Surviving Working from Home with your Dog

Being able to work from home is a luxury and a privilege.

If you've recently started working from home, your dog may be very excited, and a little confused. Are you gonna play with me? Are you gonna feed me? Is it time for a walk? Why aren't you paying attention to me???

Building a routine for your dog will help teach them to relax while you're working. The 3 key elements that we recommend are:

  1. Exercise
  2. Food: such as a long-lasting chew or kibble dispensing puzzle toy
  3. Training

EXERCISE

Wake up extra early so that you have time to exercise your dog prior to beginning your work day. For low energy dogs, a brief stroll in the backyard or neighborhood will suffice. For those really active dogs, a quick walk around the block won’t cut it. Take them on a jog, throw a disc or ball for your dog, or do some canine parkour in the woods or city!

Silken Windhound loves playing frisbee
This 5-year old Silken Windhound, Lugia, loves her daily round of toss and catch!

FOOD

Often times, dogs can be a little “amped” up after exercise - it’s easy to bring your dog to a calmer state of mind by providing an activity that involves either thinking or chewing. Don’t put your dog's breakfast in a simple bowl!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use a kibble dispensing toy, so that your dog has to figure out how to push the toy around until kibble starts to fall out.
  • Stuff a Kong with some canned dog food and freeze it overnight.
  • A long lasting chew, such as a jumbo bully stick, will also be greatly appreciated by your dog!
  • Sprinkle some small training treats over a Snuffle Mat, and let your dog use their incredible sense of smell to sniff out each individual piece.

Banksy the Australian Koolie eats breakfast out of a Kong Wobbler
Banksy, a 2-year old Koolie, uses her paws and nose to bat this Kong Wobbler around until all the kibble falls out.

TRAINING

Incorporate some quick Nose Work in your morning routine! Nose Work is a fun and rewarding activity that is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes.

Hide some treats and kibble throughout your home. The act of “hunting”, or sniffing out hidden treats, is another activity that helps a dog achieve not only calmness, but confidence as they solve more and more complex puzzles. Some dogs are naturals at “hunting”, other dogs will require a few quick training sessions so that they can learn what the game is.

This game teaches your dog how to focus on solving a problem, and many dogs are ready for a nap after just a few minutes of Nose Work.

Coonhound Nose Work Training
Sounder, a Coonhound, finds a treat that was hidden in a cardboard box. Needless to say, he was very proud of himself.

Don't forget to provide a very comfortable dog bed and place it near your desk or in an area where your dog will feel secure. Whenever you notice your dog resting quietly on their bed, calmly praise them and give them a treat. Withhold your treats if they suddenly jump off of the bed, and resume giving them treats when they are laying down. You may want to pair this behavior with a verbal cue, such as "Go lay down", and give them a treat as soon as they rest on their bed. Eventually, your dog will learn that they should just lay down and relax while you're working, instead of trying to deposit a tennis ball on your lap.

Your dog will love the extra time they get to spend with you and will likely end up spending much of the day sleeping.

Australian Koolie taking a nap at the office

Build a consistent routine for your dog.  If you have a regular routine that your dog can look forward to, it will help them relax throughout the day - because they know exactly what to expect.

Banksy is waiting for her post-breakfast walk
"I think it's time for my mid-day walk!"