How to be productive from home, even with your dog.
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
If you're working from home now you may feel frustrated because your routine is off but fear not, people are 13% more productive when working from home!Now that your routine is off though, you feel out of place, out of sync, and frustrated. Well, your dog does too! Here are some tips on how you can stay on task without disruption, and still meet your dog’s needs.
Schedule your time with the dog and stick to it.
Your normal routine likely includes walking the dog. Stick to that routine! If you’re no longer commuting you can repurpose that time into walking Fido. Avoid highly populated areas to continue social distancing. Explore the woods on your own property, or go on a sniffari!
Get more bang for your buck by playing games that your dog loves. Fetch can be a great way to tire your dog’s body but don’t forget their brain. Ask for a behavior before each throw of the ball for a little more stimulation. Try a flirt pole to stimulate their chase drive. This is also a great way to tire them out quickly. You can make one by taking an old broomstick, piece of pvc, etc, and attaching a long piece of cord, like a clothesline, to the end. Then, tie your dog’s favorite toy to the end. You can also purchase one here.
Enrichment opportunities to keep them busy.
When working from home it can be easy to forget about the dog, unless of course they’re constantly begging for your attention! We want to make sure their needs are regularly met even during this time. Enrichment opportunities are a great way to redirect your dog’s attention when you need more focused time. Here’s the thing though, you need to be proactive, not reactive. This means we want you to try to anticipate when they will be more likely to be disruptive, and give them this enrichment opportunity before they begin any undesired behavior. If it goes the other way around you could be reinforcing bad behaviors! Common times for disruptive behaviors include; taking a phone call, starting a zoom meeting, listening to something with your headphones etc. Dogs are individuals and they each have their own perfect way of bugging us.
Plan to have a few options on hand at the start of your day. If possible, freeze some of these so that they last even longer! A lick mat with peanut butter, yogurt, canned pumpkin, boiled mashed sweet potato etc. Don’t have a lick mat? Try smearing these things onto a cookie sheet, large plate, or even just a bowl. Remember to freeze it so it lasts longer. Traditional Kong toys work great as well! Save your toilet paper tubes and paperboard boxes to create great alternative enrichment toys that keep you from having to leave your home. We mention more of these in our last post here.
Practice place to encourage settle behavior.
Our dogs know how to settle when we are not there, they do it 90% of their life. Typically though, when we come home good things happen and it’s an exciting time! So now that we’re home more, they're excited all the time! Being able to calm down with us home so often, is certainly an adjustment and they won’t just figure it out on their own, they need our guidance. Spend some time teaching them to place on their favorite bed or spot. Learn how here.Then throughout the day if they end up going there on their own, just calmly bring them a treat and tell them they're a good dog. Capturing behavior like this is a great way to build good habits!
This is a difficult time and stress breaks us all down. Stand strong by focusing on the things you can control. In dog training we always counter a dog’s stress by providing them with routine and a sense of control and it’s the very same in people. Stick to your normal routines whenever possible. Make time for self care and take your dog out into nature to relax. Focus on the positive things. You could write down 3 things every morning that you can be thankful for, to remember that it will get better.
Remember, we’re here for you. If you need help with your dog, even now, reach out to us! We are happy to help however we can. Join our Facebook Community for even more positive vibes and a great family of like minded people.