One of the greatest perks of working from home has been spending more time with the family dog. Your dog may have no clue what’s going on in the world – but having you around all the time has been great! Now, you’ve made the transition back to the office – or maybe you just know it’s coming. Follow these tips for a smooth transition!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Working from home might have been a gradual trend or an immediate change, but returning to full-time work at the office doesn’t have to mean a sudden interruption of your dog’s daily life. If you have the time, gradually reintroduce your dog to your absence from home. Half-days or long errands without your furry friend will help them get used to an empty house.
Start with family trips to a park without your furry friend to re-acquaint them with an empty house. If your dog sleeps in a crate or you were crating your dog while they were alone in the house, crate them during your trips out and reward them when you return home. If your dog doesn’t stay in a crate during sleeping hours or while they are alone in the home, give them a bone or other chew toy before you leave to keep them occupied while you’re away. Training your dog to stay home alone is best accomplished as a gradual process.
Re-Establish Your Routine
Working from home interrupted many of our routines. Your dog is no different! Re-establish your routine with morning or evening walks, regular mealtimes, and scheduled time at the dog park or outdoors. Use the opportunity to establish new routines or return to your old routines. Dogs appreciate regularity and become accustomed to routines quickly – as long as you’re consistent!
Your dog may exhibit some stubbornness when it comes to routine change by insisting on irregular meal times or an inconvenient walk schedule. These behaviors are best ignored, as rewarding them with attention could confuse your dog and lead to unintentional rewards for undesired behavior. If you cannot ignore your dog’s behavior, restrict them to a room of the house or the backyard until it’s time for a routine activity. Be careful restricting your dog to its crate during these times, as that may lead the dog to equate crate time to punishment. If your dog is barking, whining, or becoming overly excited two hours before dinner time, for example, you might put up dog gates to keep the dog in a room away from their feeding area or put the dog outside until the appropriate feeding time.
Be careful not to mistake your dog’s energy during this time for bad behavior. Some dog breeds simply demand more exercise and/or outside play. Make sure you’re working this time into your new routines with regular visits to a dog park or play time in the back yard.
Correct Behaviors with Positive Reinforcement
Dogs best learn desired behaviors with positive reinforcement. If irregular walk times have led your dog to pull on its leash or fall out of trained behaviors, be sure to re-train the dog with a treat pouch and positive affirmation. If your dog is attempting to escape through the front door when you’re leaving for work, train them with treats and positive affirmation to sit and wait at the door as you leave. This training should be reinforced every time you leave the house, whether the dog is coming with you or not.
Consider Doggy Daycare to Wean Your Dog Off of Constant Attention
If your dog is having trouble adjusting to your new routine – or if your dog requires more exercise and play time than you can work into your new routine – consider taking your furry friends to a doggy daycare. You can start by taking your dog to the daycare facility 3-5 days each week and gradually reduce the frequency of visits until your furry friend is ready to remain at home every day of the week. Of course, you may find that having a happy dog tired out from all-day play makes your time off work less hectic! Many doggy daycare facilities offer flexible hours of operation and affordable daily or weekly rates.
Expert Care for Your Pets
We can’t make it easier to leave your best friend at home when you go back to work in the office, but we can provide the best care available for your pets! Keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations and checkups and in great health by trusting the experts at Bowman Road Animal Clinic. Contact us today to schedule your next visit!