a fight with the wrong dog and get hurt.
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    Pay attention to your dog. Some dog parks can be quite expansive, and are usually leash-free, meaning the dogs can roam wherever they want to within the bounds of the park. Stay nearby and don't let them wander too far afield.
    • Don’t spend all your time looking at your phone, reading a book, or chatting with a friend.[12] While humans as well as dogs can find valuable social time at the dog park, keep your canine friend first and foremost in your mind.
    • Pay attention to your dog’s movements and moods, and encourage them when they see or discover something neat (“Yes, that’s a very fast squirrel over there!”) Treat your doggy as you would your baby and shower them with attention.
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    Look out for conflicts. Like people, not all dogs can get along. If you see trouble brewing, recall your dog immediately. Step in front of your dog if you need to remind them you’re there.
    • In the event of a conflict, recall your dog immediately.
    • Don’t confuse play with conflict. Just because your dog and another are barking at each other doesn’t mean they are fighting. Signs of play include:[13]
      • Barking or growling
      • Playful nips, not full bites
      • Side-to-side, rather than forward movement
      • Rear quarters up with front legs outstretched
    • Signs of real trouble include:
      • Staring at one another
      • Snarling (lifting the lips and revealing teeth)[14]
      • Arched neck
      • Stiff legs
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    Leave nothing behind. Don’t leave empty dog treat boxes or bags on the grass or tables. And under no circumstances should you leave your dog poo behind.[15] Bring some vinyl gloves, a plastic bag, paper towels, and sanitary wipes with you just in case Fido has to do some business.

Method 3
Playing With KONG Toys

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    Give your dog a KONG toy. KONG toys are nontoxic rubber toys with a hollow center. They are available at local pet stores and come in many sizes, with variations appropriate for small puppies up through massive German Shepherds.[16] Since they're hollow, many pet owners use the toys to occupy their dogs for hours on end by stuffing yummy snacks inside for their pet. Find one with an appropriate size and shape for your dog.
    • If it is too big for your dog to pick up and shake in its mouth, it is probably too big.
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    Choose foods your dog will love. Every dog has his or her favorite snack. Some like carrots and celery, others like cheese and sausages. Does your dog prefer dog snacks or human food? Find out what your doggy loves the most and use it in the KONG toy.
    • Some people choose to put less solid foods inside the toy and freeze them. Cottage cheese, gravy, or runny canned foods are good choices for these Kongsicles.[17]
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    Keep it simple at first. When your dog first encounters a KONG toy, it will probably not know what to do. You may need to show your dog that you are putting a yummy snack inside the toy. Make a big show of it, waving the snack before him or her and intoning "Look what I have!" Since it's your pet's first experience with the KONG toy, choose a small snack which is easily recoverable.[18]
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    Turn it into a challenge. As your dog becomes more proficient at accessing the KONG toy's snacks, use bigger pieces of food that are more difficult to recover.
    • You can also try hiding the toys around the house in places that are difficult -- but not impossible -- to get to. Try placing them beneath or behind furniture where they can only be accessed with a swipe of the paw. To help your dog understand this game, hide the KONG toy in front of him or her the first time you play it.[19] After placing the hidden snack, encourage your dog to recover it with an encouraging phrase like “Where is it?” Next time you hide it, use the same phrase to indicate to your doggy that there is a snack hidden in a KONG toy somewhere in the vicinity.

Method 4
Going to School

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    Identify what you want your dog to learn. The objectives you hope to achieve will guide your decision as to which educational institute you'll be sending your doggy to. Do you want them to:
    • Not bark at visitors?
    • Not beg for food from the table?
    • Not be so territorial / temperamental?
    • Get along better with other pets?
    • Not to chew on furniture or shoes?[20]
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    Choose a school. There are two kinds of schools for dogs: boarding schools and training schools. Both kinds of schools provide your dog with training and "manners" to keep them well-behaved. The main difference is that the boarding school will keep your dog overnight for an extended stay; the training schools will only take your pooch for the day.[21]
    • How much reform your dog needs is the determining factor in choosing one or the other type of dog school. A pooch in need of serious reform might do best when separated from you and their usual routine for a few days. A dog who needs only minor correcting is probably better left at the training school.
    • If your main motive for signing the dog up for school is to keep them occupied for hours, a stint at training school for the day is your best option.
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    Research all the institutions in your area.[22] Ask your vet for a referral, or consult your other dog-owning friends to see if they sent their dogs to any local schools, and ask for their opinions on the value they felt they received from each school. You can also check reviews online to see what various people thought about the education their pups received.
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    Meet the staff. The training or care staff should be well-qualified and have lots of experience with animals. They should be caring, gentle, and attentive to the particular needs of your pet.[23] Ask for credentials and resumes of the staff employed at each school you investigate.
    • Dog training is a serious occupation. Many trainers today obtain professional certificates.[24] A good school will have trainers with credentials as well as experience.
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    Always ask for details.[25] Ensure the school you're considering has a rigorous curriculum with plenty of structure, as well as time for bathroom breaks, snacks, and play. Find out what kind of things your dog will be doing. Ask for a schedule that explains exactly what the dogs will be doing and for how long.
    • Most schools have customizable curricula so you can choose which areas the dog receives instruction in.


  • Have a box of tissues or a cloth on hand to wipe the drool off your hands if you are handling a ball or toy that keeps being returned to you.


  • Don't shine the laser light in anyone's eyes, especially in the dog's eyes.
  • Some dogs will bite or claw at your carpet while trying to get the laser; play with the laser in an area safe from doggy damage.

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Categories: Dog Tricks