Puppy in the office!
March 3, 2013 6:39 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with my puppy when he's not sleeping or playing with me?

I brought my puppy home! So far, it's going really well. The first day was a little rough but we're settling into a good routine. He's peeing/pooping outside, sleeping reasonably well at night, learning really quickly.

Here's the problem: I'm not really sure what to do with him when he's awake and I'm not playing with or otherwise exercising him. I took Friday off so we've been together pretty much constantly for the last three days. I've noticed that if I'm moving around (ie, cooking/cleaning), he's fine for up to a half hour just watching me or maybe playing with a toy. But if I'm sitting down (say, reading or watching TV), then he'll only play on his own for a few minutes before he starts barking, whining, etc to get my attention. At that point I'll usually wait until he stops whining/barking and then play with him.

That's been ok this weekend, since I've had the time to play with him a lot. But I'm going back to work Tuesday (taking tomorrow off) and he'll be coming with me. I definitely plan to take him outside every two hours or so, and give him good walks plus playtime in the morning, evening and at lunch. But in between, there will be a lot of time where I'm, you know, working.

My vet recommended crating him at work, and we are working on crate training, but I'm worried he won't be quite ready by Tuesday. I also ordered one of these "puppy playpens" but it doesn't arrive until Wednesday.

Anyway, what should I do this evening and tomorrow to set us up for success on Tuesday? And what should I do the first few days to make the transition as painless as possible for everyone (including my coworkers!)?

Probably good to know: We're starting obedience classes tomorrow night. I have my own office with a door that closes, and there's a green walk outside for walks and bathroom breaks. I talked to the vet about parvo and she thinks the office set-up is low risk. His personality is bold and energetic but eager-to-please and SUPER food-motivated.
posted by lunasol to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
do you have a kong toy? basically a toy you can shove food in and then let your puppy play with it until he can get to the treat? if you have a few of these, it will keep him busy in bursts throughout the day.
posted by andreapandrea at 6:58 PM on March 3, 2013

Learning tricks exhausted my dog as a puppy, 10 minutes of training was usually followed by a 30 minute or so doggie nap. Maybe practice sit?
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:00 PM on March 3, 2013

Get a few nylabones. My puppy's favorite are the chicken flavor plastic puppy teething ones.

Consider getting a food puzzle. Those can be fun.

My dog is really good at independent play and always has been, but tennis balls hold his fascination longer than anything else. He will happily run himself around the house for hours playing with two tennis balls.

Get a stuffy (for your sanity I recommend one without a squeaker. They have some with crinkly bits in them, like crumpled paper or something, at Target...you should aim to find one of those) and sleep with it for a few days so it smells like you, then give it to him when you can't hover around him.
posted by phunniemee at 7:01 PM on March 3, 2013

Get a Kong, smear some PB on the inside, fill it with kibble, and use the PB knife to smoosh the kibble into the PB. THen add more PB and kibble. It'll take him a while to get through it.
posted by notsnot at 7:36 PM on March 3, 2013

congrats on getting your new puppy! i agree a stuffed animal is great fun. my dog loves them. i am no dog expert by any means but i wonder if all this change at once is going to be hard on the pup and subsequently you. i've always heard dogs don't like change. idk, but you might do better holding off a week or two on the obedience classes.
posted by wildflower at 8:59 PM on March 3, 2013

Bring bitter apple spray to work with you, he will want to chew whatever you don't want him to chew. He doesn't have to be fully crate trained before you bring him to work, you can work on crate training in your office (if you want details, memail me). Definitely bring a few kongs, a million other chew toys, and probably a bully stick or 10 to work every day. My pup liked variety (she still does) so I had to swap out different toys and kongs every few days. I only fed mine by filling kongs with kibble for the first few months. She especially loved a kong stuffed with kibble soaked in goat milk and frozen overnight, that takes a little while to get through. But honestly, she slept a lot those first few months, on a sleeping bag in a spare office chair, or in my lap. You'll love it.
posted by outfielder at 9:21 PM on March 3, 2013

Frozen raw beef marrow bones (or beef knuckle bones, basically "soup bones" in any well-stocked grocery store) will keep my dog occupied for 1-2 hours at a time. Nothing else comes even close. As an added benefit, according to his vet, bones keep his teeth so spectacularly clean that he may go his entire life without needing a cleaning.

My dog's an adult, so call your vet to check whether they're OK for puppies.

They do stain light carpet, so make sure to bring a dark blanket that can be a designated "play with food" area.
posted by halogen at 9:44 PM on March 3, 2013

As a massively allergic person, I've got to ask: I know it's tempting, but please don't just let him have the run of the office.... yes puppies are adorable, but there are plenty of us out there that have serious health reasons we have to avoid dogs, cats, etc. In fact, I'll go farther: unless your office already has a dogs-welcome policy in place, please check BEFORE you take him in to work with you. Even though you have a separate, enclosed office, it's still unhealthy for some of us.

(I work in an office where, although we do have a 'no dogs' policy, one woman kept bringing hers in --- right up to the day one of our coworkers had to be ambulanced out because of an asthma attack caused by that woman's dog.)
posted by easily confused at 2:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

easily confused: mentioned this in my earlier question, but it is a dog-friendly office. Of the 10 people who work here, 6 bring in their dogs regularly, and luckily no one is allergic!

Thanks for all the great advice. I think kongs and chewy treats will be key for the next few months. I have one of those toys with crinkly bits and he loves it!
posted by lunasol at 6:52 AM on March 4, 2013

Our puppy loves duck feet! They are super cheap and all natural and keep them happily occupied for a good period of time.
posted by Quincy at 9:23 AM on March 4, 2013

Just a quick update to say that my puppy is currently asleep at my feet in my office. The first day is going really well - I brought his beloved carrier in case crating was necessary, but he's been good without it. The kong stuffed with PB and kibble was especially popular, and the periodic training/tricks sessions have indeed proved a good way to wipe him out.

Thanks again!
posted by lunasol at 2:49 PM on March 5, 2013

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