How Caring For A Dog Made Me More Productive Than Ever

How Caring For A Dog Made Me More Productive Than Ever

Over the last month, my co-founder [at Zapier], Bryan, has been travelling for a variety of reasons and needed someone to watch his dog, Tuna. His dog is well behaved 99 per cent of the time, and I love dogs, so my wife and I were happy to do it. At first, I thought it would be a little bit of extra work, but I quickly realised that having Tuna around was actually boosting my productivity rather than putting a dent in it.

How so? Here are a few reasons.

Enforcing a Schedule

Like humans, dogs have a natural schedule. Tuna usually needed to go out 4-5 times a day and wants to play a few times. If you don’t stop and take him outside, he gets a bit whiny, and that means you’re taking him outside. His natural schedule put me on a schedule. It’s like having a living, breathing pomodoro clock telling me that I need to take a break. This leads to the next point.

Built-In Breaks

Breaks are good. Since Tuna had to go outside every few hours, it was a good reminder for me to get up and go outside too. Before having Tuna around, I might work for hours and forget to get up, move around and put my mind on something else. Tuna forceed me to pull away from whatever I was working on every now and then and take a break. I’d usually use these breaks just to think. Really think. It could be about the Zapier content strategy. Or maybe about how we can really boost revenue growth. Or it could be about how to be more productive as a team.

The bottom line is it gave me 20-minute periods where I can get away from all devices, screens, people and distractions and just ponder some important issue.

Good Exercise

Since high school, I haven’t been the greatest at always exercising. My exercising routine usually consists of insane bursts of productivity (I trained for a triathlon in four months), followed by bursts of inactivity where a walk once a week is good exercise.

With Tuna around, I ended up walking at least 5-7km (almost 2km each time we walked). As a result, I lost a couple of kilos. More importantly, it’s good for my health.

A Bundle of Joy

Running a startup isn’t always unicorns and rainbows. Some days are great. Others can be a real drag. But for Tuna, every day is awesome and he’s just excited to be around you. It’s good to have someone or something to remind you that life is pretty darn good.

Finding a Dog of My Own

For a while I thought that owning a dog would be nothing but a time and money sink, but I’ve definitely come around. So with Bryan back in town, it’s time to convince my wife to find a dog of my own.

How My Co-founder’s Dog Boosted My Productivity [Wade Foster]

Wade is the co-founder at Zapier, a web automation engine for connecting the most popular web software. He tweets @wadefoster and writes regularly about life and startups on his blog.

Pictures: Pixabay, Sirgey Nevins/Shutterstock, TashaNatasha/Shutterstock.


  • Wade – I have had the same experience over the last 8 months. My wife has begged me for a dog since we have been together. We have rented until we had kids four years ago and recently I caved in despite a long list of cons. I got the classic promise ‘i’ll do everything’. I do everything and can relate to all your points above.

    The one piece of advice I would give to anyone considering a dog is to make sure you have someone you trust, like Wade, who can look after the dog when you go away. Kennels are expensive.

  • I’m in the same boat. Recently adopted a retired racing Greyhound through GAPSA, he has me getting up earlier, sleeping better, walking more. Heaps more productive when working at home, the point about the pomodoro clock/built-in breaks hits very close to home.

  • I want a dog for all these reasons – but I wont get one living in the city like this, it’s just not fair on any animal in my opinion. Tough living alone too, you just can’t be with them all the time and they get lonely 🙁

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