The Dog Parent Productivity Guide for Working From Home With a Dog

working from home with a dog
Some people may think that working from home means you can get up whenever you want, work when you feel like it, and take off early to do fun things you could not do before the coronavirus pandemic. Wrong! Sure, it’s nice to skip that drive to work in the morning and having to deal with other people all day. But working from home also takes structure, discipline, and scheduling. For both you and your furbaby.
Your dog is probably in heaven thinking he won the lottery because you are home with him all day now. They don’t know what the coronavirus is or that you are actually home to work, not to entertain them. It can be difficult on both of you to set the ground rules and stick to them. Have you ever tried to do a conference call with your dog barking in the background? It’s not as fun as it sounds.
Although it can be difficult to stay focused on work with your pooch giving you the sad puppy eyes, you know you actually have to get some work done. Don’t let your pooch photobomb your Zoom meetings or video conference. We have some good ideas to keep your fuzzy family member busy while you concentrate on work.
working with home with a dog tip

Just remember, this time at home is a bonus for both of you as you can create a better bond with your pooch while working from home. Your dog is going to be so happy! Read about how Rolo sprained his tail from wagging it so much in happiness at having his humans home with him all day.

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Benefits of working from home with a dog

Benefits of working from home with a dog
Being a home-based worker is beneficial in so many ways such as not having to pay for gas, saving on day care, and working in your pajamas (well..not really). But the best benefit may be the one you get from spending more time with your furbabies. Even if you don’t have any human kids, your dog is your baby and being able to stay home with them is a major bonus that many of us have not really thought about.

You have probably heard the benefits of having a dog like lowering stress levels and increasing serotonin levels. Those are the chemicals in the brain that help improve your mood. Of course there are other benefits of working from home with your pooch. We are going to share with you some of those surprising benefits.

Lowers Stress Levels

Have you ever been at work and thought how much happier you would be if you could bring your best fur-iend with you? The joy of working from home is even more beneficial when you have a dog. In fact, according to studies done by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), having a pup reduces anxiety and depression. Somehow, they increase your “feel-good” hormones, lower anxiety, and decrease your blood pressure.
You cannot deny that having your pet with you while working is much better than not having them with you. Who wants to be away from their baby all day long? When you are not worrying about what they may be getting into, you may be thinking about how sad they may be just waiting for you to come home. So, working from home with your pooch is a win-win.

Happier Dog

Not only does working from home help you, it is also beneficial for your furbabies. They love that you are home with them all the time! Even while you are working, just having you there with them makes your dog happier. With their best fur-iend home with them, how could they not be happier? Many pooches have separation anxiety when left home alone whether you are aware of it or not.
Have you ever come home from work to a house full of torn up toilet paper, shoes, or something else that you were not pleased with? These are signs of separation anxiety. Having you home all day relieves that anxiety, making your pet happier and you will be happier too. And we all want to be happier, right? We already have enough other things to worry about.

Boost productivity

You would be surprised at how much more productive you are when you have your furbaby with you while you work. Whether it is because you worry less or because just looking at your happy pup increases your serotonin levels, having Fido or Fluffy next to you while you work is beneficial to your work productivity. Worrying about what your pooch is doing and whether he is missing you or scared of being home alone can slow down your work drastically.
In fact, studies have shown that when your dog is with you at work, your stress levels are much lower than those days when your dog is not with you. Also, if you are feeling stressed out over a problem with a client, you can just reach out and give your dog a scratch behind the ear and it will make both of you feel better.

Makes Us Happier

You already know that being with your dog lowers your stress levels. But did you know that they can actually make you happier? It’s true! The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has done studies that prove being around your pup decreases depression as well. This may be due to the serotonin and other happy hormones that increase when you are with your pooch, but it may also have something to do with exercise.
Any kind of physical activity will increase your serotonin and oxytocin, which are both hormones that increase happiness. Having a dog will definitely get you moving around whether you want to or not. You have to take them for walks and play with them to keep them healthy, which in turn makes you healthier and happier too. Another win-win situation. And having your pooch with you means you will never be alone so say goodbye to loneliness too.

Breaks

When you work in an office all day, you sometimes do not get to take a break and the same thing can happen when you work at home. But if you have your dog there, you have to take a break. You need to take your pooch for a walk or give them some food or water. Play a game of fetch or just spend some peaceful cuddle time.
Sticking to a schedule should always include breaks at certain times of the day. This is important for you as well as your dog. An established routine is essential to mental as well as physical health. Make a schedule for your workday and Fido’s walks, playtime, and mealtime to coordinate with your own so you can both stick to a schedule, making your lives easier and more productive.

