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What Do Dogs Do All Day When Their Owners Are At Work?

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Wednesday 17 August 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
What Do Dogs Do All Day When Their Owners Are At Work?
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If you have a job and have to leave your furry friend alone all day, you may feel guilty when you come home. Especially when your dog is waiting patiently, making those googly eyes at you!

But what do dogs do all day when their owners are at work? And how can you keep your pets busy? Thankfully, if you can make proper arrangements, a dog can be trained to be left alone and still enjoy it. 

7 Things Dogs Do All Day When You Are At Work

While nothing specific can be said for all dogs, some common things they do are observe outside the window, wait for you at the door, check out things like clothes or other objects they can find, play, eat and sleep.

Let’s explore each of these and how you can use them to keep your dog engaged.


We have all spotted our four-legged friends looking out of the window every day. Windows are essential for dogs, especially if your dog spends a lot of time inside. 

Observing the world outside, also known as environmental enrichment, is a way for pet dogs to connect with the world around them.

It keeps them engaged for a good amount of time. Some owners even leave the television on, knowing that the pet will have something to watch when they are away. 


Finding your furry friend waiting for you after a long work day is very special. Dogs staying indoors seek human contact and actively look forward to seeing you.

Their circadian rhythms help them identify when their owner will get home, so they go and wait close to the door around the time they know you will come back. It may seem that dogs have a sense of time.

Staying indoors can also leave them lonely and depressed. Moreover, dogs with a healthy relationship with their owner will be even more eager to see them. Other reasons why your dog is waiting for you at the door can also include:

  • The pet is being protective of you.
  • Craving for attention.
  • Waiting for you to come home and take it for a walk/ exercise. 


Most dogs have an innate curiosity, and their keen sense of smell and hearing help them cater to this curiosity. When you come home, you might have noticed that your dog likes to sniff you to know what you have been up to all day. 

But they do the same thing when they are home alone too. They sniff all kinds of things, such as clothes, toys, socks, or anything easily reachable. They love to investigate any new thing that comes to their home. 


Dogs love to play, and they can play in many ways. They may love chewing on a favorite thing or toy. When in the company of another dog, they can be seen wrestling, running around the house, and playing together. 

They may run around the house until finally retiring down at their favorite spot for a nap. Interactive pet toys are an interesting way to keep them engaged when you are not at home. Apart from satisfying their need to play, such toys provide much-needed mental stimulation to pets.   


Some dog breeds are social and bond very quickly with humans. They also tend to be more protective of their human family

They naturally develop guarding instincts for: 

  • Themselves
  • Their pups
  • Other smaller dogs in the house
  • Their human friends
  • Objects in your house. 

Your home is also your pet’s den, and while guarding the same, they are being protective of their habitat.  

Eating and Drinking 

Most dogs love chow time. They love to feed on anything and everything, but it’s probably not a good idea to let them roam around food all day. They cannot differentiate between what is good or bad for them.

Pet owners use food puzzles to help keep their pets engaged longer. Not only this, food puzzles are good for exercising the pet’s mind. These puzzles can also come in handy if your pet faces issues such as obesity which can be very dangerous for them

Sleeping and Resting 

The number of hours a pet spends sleeping depends on their physical condition, breed, age, and training. When your dog has had their fill of spending time at the window, running around, playing, sniffing things, and eating food, they tend to go to sleep.

You can facilitate their sleeping by creating a safe and comfortable corner with a warm bed where they can nap easily.

How to Make Your Dog Feel Safe When You Are Away

Dogs often develop separation anxiety when left alone for too long. They are social beings and tend to look forward to human contact actively. You can acclimatize them to live alone with suitable training and give them enough engaging activities. Let’s explore what to do with dogs when at work in the sections below:

Provide Cuddle Time 

While you may have built a strong human-animal bond, nurturing the same needs your time, and owners must manage to do so. 

