Life has looked quite different since a pandemic has taken over the world. Many of us were staying home much more frequently than before and we aren’t the only ones who have gotten used to this new lifestyle. Our pets have also been able to spend much more time with us as a result which might be a difficult adjustment for them now that many of us are returning to work. It’s important that we realize this transition might be stressful for our pets, especially our dogs. Us being home more often has become their new normal. This might be especially stressful for dogs that were adopted during quarantine and have never been alone at home for long periods of time, like an 8-hour work day. By implementing a few things now we can decrease our pet’s stress and make this “return to normal” a little easier.
- Start by getting them used to their new routine slowly. While you are still working from home, get started on the schedule you will be transitioning to. Having a consistent morning routine with your pet such as waking up at a certain time, going for a walk, and feeding will offer some structure to their day.
- Figure out your plan for where your dog will be when you are at work. If you are planning on utilizing the crate then start to increase your pet’s time in the crate slowly. Going from short periods of time to a full 8-hour work day can be very stressful for your dog. Instead, build their time up in a positive way. By using a high-value item that is designated for the crate your pet will associate the crate as a positive place (if they don’t already) and this will give them something to do. Frozen peanut butter Kongs, chew bones (that can be safely consumed while unattended) or a food puzzle are great options to keep their brains busy.
- Exercising your pet in the morning and evening will get them used to a realistic schedule while you’re working during the day. This will start to get them used to exerting energy before and after work while resting during the day.
- Providing calming options like Adaptil spray or wall plug-ins can help ease anxiety. Also playing soft music or having the TV on can be comforting to some pets.
While these tips can make the back-to-work transition a little easier for your pet, it’s also important to understand that every animal is different. While these may work great for some, it might not for others. Doggie daycare might be a good option for your pet if being alone for that long simply isn’t working. This gives them an energy outlet while also making sure they don’t have to be alone during the day. If doggie daycare isn’t a realistic option everyday it might still be worth working into their routine once a week. Hiring a dog walker or pet sitter is also worth considering. This can help break their day up a bit and make being alone for that long a little easier.
If, after these suggestions, you are still needing help with behavior and figuring out the best option for your dog, submit questions to our trainer here: http://support.waysidewaifs.org/site/SurveyACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&SURVEY_ID=1140