Tomlinson's Feed - June 04 2020
Tips & tricks as you head back to the office.
The time has come to put on clothes other than sweatpants and head back into the office/workplace. As you begin to plan your post-COVID-19 routine or are in the thick of it, one group will remain at home: your pets. *Alexa play Celine Dion – All By Myself*
Dogs are experiential learners, said Megan Sartori from The Stellar Dog. This means we can’t just tell them that our schedules are going to change, rather we have to show them. Re-acclimating your dog to home-alone time should be fairly stress free for dogs that have experienced having their owners work outside of the home pre-pandemic. It can be more challenging for the dogs that have been acquired during this time and have no prior experience to being home alone.
We gathered a list of tips and tricks from local pet experts to combat the back-to-work blues for both you and your pet.
Here's what you'll need:
Why does your dog need a toy or treat? Megan Sartori says licking and chewing are a canine’s natural stress reliever and eating something special and delicious sweetens the deal. Positive association helps! Plus, interactive toys will keep them busy.
Tip from me and my Golden Retriever Gibson: Fill a Kong Classic Dog Toy with dog-safe peanut butter (does not contain xylitol) and freeze. Once you're ready to leave, give them the Kong to keep them occupied for the day (or hours depending on how much they like peanut butter).
Here's the game plan...
Tina Zarate from Ain't Misbehaving Pet Training recommends getting out of the house without your furry companion. This could be for a short duration like walking to the mailbox, or long such as running errands. It's important to pay attention to your departure cues. Actions like grabbing your purse, your keys, and/or looking in the mirror can signal to your dog when you are about to leave. When your dog sees these cues, they know you are about to leave. Start doing your departure cues and then not leaving the house. This will take the meaning away and can help reduce your dog’s anxiety when you leave.
Oh, and try not to hype them up. Low key arrivals and departures will help lower your dog’s excitement level when you leave or return home.
It’s time to create space between you and your pet. This will be especially hard when you receive the sad, puppy eyes. According to Megan Sartori, many dogs are happiest to rest near their humans while they work in their home offices. Begin the separation process by not allowing your dog to hang out in your office space with you by closing the door or using a gate. Gradually ease into this for short periods of time (if your dog has not been left alone) and reinforcements, or long periods of time and reinforcements.
A Safe Space
Creating and leaving your dog in a safe space that they are familiar with is helpful. For some this means simply leaving them at home. For others, this means within their crate. Trevor Smith from The Doggie Dojo recommends these three steps to get your dog comfortable within his/her/they crate if they are new to it or getting re-acquainted:
Walk It Out
Has your dog go on multiple walks throughout the day or play in the yard longer than usual? If the answer is yes, it's time to come up with a game plan to scale back.
Exercise before/after work day: taking your pup to the park, running with them, or throwing the ball in the back yard will help exert their energy.
Lunch walks: if you live nearby, you might be able to stop by mid-day for a quick relief. If not, there are a handful of local dog-walking services such as Game Time Dog Services that would be happy to help.
Overall, the best way to get your pet back into a normal routine is through gradual transition and positive reinforcement. Not every action will work for you or your dog - so modification is always welcomed. If you're struggling, we recommend chatting and working with a pet trainer.
Do you have additional tips or tricks that we missed, or need a product recommendation? Give us a bark at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social using #TomlinsonsFeed.