August 5th: Work Like a Dog Day - How to Really Work Like a Dog 

05.08.21 02:30 PM By Mindy Kilgore

What is Work Like a Dog Day?

Work Like a Dog Day takes place on August 5th! That’s today!

Although the origins of Work Like a Dog Day appear to be unknown, today is all about those people who work… well, like a dog!


A common meaning of the phrase “work like a dog” is “to work very hard." I'm sure all you business owners can relate!

In my opinion though, there are many other qualities in dogs that I find admirable in the workplace.

How to Work Like a Dog

We currently live in a work culture that promotes working an extensive amount, often to the point of exhaustion. “Working like a dog” is considered to mean something along the lines of putting in a 60 or 70 hour work week. Especially if you're working for yourself, you're expected to be able to do it all, all of the time!

When I look at dogs, that’s not the impression they give me about work.

Now, my dog may not be the best example of work ethic. For an animal that has absolutely no bills to pay and all of their needs taken care of, she’s pretty anxious. I suppose I’d feel the same way if I were incredibly tiny, but she still has her redeeming qualities.

When looking at the qualities of service dogs, farm dogs, and other working dogs, I see many inspiring qualities that I strive to have in the workplace. They must overcome a lot of obstacles to do their jobs, and yet they are often positive and excited to be there. 

Those being the obvious traits of service dogs, they also have a lot of other work wisdom to give us.

This is my dog Ellie being cute!

Be Present

Dogs are known to live in the present moment. Dogs aren’t thinking of what they have to do later or worrying about the past. Dogs are just right here, right now.

Service dogs in particular are very focused on their tasks and can avoid distractions. We too can achieve a lot more quality work by staying present and mindful in the workplace. Staying focused on the task at hand and not trying to multitask will greatly increase your productivity


As Greg McKeown writes in his book Essentialism:

"We can easily do two things at the same time: wash the dishes and listen to the radio, eat and talk, clear the clutter on our desk while thinking about where to go for lunch, text message while watching television, and so on.

What we can’t do is concentrate on two things at the same time. When I talk about being present, I’m not talking about doing only one thing at a time. I’m talking on being focused on one thing at a time."

As someone who used to get distracted easily, I started meditating consistently last year. Being able to focus more mindfully on tasks has completely changed how I work. Keeping a well-structured daily schedule helps as well, so I can focus only on what I need to get done that day instead of worrying about the upcoming week.

In a world where everything is competing for your attention, learning how to remain present is an incredible tool.

Be Patient

The life of a working dog is full of interruptions and disturbances. People want to pet them, children may tug on their ears, other dogs may be around, and service dogs will react with patience. Of course, you should not be trying to distract service dogs, but you can learn a lot about patience from them. 

Patience is also an extremely important in the workplace. Sometimes you may have a difficult boss or coworker, a difficult client, or maybe you’re working from home and your kids are being impossible.

Going back to my anxious dog I mentioned earlier, working from home with her can be a bit challenging. Sometimes she can be needy and disruptive while I’m in the middle of work. Of course, I know she’s not trying to disrupt me on purpose, she just wants attention. I just need to take a deep breath and reframe my thinking about being interrupted.

Practicing patience will make all those interactions easier and disturbances will be more bearable.

Rest When You Need It

Dogs definitely sleep a lot; I’d say that mine does it most of the time.

During the time that they’re awake and active, though, they are getting things done. Playing, running, or working, they are giving it their all.

They would not be able to use up all that energy if they weren’t recharging sometimes!

I’m not saying sleep your whole day away, of course, but take breaks when you need it. If you don’t allow yourself to rest, you’re just going to burn yourself out and you won’t be able to reach your full potential.

One way that I personally have been trying to get better quality rest time is by limiting my social media. Still getting on to check every couple hours has been fine. However, I realized that when I was spending most of my night scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, it made me feel like I was always working. Even though I wasn’t “working” my brain was not taking any time to rest.

Learning how to rest will greatly improve your productivity!

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Dog Eat Dog World Out There

Tired of “working like a dog” in the stressful sense of the phrase and ready to start “working like a dog” in the cool and relaxed sense?

Millennial Assistants can take over a huge chunk of your unwanted workload! Click here for our list of services. I bet you’ll find some of the current tasks that you’ve been wishing you could pass off to someone else for a while!

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About the Author

mindy kilgore digital marketing

Mindy Kilgore
Digital Marketing Specialist, Millennial Assistants

Mindy Kilgore