Cuddling releases oxytocin, the happiness hormone in both humans and animals. Observe your pet, they may be sending out signals that they need cuddling. 

Frequent physical contact with your pet also comes with the added advantage of early identification of health concerns in the form of unusual bumps, odors, and the like. 

Turn On the Television 

Leaving the television turned on can be an interesting source of entertainment for your pet. This is more so if it is used to spending time doing the same with you. 

It will also give some white noise and break the silence in the surroundings. If your pet is fond of a particular show, you can make recordings of it and leave it running on repeat. 

Provide Interactive Toys 

Interactive pet toys such as talking dolls, puzzles, and self-playing dog toys are fun for our pets. They make mealtime easier, provide mental stimulation to canines, and keep loneliness and boredom at bay.

Provide a Comfortable Place 

If you are wondering what to do with your dog while at work, the most important thing is to train them for this life.

Training and socialization help your dog become more comfortable with your home. The trick is to help the dog associate the crate with their favorite toys and other items that the dog finds fascinating. 

Make Sure There Is a Window 

Dogs enjoy activities such as resting on the window sill and watching the world go by. It is extremely beneficial for your dog to have access to a window from which it can peek outside. Owners should keep their curtains open before leaving for work (while also ensuring that the windows are safely latched).

Go For a Walk Before or After Work 

At least a little bit of physical activity is important for any dog. Pet owners should make time for this before or after leaving work. 

Taking your pet outside allows them to explore new environments and shapes their behavior so that they are not aggressive when meeting new people. 

Moreover, it keeps them mentally engaged and relieves the boredom they face while staying alone all day.

Provide Proper Potty and Feeding Schedule 

There must be enough time after they wake up to poop. Even if you might get a little late for work in the morning, you should make time so that your pet can poop before you leave. You should potty train your pup so that it can have a go before you leave every day.

Train Your Dog to Prevent Separation Anxiety 

You should train the dog to stay alone and reward this behavior, so your pet can avoid separation anxiety later on.

Crate training, physical exercise, and discouraging clingy behavior are the best ways to ensure your dog does not suffer from separation anxiety. You can also consult a vet in cases where these methods don’t work.

Know the Longest Time Your Dog Can Be Left Alone 

Knowing how long a pet can be left alone is imperative since it helps prevent separation anxiety and loneliness from kicking in. 

Each dog is unique. The owner can figure out how long their dog can stay alone by gradually increasing the time you go away during training. For younger pups, holding their bladder is difficult, so you should also keep that in mind 

What Do Dogs Do All Day When Their Owners Are At Work: FAQs

Let us look at some questions prospective dog owners might have about getting a dog if they have a regular job. 

Can I get a dog if I work all day?

Yes, you can still adopt a dog even if you work full-time. But you must make necessary arrangements such as where to keep dogs while at work, coming home at lunchtime to check up on the dog, training them to spend time alone, and potty training them. 

Do dogs miss their owners when they go to work?

Yes, dogs tend to miss their owners when they are away for work. Dogs are loyal and enjoy the company. Pets with strong bonds with their human family will likely seek human contact frequently.

Can I leave my dog alone for 8 hours?

Yes, you can if you train your dog for it. Leaving a dog alone for eight hours without prior training and arrangements is likely to be very uncomfortable. You can start training by going away for small errands and returning, then gradually increasing the time you are apart. 

Where should I put my dog when I’m at work?

If you are wondering where to keep dogs at work, crating is a great option for pups. Crate-trained pups are usually happy when left in them. 

But make sure to come back and check on them during the day. Older dogs can be left free indoors with suitable provisions for their safety. You can also consider doggy daycare.

How do you train a dog when you work all day?

Keep the training sessions short and quick and distribute them over the day. Another time when pet owners can squeeze training sessions in is with meals. You can use the meal as a reward as well. 

You can install a CCTV camera to find out what your dogs do all day. It may be interesting to watch them prancing around! But more importantly, make sure you make all the provisions to keep them happy and engaged.

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