Winning Tips For a Daily Work Routine Home with Your Dog

Go on a walk before starting your day

Go on a walk before starting your day
Nobody likes to be stuck in the house doing nothing all day, especially your dog. Start out the day doing something that makes both of you happy. Taking Fido for a half-hour walk before sitting down to work is beneficial for you both in many ways. But don’t just take him on a quick walk around the block. Let him enjoy it.
You have to go slow and let your pooch sniff and snuffle the grass to find those hidden “messages” left by other dogs. This is how dogs learn who was where and whether or not they should mark that spot or leave it alone. The mental exercise this gives your pup is just as good for him as taking him for a long run in the park. And a tired dog is a good dog when you are trying to get work done.
You get many benefits out of taking your furbaby for a walk every day. The exercise alone is beneficial because it gets your heart rate going and helps strengthen your legs as well as your heart. The mood-boosting hormones you get out of the physical activity is another bonus of taking your furry friend for a walk before work.
Walking is good for your pup’s health as well. Obesity is just as bad for dogs as it is for humans. They can get diabetes, cardiovascular issues, liver disease, and osteoarthritis. So, get out there and take a walk. Once you get home, just make sure their water bowl is full of fresh clean water and you can boot up the computer.

Keep Your Dog Occupied with Interactive Toys and Long-Lasting Chews

All dog parents know that puppies love to chew and play all day long. In fact, many do not ever grow out of that habit. There are many reasons why puppies chew on things. They may have teething pain as their teeth come in, it could be their way to explore the world around them, and it is also a sign of boredom or separation anxiety. And some dogs are just addicted to attention and want to play or bark all the time when you are not paying attention to them.
Working from home means you are with your pooch all day, but is he going in the other room and chewing up your favorite shoes while you are on that zoom meeting or video call? Or barking and whining for your attention? Your pup may just be so used to their own routine that they act out automatically if you do not pay attention to them. You know that when your dog gets bored, anything can happen, and it can be quite difficult to keep them busy.
Don’t just scold your furbaby and go back to work. You cannot expect him to change his habits by bullying him. In fact, this can actually make him act out more, from stress. If your pupster is still chewing on the furniture, barking, or whining after you take him for a walk and wear both of you out, just give him something better to do. You can find a plethora of chew toys out there that your dog may like but the best ones are the ones that your pooch will spend a lot of time with. Giving them a bone is fine, but they may tire of that quickly.

Try some toys that you can stuff food in like a Kong. You can make these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer or refrigerator. Then, give Fido one of them to work on before starting your own work in the morning. If you do it right, it can take about 30 minutes or more for him to get all the stuff out of there. We suggest peanut butter because it takes a long time to lick all that gooey goodness out of there. You can also use wet and dry food mixed together. Try some fruit and vegetables to mix things up. Just make sure your dog is not allergic to anything you are using. Feeding your pup from a puzzle or toy helps keep their mind busy and sharp as well as keeping them from eating too fast. Here are some of our recommendations:

Interactive Puzzle Game Toys for Dogs

Outward Hound, Nina Ottosson - Interactive Puzzle Game Toys for Dogs
Outward Hound, Nina Ottosson
Just like humans, our furbabies need to stay busy because they can get depressed or anxious if they don’t have enough to stimulate themselves with. These pawesome puzzle toys are fun and teach your pooch to learn new things while providing mental stimulation. With several different varieties, you can get one that has drawers that your dog has to learn how to open to get the food or treat or one that he has to slide flippers out of the way to get at them. You can make it easy at first and then change it up to make it more challenging as he learns how to do it. They keep your dog busy for a long time while you work and are dishwasher safe.

Our Pets IQ Treat Ball

Our Pets IQ Treat Ball
All dogs love playing with balls and this one has an extra special surprise inside. The food or treat-dispenser sharpens your pup’s senses, gives them some exercise, and keeps them busy for hours. Once your furbaby gets the trick, make it more challenging by adjusting the difficulty level. It is easy to clean as well.

AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat

AWOOF Snuffle Mat for Dogs
If your pup loves to sniff (as all dogs do), toss some treats or kibble into this snuffle mat and let him go. It should take a while for your pooch to get it all out of there, but if he is getting them too fast, tighten the drawstring to make it more difficult. And it is machine washable so cleaning couldn’t be easier.

