(Art Credit: Andrea Hernandez)
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Your dog is probably overjoyed that you don’t have to go into the office, but they don’t understand that this isn’t an extended weekend with unlimited opportunities for chin scratches and walks. Having canine companionship during the day is a blessing, but it can be tough to keep your dog quiet when you’re working from home.
Here are some tips to make sure your four-legged coworker doesn’t get you into trouble with the boss.
1. Walk Your Dog Before You Start Working
Taking your dog for a long walk before you start your workday will do you both good. It likely means getting up earlier, but take your travel mug of coffee and let your dog do all the sniffing they want. Exercising releases stress and nervous energy before it causes problems in the middle of your conference call. Plus, showing your dog attention and effort early on lets them know you care about them so they’re less likely to seek affection throughout the day.
2. Feed Your Dog In A Puzzle Feeder
Instead of feeding them breakfast in their bowl, put their kibble into a puzzle feeder or food dispensing toy. The right puzzle feeder will keep your dog occupied and tire them out while you’re getting your day started.
Pro Tip: Avoid the hard, hollow toys while you’re working. Some dogs like to throw them which is very loud.
3. Enrich Your Dog’s Environment
Offering your dog their own “job” or project while you’re unavailable gives them a distraction and will keep them quiet while you’re working from home. A smear of peanut butter or spray cheese in a Kong or other hollow toy can keep a dog busy for hours. Chew toys or puzzle toys where the dog has to find a hidden item can keep a dog quiet while you’re working.
Consider giving them a special toy only when you really need them to quiet down, so your dog is more interested in it during that time. It’s best to avoid toys with squeakers or hard toys that can be noisy.
4. Work In A Separate Area From Your Dog
If your dog is used to you being gone all day, it shouldn’t be a big deal for them to be separated from you while you need to get work done. If you need to crate your dog or close the door so they can’t come into the office, that’s okay. It never hurts to turn the TV or radio on for them to keep them distracted.
If they’re having a hard time being separated from you, look at our tips for separation anxiety. Dogs who whine constantly are trying to tell you something, so it shouldn’t be ignored – there are always things you can do to help them.
5. Consider Hiring A Dog Sitter
It’s okay to utilize professionals to help keep your dog’s needs met. Even if you’re working from home, doggie daycare or a dog sitter can tire your dog out so that you can focus on your tasks and not feel guilty about working through lunch. Plus, you’re helping others pay their bills which is a win-win!
6. Take Breaks To Give Your Dog Some Love
You don’t have to make every play session a marathon. You’re supposed to get up from your desk every 30 minutes anyway. While you’re waiting for coffee to brew or a meeting to start, take this time to play a little with your dog – throw their ball around a few times, or give them some snuggles. Your productivity and health will benefit from these quick breaks too.
7. Get A Companion For Your Dog
You’re probably thinking, “I can hardly handle one dog!” But if two dogs get along well, they’ll entertain each other while you’re trying to meet your deadlines. Two dogs double the poop and double the vet bills, it also doubles the cuddles and cuts the time keeping them occupied in half. Adopting, or even just fostering, a second dog offers your dog a built-in companion.
Hopefully, you’ll find your new full-time office mate is just another perk of working from home. With a little effort and planning, you and your dog will have a great workday together.