With COVID restrictions starting to ease, more and more people are returning to the office! You may have mixed feelings about leaving the #WFH lifestyle, and your dog probably feels the same way! It can definitely be a big adjustment for our pups who got used to us being home all the time during the pandemic. So what can you do to make the transition a little easier on both you and your four-legged fam? Here are our top 5 tips!
Practice Makes Perfect
Sudden changes can be the most jarring and difficult to adjust to. If your employer has already set a date that they’re asking staff to return to the office for, it’s best to prep ahead. If your sleep schedule will be changing to accommodate commuting, set your pup up for success by adjusting them to the new routine while you’re still home (and same for their meal times too!) Again, since gradual changes are easier for everyone, don’t just bump their mealtime 2 hours earlier in one day but rather make small 15 min changes over a few weeks. Make sure that the rest of your dog’s routine will match up with your return to the office. This includes the frequency and time of day for walks, playtime, training, etc. Most importantly, start leaving your dog home alone. Begin with short trips but vary how long you are gone and when. Don’t make a big deal out of leaving when you do.
Make Alternative Arrangements
Especially if your dog is very young or very old, being home alone for 8 hours might be too much for them! If you aren’t in a position to pop home for a mid-day walk, it might be a good idea to find a friend or family member who can help you. Alternatively, look at hiring a dog walker - just make sure they have references as this is an unregulated field. Otherwise, if you have other members of the household able to help with walks or potty breaks, do up a schedule so you know your bases are covered!
Keep a Watchful Eye
No matter your dog’s age, if you will be leaving them alone with free reign for the first time in a long time, it’s a good idea to re-puppy proof your house! Make sure there’s nothing toxic that your dog can get into - if you need a refresher on some common household toxins you can read our blog on the topic here. You may want to look into getting a pet camera such as the Furbo or using an old device and an app such as Alfred to keep an eye on your pup while you’re gone. If your dog isn’t as successful with free reign, you can always use a crate or a pen to provide a safe space.
Make It Fun!
You want to make sure that your dog views alone time as a positive experience. Giving them a long lasting chew can help with this but you also want to make sure that it is something they can safely enjoy without the risk of choking! Some enrichment ideas that can help keep your pup busy are a frozen kong or lickimat (did you see last week’s blog on our fave recipes for lickimats?) Some dogs are also more comfortable with some background noise so consider turning on the tv or radio to make it a more enjoyable experience for them!
Meet Their Needs
Although the prep work is key for a smooth transition, don’t forget to make the most of your time together at home. If your dog is fulfilled they are less likely to display destructive behaviour from boredom or frustration. This includes meeting their physical energy needs, as well as their mental needs! Don’t forget to incorporate dedicated training time and various types of enrichment into their day. Along with training or treat puzzles to work their brain, make sure you have some good old fashioned playtime in your routine, too!
Do you have some other tips that we missed? Let us know on social media what has helped you and your bud if you’ve transitioned back to work!
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
-The healthybud team