Wooly Snuffle Mat - Feeding Mat for Dogs

Wooly Snuffle Mat Feeding Mat for Dogs
For an even more challenging snuffle mat, this large Wooly from PAW5 is fur-fect for any size dog. From the tiny Teacup Poodle to the giant Great Dane, they all love snuffling the treats out of this shaggy toy. Just drop the treats or kibble into the mat and let him at it. No training needed and you can just toss it in the washing machine to clean it.
Make your own snuffle mat rather than buying one. In fact, we have a DIY snuffle mat on our list of DIY Dog Projects that is easy and fast. You can make it the night before work and your pup can use it the next morning while you work.

KONG - Classic Dog Toy

KONG - Classic Dog Toy
Don’t forget old faithful, the KONG dog treat toy. These are the original treat toys and are so durable and enjoyable, you can use these for any pooch. They come in different sizes and difficulty levels. And you can put just about anything in a KONG. Of course, the obvious choice is treats or kibble, but if you stuff a bit of canned dog food, peanut butter, yogurt, or baby food in there first, your pupster will stay busy for hours. Watch this video to see other things to put in your KONG.

West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy

This dog puzzle treat toy is a new twist on the KONG toy. You can stick a long treat in the middle and smaller treats in there as well. It will take your pup hours to get that chewy stick out of the middle and that is a good thing because he will be busy while you get some work done. It’s dishwasher safe so it is easy to clean.

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
Does your pup eat too fast? Forget about feeding Fido from a bowl. Inside this toy you can fit a whole meal of kibble and it will take him a good long time to get it all out of there. And afterward, he will still play with it because it’s a fun toy that smells like food. Just clean with mild soap and water and it is ready to go again.

Hartz Oinkies Rawhide Free Pig Skin Dog Treat Chews

Hartz Oinkies Rawhide Free Pig Skin Dog Treat Chews
How about a treat toy that is completely edible? Nothing to clean afterward. And one of these filled chews lasts for hours. You can get them filled with peanut butter, bacon, beef, sausage, or chicken. Made of real pig skin and no rawhide so they are completely safe as well as yummy.

IDig

iDig Digging Toy by iFetch
Do you have a digger? Let him dig with this pawsitively fun digging toy. Load up the pockets of the digger flaps and watch him go. You can use treats, kibble, and even some of his favorite toys. Easy to care for too. Just toss in the washer, let it air dry, and it folds up nicely for storage.

Give Your Furbaby Their Own Space to Chill

Give Your Furbaby Their Own Space to Chill
Give your pooch his own space where he can relax while you are working. In some cases, you can just put a soft dog bed or pillow near your workspace. Other dogs do not do as well being so close to you if they are constant attention-seekers. You may have to encourage them to stay in their own space. You can try tossing a treat here and there while they are in their space. They will assume that treats are just falling from the sky as long as they stay in that one spot, so they hang out there and wait.
If you have a puppy, it may be a bit more difficult to keep them in one place. Just like human toddlers, puppies tend to wander off when you are not paying attention. You cannot be running off to find your pup while you are in a Zoom meeting or on a conference call. They may need a gated area or a kennel. But make sure they have a comfortable space with a bed or blanket as well as toys and water for them when they need it. The Puppy Zone should be within your eyesight and you need to make sure there is nothing in there they can choke on or swallow that may be dangerous.
It is also a good idea to feed your pooch in their safe place to help them bond with their area. Giving them this stress-free space for mealtime makes your furbaby more comfortable and can prevent those guarding incidents. For example, some dogs do not like anyone near them or their bowl when eating. They don’t have to worry about this in their safe zone.

Train Your Dog to Stop Barking at the Mailman

Most dogs bark at the mail carrier or when someone knocks at the door. After all, they think it is their job to warn you that someone is nearby. And it is, but not all the time. Why does it seem like the mail or UPS delivery drivers always show up when you are on an important conference call? Even if you are not, Fido’s non-stop barking makes it impossible to concentrate on work.
You can try letting your pooch get used to the mail carrier by letting him sniff the mail or you may even want to introduce them, so your pooch knows they are not a threat. You have to do this carefully with your dog on a leash and be sure to ask the mail carrier first before just opening the door and freaking them out.

Another good idea is to be prepared by keeping a supply of dog treats or kibble on your desk. Keep the office door shut so your pup is not so close to the front door or mailbox. When you hear the mail or UPS driver coming, toss out some treats to keep them busy. This distraction can help your pooch forget all about who is at the door. 

