If you have pets and you’ve ever had to work from home, you’re probably all too familiar with pet interruptions. You’re in the middle of that important teleconference or video call and suddenly, CRASH, BOOM, (frantic scuffling noise). You, and possibly all of your work colleagues on your video conference, catch a blur of your dog fleeing the scene of the crime. Or maybe it’s the incessant barking during the meeting, which leads you to close the door, but then the barking turns into scratching and whining. Or maybe it’s just your pup looking for love and repeatedly coming in to jump up into your lap, because after all you’re home.
What’s a pet owner to do? We love our pets but we need to work! Not only is it incredibly distracting to us, it’s distracting to our colleagues and clients. Yes, of course your dog is a cutie but everyone’s busy. No one likes being in extended meetings due to constant interruptions from your furry family members.
So how do you keep your dog occupied while you take care of business? There are lots of options. With a little patience and creativity, you can eliminate those unwanted petscapades during that critical meeting.
- As a professional pet sitter I have seen many different types of dog toys and treats. My personal favorite is a rubber Kong. If you’ve never heard of or seen one of these, they’re a hard rubber hollow toy with a small hole in one or both ends. There are many variations (Kong is a brand name) that can be picked up for around $10 online or at your local pet shop (https://amzn.to/2VBISn4). The beauty of these is that they are nearly indestructible and can be filled with whatever your dog likes. Peanut butter and spray cheese work well and if you’re looking for healthier options you can do canned pumpkin or whatever homemade recipe you prefer. The idea is you fill the toy with yummy goodness through these small holes and your dog spends time working to get the treat out. This takes hours (I’m not kidding, hours) and you can even prolong this by freezing the Kong so that now your dog has a frozen treat which is even more fun!
- Do for your dog what you do for yourself when you’re bored, turn on the TV! While you can use regular people channels, this is where technology shines. Today we have channels specifically dedicated to and designed for dogs. Ron Levi, the founder and chief content officer of DogTV, says “Dogs are proven to like to see other dogs on screen.”. And the dog TV channels aren’t just content related to dogs. Dogs see differently than we do so these channels cater to what is visible to your dog’s eyes. They also break the “shows” up into three to five-minute episodes rotating between stimulation, relaxation, and exposure to keep your dog interested. Of course, like people, some dogs like to watch TV and some don’t and as a responsible pet parent you need to be sure to encourage responsible viewing. It’s important not to let your dog binge watch reality television while working their way through whatever junk food is in the cabinets.
- Find a friend for your dog! Adopt a brother or sister for your furry family member. This is, of course, an entirely personal choice and should not be entered into lightly but often may be the solution to keeping your dog entertained when you can’t be there for them.
- Provide your dog with a view to the world. This can be a chair positioned next to a window that your dog can sit on or a curtain drawn back to allow your dog to comfortably watch the world outside from the comfort of his own bed. And to make this even more appealing, locate the viewing spot somewhere with the most interesting view, possibly of the street outside with cars and people going by. You can even help create an interesting view by putting bird feeders outside the window. This works assuming, of course, that your dog doesn’t go crazy every time he sees someone or something move outside. But many dogs are happy to just watch the activity quietly for periods of time.
- Hire a professional dog walker. You might be thinking, I’m working from home, I should be able to walk my own dog. Yes, you’re working from home, but the key word here is working. As much aa you love to spend time with your dog, your workday is supposed to be about work. Even when you think you have the time, what often ends up happening is you squeeze a quick potty break for your pup in between meetings and emails. This takes care of the immediate need, but doesn’t really help the issue with your dog being bored to the point where she’s crashing your meetings. A dog walker can take your dog out for a longer, more productive walk, getting her the mental and physical stimulation she needs to come home and nap while you go about your workday, undisturbed.
There you have it, ways to temporarily occupy your dog to allow you to get some work done. Of course, I can’t do anything about all of the other distractions in your house that you’ll run into during your workday (and that load of laundry really does need to get done).
Written by Eliza Burr for Lincoln Pet Culture. Eliza Burr is the owner of two successful pet related businesses; Preferred Pet Partners, a pet sitting and dog walking company, and The Pet Business Coach, offering coaching and resources to aspiring or current pet related business entrepreneurs. She maintains two awesome blogs. One for pet parents https://preferredpetpartners.com/blog/ and one for pet business owners https://thepetbusinesscoach.dog/blog-page/. Eliza also supports various animal rescue and shelter organizations. Eliza, her husband, and their three pets live in Nebraska. Visit her websites: www.preferredpetpartners.com or www.thepetbusinesscoach.dog.