For most dog trainers, we have a flexible schedule that allows us to bring our dogs with us to our work place. My schedule varies from week to week but my time spent traveling to different training facilities never changes. My dogs get a lot of practice hanging out in their crates in my vehicle while I am at work. Since COVID-19 has hit the U.S., working from home is becoming the norm for many people.
Our dogs are seeing and spending more time with us. This is no different in my house. My dogs are seeing a lot of me, my husband and my college-aged daughter in the house at the same time. I suspect the amount of time you are spending at home isn’t the “norm” for you either.
Why should you care about a schedule with your dog? When we are able to return to our normal lives, our dogs are going to wonder where we have gone. For some dogs, that may add a layer of anxiety that wasn’t there before. It is important to stick to your regular routine as much as possible. How can we keep things as normal as possible for them?
If your day consisted of getting up at 6:00 a.m., walking and feeding Fido and then heading out to work, you will want to consider sticking with that schedule. But how to replicate going to work when you are working from home? One option is to set up a space in your home and define that as your “office”. When it is time to “leave” for work, say good-bye to Fido, go to your space and close the door. If your dog is used to being confined to a certain area in your home while you work, or if your routine consists of giving your dog a food dispensing toy, be sure to do that before you “leave” for work. The point is, to keep your dog used to his daily habit. The best part of this work from home routine is that during a break in your day, you can take your dog for a walk.
Dogs are adaptable, they are going to love having you and your family members around but they are still going to need their quiet time. Sticking to your daily routine will help your dog when you go back to your “normal” life again.