If you work remotely, every day is “take your dog to work day”! Here’s how to encourage good behavior in your pup while you do your job.
Take Your Dog to Work Day is celebrated annually in June, and is typically a much-anticipated event for dog parents and their colleagues alike! But with many pet parents still working remotely, this holiday will look a little different this year. Let’s look at a few ways to encourage good behavior in your pup while you work from home.
Keep your pup happy while you work
Does your dog tend to bombard your video calls? Provide him with physical exercise and a meal before sitting down at your desk! Lots of barking while you’re on a conference call? Try leaving a note for delivery people to leave parcels at the door rather than knocking or ringing the doorbell. There are also many ways to give your dog a mental workout from the comfort of your house while you work.
- To keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated, put some of his food in household items such as a plastic jug with food-sized holes cut in it.
- Stuff a puzzle toy with food like plain yogurt or peanut butter for a fun and delicious challenge. Once your dog gets good at using a puzzle toy, you can freeze it so it takes even more time for him to get all the food out.
- For avid chewers, you can purchase all sorts of interesting and easily-digestible chews online to keep at your desk should your dog disrupt your virtual meeting. Be sure to supervise him with any new toys or chews to ensure his safety!
- Set up a scavenger hunt so your pup can put his powerful nose to work. Hide treats around a room and let your dog use his sense of smell to discover them. If you have a secure yard, simply toss your dog’s kibble in the grass for him to search for his meal.
Heading back to the office?
As our pre-pandemic work routines and other activities commence again, your dog may be left confused, lonely and wondering why everyone is rushing out the door instead of spending time at home. Below are some tips to help pets with the transition and to prevent separation anxiety and other unwanted behaviors from developing.
- If you know you will be resuming a rigid schedule, adopt that schedule now while you’re still at home. Plan walks and meals for the same times as they will be when you return to work.
- Give your pet ‘practice’ with short periods of alone time every day – for example, go for a stroll or do some yard work while leaving him in the house so the transition to being left behind is not so abrupt and stressful. Gradually increase the time you’re away from home to prepare your pet for longer stretches of time.
- Your dog may be used to midday play sessions or walks. Ramping down that exercise and interaction due to schedule changes could leave them with pent up energy. Switch to playtimes that fit your new schedule to help your pal adjust.
- Rotate your dog’s toys to keep them relatively novel and interesting. Interactive toys or healthy chews like the ones mentioned above can keep your dog busy while you’re gone.
- Leave on soothing music or the TV for auditory or visual stimulation that can help keep your dog entertained when you’re not at home.
- While the family is away for periods of time during the day, you want your dog feeling safe and secure at home. Be sure to look out for signs of anxiety as you prepare to depart, such as nervous pacing and panting, vocalizing or trying to leave with you. To address your dog’s distress, consider contacting a certified applied animal behaviorist, veterinary behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer.
Whether you work remotely or not, these tips will help you make “Take Your Dog to Work Day” a happy occasion for you and your canine companion!
Dr. Pamela Reid is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and VP of the ASPCA’s Behavioral Sciences Team. With a robust background in behavioral sciences, Dr. Reid and her team promote evidence-based approaches for helping shelter animals with treatable behavior problems. Dr. Reid frequently lectures on animal behavior and training worldwide.