Use Noise Masking and Curtains to Keep Your Pooch Calm

Does your dog like to tell you loud and clear about every single squirrel or bird he sees laughing at him through the window? Or maybe he is just yelling at them or telling them (loudly) to go away. Well, this is normal dog behavior so if you don’t want your dog’s bark to interrupt your meeting or conference call, you need to close those curtains or get some blinds your pooch cannot tear to shreds.

If that does not help, your pup may just be barking at noises he hears outside. Don’t forget, your dog can hear a lot better than you can so even if you don’t hear that cat meowing five blocks away, Fido sure does. They can also hear high frequencies that we cannot hear. Try turning on a fan, noise machine, or some calm music to block out those annoying sounds so you can work. Listen to what BrightDog Academy Dog Training has to say about this “alert barking.”

Brain Games and Training on Your Schedule

Brain Games and Training on Your Schedule
It can be hard enough keeping yourself on a schedule when working from home, but it is even more difficult when you have to get your dog on the same schedule. If your pooch is used to being home alone all day, he may not like you trying to change his schedule of barking at the squirrels, running in circles, or chewing on the furniture.
Time management has to be strict for the both of you because if you start playing with your furbaby “for just a minute,” you may find that you spend an hour with your furry friend. To keep the interruptions to a minimum, you need to set specific times for breaks for you and your pooch. And stick to them. This not only helps keep you productive, it also helps teach your dog obedience.
If you are looking for ways to tire out your dog while you are on those breaks, you don’t have to always be focused on the physical. Your dog has a brain and it needs stimulation and a workout just like ours does. Try some of these puzzles and brain games that only take a few minutes but will help stimulate your dog’s mind.

Play indoor scent games

Compared to humans, dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors while we only have about six million. Their part of the brain is 40 times bigger than ours! They can find truffles, lost people, and even cadavers in the water. That is why your dog experiences most of his world through sense of smell. You can see that while you are walking, and he constantly stops to sniff the grass or trees. At home, your pooch will sniff the rug, furniture, you, and everything else.
Indoor scent games combine your furbaby’s love of sniffing with learning new things. Scent games can be done indoors or out, but indoor is the best place because there are too many scents outside, and your pup may get distracted. Keep your best fur-iend mentally stimulated by using some simple indoor scent games and nose work in this video by Modern Canine Training.

Set up an indoor agility course

Set up an indoor agility course
Many years ago, when dogs lived in the wild, they had to work for their food. This gave them the skills they needed to find, hunt, and chase their prey. Because they did not have human pet parents to give them their kibble every day. They had to really work hard for it sometimes, trekking through narrow passages, up steep hills, over logs and rocks, and through the woods. And they had to be fast to catch that next meal.
Agility courses are set up to be just like those natural hunting skills so your pampered pooch can get the feelings of excitement from the hunt. It is also good for them to get that exercise and use those senses that they don’t often use sitting in the house with mom and dad. Preventing obesity, strengthening joints and bones, building muscles, and increasing endurance are also some im-paw-tant benefits.
Since we are working from home and with all of the coronavirus issues, setting up an agility course at home is a fur-ific idea! Just by using a few books and a stick, you can make a jump for your pooch and you can even use those cat tunnels to make tunnels for your dog to run through. It does not have to be a difficult or professional course. Your dog will benefit from it no matter what.
This type of activity also builds that necessary bond between you and your furbaby. Working with them and giving them encouragement helps bolster that bond and increases his agility and confidence while he learns self-control. Watch this video to find out an easy way to set up an agility course in your home.

Play with a Flirt Pole

Flirt Pole
You may be wondering what a flirt pole is. No, it is not like those poles that pole dancers use while they dance in their skimpy little costumes. You are not teaching your dog to be a pole dancer. A flirt pole is a long pole that has some kind of rope or thick cable attached to one end with a tug toy tied to it. Similar to those sticks with the feathers on them that you dangle in front of your cat.
Most dogs love to chase things. Anything. Cars, cats, the mail carrier… Moving targets are like a magnet to your pooch. Flirt poles are fun to play with for both of you because you get the joy of trying to keep it away from your dog while he chases the toy. These are also great for training.
If your pup is one of those furbabies that block out everything else when they see a moving target, you can teach them self-control with a flirt pole. And you can do it inside while you are on break from work. Find out how to get your dog to learn better self-control with this pawesome video.

