Preparing Your Dog as People Transition Back to the Office from WFH
As the world begins to make tentative steps back to normality, this will involve transitioning back to working from an office. Remote working, or WFH (working from home), will likely be seen less frequently once the dangers of COVID-19 have passed. What will this mean for your furry friend that has been napping by your side since early 2020?
Unfortunately, your dog is going to need to adjust to your return to the office. Since they will be deeply set in a routine that involves you working from home, they may need some time to become comfortable with being left at home alone again.
Check for how your dog is coping
It would be a good idea to do a couple of dry runs, just to check exactly how your dog feels when left home alone for a significant period of time. Consider leaving home for a few hours and looking for any signs of separation anxiety upon your return.
If you are not expecting your dog to handle being alone very well, try leaving home in short periods of up to 10 minutes to begin with. When they become more confident being left alone, you can try longer amounts of time.
Signs of separation anxiety in your dog might include the following:
Whining or crying when you leave home
Digging holes or trying to escape
Scratching at or destroying furniture/carpets when you are gone
Shivering or panting in normal temperatures
Chewing their paws
How to help a dog with separation anxiety
If you have realized that your dog is likely going to have difficulties when you leave back to the office, there are things you can do to help the situation.
First of all, try to normalize being left alone for your dog. Avoid making a fuss of them when you leave - saying goodbye emotionally and in a high-pitched voice is going to increase their anxiety. You should try to create a morning routine that ends with you calmly leaving home.
You can also try to turn your departure into more of a fun event for your dog! Consider leaving them some new toys or treats when you head out the door. Giving your dog a walk before you leave home is another surefire way to improve their mood and associate your departure with a positive experience.
Here are some other things you can do to try and make life easier for your dog when you leave home for work:
Find toys or treats that will keep your dog occupied for a while. Consider a KONG toy that can be filled with peanut butter and frozen to make a treat that will take your dog a while to finish!
There are toys known as ‘Snuggle Puppies’ which your dog can rest with. They replicate the heartbeat of a littermate to help your dog feel like they have some reassuring company while you are out.
Try not to greet your dog too enthusiastically when you return. It can be very hard to avoid giving your dog a big hug when you return after a day at work, but it can be beneficial for them to have you leave and return without making much fuss.
On a similar note, try not to take your dog everywhere you go inside and outside the house. Your dog should learn that being alone is safe and nothing to be worried about. On the other end of the scale, do not withhold affection either. This will only serve to make your dog anxious because of an abnormal lack of affection.