As a pet-parent, I have had to make major routine changes due to Covid-19. Everyone has. The lockdown has us mostly working from home now. While there’s an upside to spending the whole day with our pets, it can also become a challenge….especially when your pet wants to be your co-worker and participate in your zoom meetings!
Personally, I enjoy spending more time with my dog. But having him nearby all day long isn’t a recipe for a productive workday. Sometimes it’s a real challenge, and I had some adapting to do.
Pet-parents aren’t the only ones who have had to make some changes. Our pets have also had to do some major adjusting too. Your pup might be confused about why you aren’t giving them attention or playing with them, even though you are home all day. They eventually get extremely frustrated and start acting out.
Worried about your pet and how they will cope with these changes? Here are a few pointers on how you can productively work from home and keep your pet happy.
1. Designate a Play Area
Allocating your pet a play area which is separate from your workspace. This is very important for them because it helps get them into the day’s routine as you work. Make the space as comfortable as possible so that it doesn’t feel like a “time out” kind of scenario. It should ideally have their favorite play items, treats and puzzles. Your pet should be relaxed, comfortable, and able to sleep whenever they want to.
2. Give Your Pet a Workout
If your intention is to have a productive workday when working from home, let me let you in on a trick that always works for me. Get your pet to break a sweat early in the day.
I always take some time early in the day to take my dog for a walk. This way, we get to bond and have some “us time”. It’s also great for my dog’s emotional, physical and mental wellness……and mine too.
After some exercise, your pet will be content with resting it off, leaving you to get on with your work for the day.
3. Ignore Attention-Seeking Behavior
Your pet might start whining, pawing, barking, or nudging at you as a way to seek your attention.
One of the general rules of pet training is not to fall for attention-seeking behavior. If you respond in any way at all, even negatively, it communicates to your pet that they can have your attention whenever they demand it.
Completely ignore your pet until it’s the designated time for play or interaction. Remember that even pushing them away or scolding counts as giving attention. I know this is a tough one, but trust me, it’s for the best.
Eventually, when it sinks in that they should act a certain way, it gets easier, and you end up having very productive workdays.
4. Set Aside Some Playtime
In the course of your workday, it’s important to set some playtime aside for your pet. This way, you simultaneously take a break and give your pet some TLC. This makes them feel loved and not feel left out and start acting up. It also sets some boundaries so that you don’t need to stay in separate rooms for you to keep your work rhythm and get some work done.
5. Keep Them Active
Pet parents know their pets will always find a way to be seen or heard, especially when you are on a conference call or an online meeting. They somehow know just how to find the right moment to make a special appearance or start barking at one thing or another during your weekly zoom meeting or conference call.
It may not entirely be unpleasant for your pet to appear on camera during a meeting. It could actually be kind of cute. But we can all agree that it is definitely disruptive.
A treat that can keep your pet occupied for the duration of your call/meeting should do the trick. Give them their favorite toy or treat. If you will be long, try a frozen treat. This will keep them busy for longer, and leave you to concentrate on your work.