Paw-ductivity Tips: Working from Home with Your Dog
Working from home with your dog seems like a dream scenario – who wouldn’t want to spend more time with someone so adorable? However, the presence of a precious pooch can be problematic for productivity if you’re not prepared.
While not intentional, our furry friends can be a bit of a distraction when you work from home. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help maintain a healthy work-life balance when you’re at home with your dog.
Create an Appropriate Work Space
While it may sound amazing to have a furry friend by your side as you work, it’s not always quite as ideal as you’d expect. Some dogs have an innate ability to be calm and quiet during work, but others don’t quite understand that mom or dad is trying to focus. From the occasional nudge for attention to the unexpected barks during a conference calls, having a dog in the room is an adorable distraction – but a distraction, nonetheless.
If your dog is overall calm and quiet while you work, great! Having your dog around can be relaxing for both of you while you work. Bring a bed or blanket that they like into the place where you’ll be working so they can be comfortable while you are focused. A few favorite toys or a dog chew can give your dog something to “work on” as well. A few toys can give your dog an outlet to burn some energy during work hours.
Is your dog a lap dog? You may have a sofa or reclining chair that will accommodate you both, and that’s fine if it works for both of you. Be sure your position does not stress your back or neck over longer period of time. Working at a table or desk? You dog might be willing to sit next to you on a chair.
If your dog is more curious and interested versus calm, the best way to manage unwanted disturbances is to work in a separate area from your furry friend. This space can be a separate room with a closed door, a part of the house that’s blocked off, or anywhere else where your pooch can’t nose his way in on your business. Crate training is another way to maintain some form of separation, whether the crate is in a different room or the same area where you work. Yes, it may be difficult at first for both of you, but it can be a better long-term solution for both of you (especially when you’re facing some tight deadlines).
Set a Regular Routine
Developing a regular daily routine is helpful for getting work done. Your home is full of several potential distractions, including a furry friend who isn’t concerned about your work goals for the day. Some spontaneous fun is great every now and then, but a regular routine schedule can help you balance both work and play.
When it comes to a regular work routine, you’ll want to set some target work hours and then add in some dedicated breaks for both you and your dog. Every job is different, but the basics are still the same – set standard working hours from start to finish and try to stick to them. From there, you can add in regular stops for bathroom breaks, lunch, and a few well-deserved points for you and your canine companion to spend some time together. Not only will a regular schedule help you keep on track with work, your dog should start to recognize these patterns and adapt over time.
Keep Your Dog Active and Entertained
Once you have some breaks planned out, it’s good to make sure you have a healthy mix of activities so that you and your dog can move around, get outside the house, and have some fun. The following activities are great options for any break:
While some regular cuddles or walks will keep your dog busy during your breaks, consider rotating different toys in and out every so often to give your dog some variety so he doesn’t get bored with the same items. Puzzle games or a snuffle mat, where you can hide a few Bil-Jac Treats, can be especially rewarding to your best friend once a day.
Don’t Give in to Cries for Attention
While it may sound easy to maintain a regular work routine and work in a separate space, it gets a lot harder once you hear your best friend cry or whine for you. The occasional cry for attention is common – your dog doesn’t understand that you have other responsibilities and may become bored or anxious. Stay strong to make sure that you not only get your work done, but that your dog also learns that a little distance is okay.
It may go against your parental instincts, but it’s important not to give in if you hear you dog paw or whine at your door. While they may seem sad that you need to focus on work, stopping and giving them attention will only reinforce that type of behavior to them. It may take a few days, but if you maintain a regular schedule with enough breaks and toys, your dog should grow used to your work from home routine and will enjoy the fact that working from home means you are home sooner to spend some well-deserved time with them.
Working from home can be tricky at first, but it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your dog once you both grow used to the routine. In the end, more time at home means more time you can spend with your canine companion, even if you need to be strict about your schedule.
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