Working From Home with Your Dog

New Pet Owners  •   Mary Shaughney  •   Mar 16, 2020

If you’re new to working from home with your dog, you may quickly realize that it’s no walk in the park. Your company still has expectations for you to complete projects and be available for meetings, but your dog might have other ideas about how you should spend your day. Never fear! We’re here with some tips to keep your boss and your dog happy during your work from home days.

Don’t skip your morning walk.

Working from home might seem like a dream come true. Without a commute and the need to dress up for the office, theoretically you could sleep in until 5 minutes before your start time and grab your laptop to start answering emails in bed. Don’t do this! Keeping to your normal office schedule is important to put you in the mind frame that it’s time to work and ensure your pup still gets the time he needs in the mornings. Your dog’s morning walk is important to burn off some of his energy and keep him on a routine. He will still expect to be fed and played with in the morning, and spending this extra time wearing him out can help you later in the day!

Keep to your morning routine.

Getting out of bed and making yourself presentable not only could save you some embarrassment if a video meeting suddenly pops up on your schedule, but also will indicate to your dog that this isn’t the weekend and he shouldn’t expect your full attention all day!

Create a functional workspace for you and your pup.

If your dog is the type to happily lay in his bed and nap the day away, move his bed into your office and let him sleep in your company. If your dog prefers sitting in your lap, pulling pens off your desk and running off with your sticky notes, it may be a good idea to separate your workspace and your dog for the day. Leave your dog in the part of the house that he’s used to being when you normally go to work so that he can keep to his schedule of napping and entertaining himself.

Keep your dog busy.

If your dog starts to get restless, be prepared with toys or long-lasting treats that can keep his mind busy. Freeze a Kong with his favorite food or give your pup one of these dog puzzle toys to keep him occupied. It’s important to remember that when you’re not working from home, your dog probably sleeps most of the day, so he should still be able to do so even with you being around.

Spend your breaks wisely!

During your breaks or lunch time, take your dog for a play session outside or do a quick lap around the neighborhood. This break from your desk will help you as much as it does your pup and hopefully will tire him out so you can keep being productive in the afternoon.

Plan out your day.

If you know you’ll be in and out of conference calls, have a special toy or treat ready to keep your dog quiet so he isn’t barking or making a scene. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean it’s okay to be constantly yelling at your dog to quit doing a bad behavior. Your inability to correct your dog for bad behaviors because you’re tied to your desk can also negatively impact his training, so being prepared before this behavior starts is key. If treats and toys don’t always keep your pup’s interest, consider moving him to a different room where he usually spends his time, so he is out of earshot and you aren’t distracted from your meeting.

Teach “no bark”.

If you haven’t already, resolve barking so you can be sure your dog won’t lose his mind if someone rings your doorbell or he sees something out the window. It’s difficult to focus on a project if you have to get up every five minutes to chase your pup away from the window and get him settled again.

Be patient.

Remember that your dog may not understand right away that some days you will be home with him, but not available for playtime. It will take some time for your dog to understand that certain days are workdays and others are play all day weekends. Be patient while your dog learns the new rules and reward good behavior, so he understands what is expected of him.

Have a clear start and end to your workday.

If you’re planning on working from home consistently, have a clear start and end to your workday so your dog knows when it’s time to play. Sitting at your desk should be an indicator to your dog that he needs to find something to do that doesn’t involve harassing you while you try and get projects completed. When you’re finished working for the day, teach him a cue so he is aware this isn’t another break, and he can be your focus now.

Make time for your dog.

It’s easy to think that working from home means you’ll have even more time for your dog, but many days once work is over you still have other commitments that need to be met. Be sure to make time for your dog outside of work hours so he feels loved and is mentally and physically stimulated. By filling your free time with activities that challenge him, he’ll be happier to do his own thing when you’re at your desk.

Enjoy the benefits!

There have been several studies regarding the benefits of dogs at work, which also apply to working from home with your dog! Employees working alongside dogs report increased creativity, reduced stress and a better work/life balance!

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