Learn to Ignore Rather than Spoil Your Pup

working from home with a dog - Learn to Ignore Rather than Spoil Your Pup
Sometimes we spoil our furbabies and they get used to having our attention all the time when we are home. Up until now, that may have been okay, but while you are trying to work at home, having your pooch whine and beg for your attention all day is not going to work. You need to show your dog who the “top dog” is in your house.
Because canines are smart as well as social, they quickly figure out how to get you to do what they want when they want it. In a sense, they have you trained. Of course, it is good to pay attention to your pup, but it is not good to jump every time he barks. Especially since he always seems to do it when you are on the phone or in a meeting.

It’s Okay to Ignore your dog

While you do not want to punish or yell at your dog (please don’t do it because it really won’t work and you will risk damaging your relationship with your furbaby), you will need to learn how to ignore him. It is not a mean thing to do even though you may feel like it is the most horrible thing you can do. It is very difficult to ignore your best fur-iend. Ignoring him will show him that his whining and begging is not going to get him what he wants. It wont take too long to get him to give up and try something else.

Be Sure to Reward Your Dog’s Good Behavior

Be Sure to Reward Your Dog’s Good Behavior
You have to stick to your own rules, or your dog is not going to stick to them either. Only give him attention and treats when he does something you like such as lying down, sitting quietly, or playing with one of his toys. Try your best not to give him any attention when he is barking, pulling on your clothing, whining, or doing any other mischievous acts.

Set Up a Schedule So Your Pup Knows What is Coming

If you notice that your pooch is trying to get your attention more often or is being bad more than usual, you may need to try structured attention. Set your dog on a schedule and stick to it. Try two or three play sessions about 15 minutes each. Make sure to stick to the same times every day. Also be sure to spend some quiet time with him a few times a day just petting or cuddling with him. As long as you stick to the schedule, he will stop begging because he knows you will be giving him attention soon.

Change Things Up on the Weekends

One of the best things about working in an office rather than at home is that you could leave the office at the end of the day and go home. But if you are just walking your pooch every day around the block and then going home to work, you may feel stuck in a rut. And so does your dog. We all need a change once in a while.

When the weekend comes, the last thing you want to do is walk the same route again. And while your furbaby loves going for walks, they get sick of the same scents, scenery, and people. Why not pack up the pup in the car and hit the beach or go for a walk in one of the awesome parks in your area? It will be good for both you and your pooch to change things up on the weekends. Don’t forget to practice social distancing to prevent getting or spreading the coronavirus

The importance of routine and consistency

The importance of routine and consistency
Yes, even though your dog needs a change of pace once in a while, they are still creatures of habit and their world is shaped by how safe and happy they feel in their environment. Just like humans, dogs need to have a stable routine with consistent schedules to handle anything that comes their way. And their behavior is greatly ruled by how well-established they are.
Those furbabies that do not have a good routine in their lives typically feel insecure, and can be depressed, anxious, and stressed out. It can even affect your pooch’s physical health. A well-balanced routine keeps your dog secure in their environment and it shows in how they behave. So, if your pooch is acting out while you are trying to work at home, it may just be that you need to set a more consistent schedule for you both.

Dog Proofing Your Home

dog proofing your home
Even though you are home all day now, you still need to make sure your house is doggy-proof every day. You don’t want him getting into things that can be dangerous while you are busy. Managing your environment is the best way to keep your pup safe, so take some time to look around before sitting down at your desk.
Set up gates as needed, keep the trash properly sealed or out of reach, and make sure there are no toys or other belongings out where your pup can get them. When dogs get bored, they tend to explore and to follow their nose, so they will find anything you leave laying around. Make sure your cleaning products are safely put away and electrical cords are not available as chew toys.

Cherishing Every Moment With Your Dog

Cherishing Every Moment With Your Dog
Having our furbaby next to us while we work is an extra bonus that we have gotten from this coronavirus pandemic. Having a dog teaches us things as well. They always love us unconditionally, they give us a reason to smile after a hard day with just a wag or a lick, and their loyalty is unmatched by anyone. If we could all just be more like our dogs, the world would be a better place.
Are you working from home with your pet? How do you keep your pooch entertained while you are working? How do you manage to get everything done with your best fur-iend sitting there looking at you with those big doggy-eyes? Share some of your tips and tricks with us for a happy work-pup relationship in the comments below.
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