This year was a massive change for us. For some of us working from home, our dogs loved having us around every day. They spent this whole year close to you and now probably think things are this way for good. Unfortunately, getting back to the new normal facing us may be a challenge for our dogs too. Separation anxiety and nervousness to be alone can be possible outcomes, so we’re here to tell you how to prepare your dog for your return to work. These 5 steps can help you set your dog up for success in the days to come.
Be sure to know what encourages your dog. Knowing what can make your dog nervous or react can help you target the behaviour to focus on. If your dog starts barking or whining at the sight of you putting on a jacket or saying goodbye, then you can start adding positive associations with the actions. For example, giving your dog a treat when you leave and come back can help your dog connect the act of going with a positive reward. In time, this will help mitigate the reaction and eventually, your dog will be quietly awaiting your return and their treat! The right method of encouragement and positive reinforcement will have lasting effects on your dog.
Creating a repetitive schedule for your dog can help them prepare for certain things throughout the day. Your dog will grow accustomed to a schedule with set expectations of recurring activities each day. A structure can provide a sense of comfort for your dog, especially when they know when something is expected to occur. For example, walking your dog at a specific time every day can set the expectation for this daily occurrence, teaching your dog not to beg or whine for a walk throughout the day since there is a set time for a walk for them to look forward to. Having a schedule sets your dog up for success in a structured routine.
Practicing mock departures can help prepare your dog for the final test when you return to the office. The earlier you start practicing, the better. Continuous and consistent training is key in implementing new habits. Start practicing mock departures by leaving for shorter periods. Going to run some errands and coming back can start getting your dog used to being alone for a bit. When you notice an improvement in your dog’s behaviour, you can increase those time intervals to reflect the time you would be away at work. Your dog will soon associate your departure and arrival as part of the new daily routine.
Getting your dog used to leaving the house is just a part of preparing them for your return to work. When you leave your dog, you want to make sure that they have a nice calm oasis to escape to. Whether it’s a crate, a sofa, or a specific room, having a designated space for your dog can help them feel safe and calm. A parent leaving can be a stressful situation, so be sure to create a comfortable space for your dog to calm any nerves. Leaving their favourite toy or a blanket or sweater with your scent can also help your dog ease their nerves as they spend a couple of hours away from you.
Training your dog regularly does help fix unwanted behaviours; however, an energetic dog can still get into some trouble. Check out our dog walking services, where we can help you stay on track with regular walks for your pup! For young and active dogs, it’s recommended that you exercise them regularly and play with them to keep them occupied. The physical activity and mental stimulation will spend their energy. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your dog is napping on the couch rather than looking for trouble while you’re gone.
Knowing how to prepare your dog for your return to work will help you make the difficult transition from working from home to going back to the office. These 5 tips can help you create a plan for success and tackle any anxieties your dog may have as you prepare to leave the house for long hours. Practicing and training consistently will surely get you results, and you and your pup can live stress-free and happy lives in the new normal.