Working from home with your dog by your feet might feel novel now but it can become a challenge. It also isn’t always healthy. It is important to create boundaries while you are spending more time than usual at home.
Without boundaries, your dog may become clingy, develop separation anxiety, find it difficult to transition back to spending time alone when you return to work and begin to act up.
These are our top tips for working from home with your dog.
Spend some time apart
It is lovely to have your dog curled up by your feet, but this allows them to get used to asking for more attention. This doesn’t mean you should ignore them all day but close the door while you are working and give them a treat or something to occupy themselves with in their own space. Giving them something safe like a stuffed Kong is a good idea to help take their mind off you and will help them to settle elsewhere so you can concentrate on work.
Dedicate time for your dog
Take regular breaks and use this time to engage with your dog away from your workstation. Go into the garden or take a walk from the house.
Resist their demands
Your dog is always going to want your attention and to them, having you home is the best thing ever! They also associate your time at home as being their time with you so it might be tricky for them to learn to settle away from you initially. Stick with it though and they will learn. If they were happy when you worked away from home and they can adjust now.
Try to maintain routine where you can
Keep mealtimes and walk times as they were before you worked from home. The sudden change in routine is stressful for us and it can be just as stressful for your dog too. Having said that, do take breaks at different points each working day prevent your dog from expecting attention at certain times. Nothing makes you feel more guilty than your dog staring at you longingly, expecting their mid-morning walk and you have a meeting to attend.
Tire them out
Take a morning walk before you start work from home. This will wake you up and get the blood pumping but will help your dog to settle when you start work. If they haven’t had a walk, they are a lot more likely to pester you for attention or start woofing at every bird or squirrel that comes past the window and disturb you. You can mentally tire your dog out as well. Brain training games or enrichment toys can reduce your dog’s energy levels and help to relieve stress. Licky mats, snuffle mats and treat balls are all great for engaging active dogs. These are best used while you are with them on a break so you can supervise them.