Do you suddenly find yourself with a new co-worker at home who barks and begs for attention? Who can get into mischief while you’re on a conference call? Or better yet who sticks their head in right in the middle of a video chat?
If your kids are home too, this compounds the problem. So much activity and noise for the dog to deal with!
Remember that dogs love to train their owners. They may head butt you for attention, climb into your lap, or constantly want to be petted or go for a walk. They may take a snooze under your desk, but as soon as they wake up, they think it is time to play!
So what can you do to make working at home easier while we’re all sheltering in place during the coronavirus epidemic?
Separate your office space from the dog’s space. I have an office that my dog is usually not allowed to enter. She knows that my office is off limits and that she has her own safe space throughout the day. It is important for her to know that she does not have constant access to me. I try and take a break every two or three hours and play a rousing game of fetch to wear her out. I also leave her with some interactive toys to entertain herself. It helps that my office has a door.
If your dog is barking or whining, do not go to her. Otherwise she will quickly learn that this bad behavior will get your attention and will get your presence. Instead, go to her when she is calm and quiet.
It’s the perfect time for training. It’s important that you not only keep your dog physically active, but mentally active as well. I have been working with my dog on some new tricks that require her to “think”. This wears her out more than our long walks. My dog also has had issues walking on leash. We finally have the time to work on it so she’ll walk correctly by my side.
Keep your routine going. Dogs love routines. We have been getting up at the same time and feeding at the same time. The only alteration in our schedule is we take an extra walk at lunchtime in addition to our normal evening walk.
Have patience. If the kids are home as well, they are crowding in on your dog’s quiet time. Remember, your dog has her own routine as well while you are all gone. Try not to spoil her too much and definitely don’t reward bad behaviors. Also, don’t spend 24/7 with her or when you go back to work, you will have a bad case of separation anxiety to deal with.
Stock up. We have all experienced the toilet paper and food shortages. Although dog food seems to be plentiful, make sure you have enough food and treats, particularly if you feed your dog’s raw food.
Although it’s a scary time, try and have fun. When you go back to the office environment, there will be many things about working from your pajamas that you will miss!