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Tips for preparing our pets for when we return to workplaces outside home

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us greatly which has included working from home. In all likelihood, spending more time at home has provided more opportunities to bond with your pet. We know our dogs are very happy to have us home all day; however, what happens when we return to work?  
A dog walker will provide extra exercise and provide company as he/she readjusts to your return to the office. Photo courtesy of TAILored Pet Services.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us greatly which has included working from home. In all likelihood, spending more time at home has provided more opportunities to bond with your precious pet. 

Though we wished it happened under better circumstances, few would complain about spending more time with their dogs. We know our dogs are very happy to have us home all day; however, what happens when we return to work?  

Now that Snohomish County has moved into Phase 2, your dog may need help reestablishing his normal routine before you return to work outside the home. You can do that now by following the tips: 

Establish a Routine: When you return to the office, you won’t be able to feed or walk your dog whenever you want to. Get ahead of that potential problem by establishing a set time for eating and walking for your dog and stick to that.

Return to Shorter Walks and Play Time: Speaking of walks, have they gotten longer since you’ve been working from home? Start reducing the time slightly each day so your dog is still satisfied with the walk even if it’s shorter.

Stop taking your dog everywhere with you: If your dog has gotten used to being everywhere with you, he may be hit hard by separation anxiety once you go back to work. Address that problem now by practicing some distancing with your dog: working in one room while dog’s in another and encouraging him to sleep in his bed.

Start making short departures: Help your dog to adjust to your departures by starting to leave your dog for short periods of time. Set up a video recording so you can check for any signs of anxiety from your dog.

Normalize Riding in Vehicles: You probably haven’t spent a lot of time driving over the past few weeks and that likely means your dog has not been traveling too. Start taking car rides again with your dog so that he can get used to them.

Teach/Reteach Proper Behavior Around Other Dogs: Spending so much time at home may have caused your dog to forget how to behave properly around their fellow canines. Visiting a park where your dog can socialize with others, taking her to a doggy daycare a few times a week or having her spend the day with a favorite dog buddy will counteract this potential issue.

Give Your Dog Interactive Toys: Your dog may find it boring at home without you around for much of that day. While an interactive toy cannot completely make up for your absence, it can still help your pet pass the time. Lise, Owner of Paws Afoot highly recommends “Bully Sticks and other long-term chews as chewing is a way dogs relieve their anxiety.”

Stay Relaxed Whenever You Have to Leave: If you show that leaving home is hard for you, your dog will sense that and may struggle as well. Return to your normal departure habits when you left for work.

Decide Length Between Bathroom Breaks: Before returning to the corporate office, determine how long Fido can last before needing a bathroom break. If your dog can’t make it all day without a trip outdoors, ask someone to stop by mid-day to let Fido outside.

Hire a Dog Walker: If your dog is having a hard time adjusting to your return to the office, hiring a dog walking company who specializes in separation anxiety like TAILored Pet Services might solve the problem. A dog walker will provide extra exercise and provide company as he/she readjusts to your return to the office. As TAILored Pet Services owner Antigone likes to say: "A tired dog is a relaxed dog so we offer both on-leash and off-leash adventures to make this happen."

If these tips are not helping your dog adjust, contact Lise Lausiva, CCS and owner of Paws Afoot Dog Training.

Lise is a Certified Separation Anxiety Specialist who has helped many dogs learn to enjoy a calm and happy experience at home alone through a simple step-by-step training program. 

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