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Prepare Your Dog for When You Return to Work

Pet Care Dogs Posted May 7, 2020
Saying goodbye to your favourite colleague is always hard, so here are some tips that you and your furry friend can master before you return to work

With COVD-19 restrictions slowly lifting, we humans are bursting at the seams to get back out into the world. But what does this mean for our pets? Our wonderful companions who so selflessly kept us company during isolation. Their presence in our workplaces will be gravely missed, as Karen from HR probably doesn’t like pats as much as your Kelpie does.

Not only will we miss them, but they will miss us (cats not so much?). So before you leave that front door with your briefcase and dress shoes, your pet should be adjusted to living without you for the workday. Here are some tips to help you get there, and what better time to implement them than during isolation.

Create a Routine

We know it may be difficult to hold back from cuddling your furry friend through every waking hour, but it is important to create and stick to a routine. Setting certain times for rest, play, exercise and alone time will help prepare them (and you) for when you head back to the office.

Sleep time

Isolation has seen us curled up in our beds for long periods of time, and it’s important we let our dogs do the same thing. By letting our pooches sleep we are ensuring they are getting their 10-14 hours a day. We can hold back our need to play with them just that little longer until they wake up on their own.

Play time

Speaking of play time, it’s a good idea encourage your dog to play with toys, especially ones that are self-directed where you are not required. Long-lasting treat toys can be great enrichment and help promote the idea that time alone can be fun.

Check out our top picks for DIY projects, including a crinkly bottle toy, a toss toy, and even projects for pocket pets! These DIY’s are perfect projects for anyone in the family and require only what’s already lying around the house. Here are some more tips for enrichment from home and indoor entertainment.

Too Many Walks?

All this free time can make us wonder about our own fitness, and taking our dogs with us seems like the best idea. Most dogs only need 30-45 mins of aerobic exercise daily, and while we may need more (thanks to isolation snacks), it’s important to keep your walkies within the capabilities of your canine companion. Find an exercise routine that suits you and your pooch, keeping in mind how you can still implement it when you return to work.

RSPCA School for Dogs Online Training

Does your canine need that little bit of extra training? RSPCA’s School for Dogs online training is perfect for you and your pooch to master new tools to adapt to any situation. With classes ranging from puppy to foundation and even behaviour consults, we are able to assist you to unlock your dog’s potential, right from your living room. There is no time like the present so book in today.

Why do I need to prepare?

Unfortunately, dogs may experience separation distress without someone home. All of this time with humans can encourage a dog to expect that this is the new norm. We know that these times are far from normal, but our pets don’t know that. Returning to work can be a shock for them, so by implementing these strategies we are reducing the occurrence of this anxiety.

If your dog does show signs of suffering from separation anxiety, please contact your vet to find out more options for their individual needs. One strategy to combat this anxiety, which you can do right now, is practice desensitisation. Again, consult your vet for advice first. Desensitisation is as simple as acting out your departure cues – grabbing your keys, wallet, heading for the door – and then sitting back on your couch. This decreases your dog’s sensitivity to your departure. By gradually increasing the time spent alone – leaving the house for a couple of seconds, leaving the house for a couple of hours – your dog will start to realise that it’s okay to be alone.

Implementing these strategies will help your pet understand that your workday no longer revolves around them. Clocking off, however, is a different, snuggly story.

Here are some more tips to help reduce separation distress within dogs. 

Jemima Moore
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