All over the world dogs have been big winners during the COVID-19 pandemic because they are being adopted and fostered in record breaking numbers.
As so many people found themselves working from home, or just stuck at home, they began to think that this might be the perfect time to welcome a dog into their family. Dog experts have varying opinions on whether or not this was wise – some thinking that the dogs would suffer after the quarantine ended because people wouldn’t want them any more. I tend to be an optimistic type and believe that most people will keep their “COVID” dogs and do their best for them even after returning to the workplace.
As helping adopted dogs remain in their homes is my raison d’etre, I’ve been actively helping people – and their adopted dogs – adjust to life together. I’ve even created a free online course on Preparing Your Dog for Your Return to Work: what to do before and after you return to work so you and your dog have an easy and stress-free transition which you can take at Thinkific.
A blog post can’t cover everything a course can but today, and over the next several weeks, I’m sharing some of the processes and tips from the free course to help your and your dog’s transition as seamless as possible.
How to plan your return to work for your adopted dog
The key to making your transition back to work seamless for you and your dog is planning for it and beginning the process before you actually return to work.
There are two aspects to the plan you will create:
- Preparing your dog to be away from you
- Creating a routine for your dog
The simplest way to prepare your dog to be away from you when you return to work is to ensure she is comfortable spending time away from you now. Since we are on quarantine, it is likely you are spending a lot more time at home than you normally would if you were simply at home for a few weeks vacation.
If you haven’t yet spent time away from your dog, start small. Go outside and take a ten minute walk before returning to your dog. Lengthen the time until you can be away from your dog for a few hours.
You don’t want to set up a situation where your dog gets used to being with you 24/7 and then all of a sudden you are spending 9+ hours away from him during the day. This can cause separation distress/anxiety in your dog (the risk of anxiety is one of the reasons many dog experts are concerned about all the quarantine adoptions).
You can also practice leaving your dog alone by leaving several separate times during the day.
Set your dog up for alone time by creating a comfortable space for her to hang out, providing fun and enriching activities to keep her occupied, ensuring she has food and water as needed and “dog proof” the area she will spend her time in to avoid mischief.
That’s step one. Start now and give your dog daily time to practice being happily on her own.
The other piece for preparing your dog for your return to work is to create a routine for him that works for both of you. I’ll expand on exactly how to do that in next week’s blog post.
Get even more information, checklists and live Q&A sessions by registering for the free course Preparing Your Dog for Your Return to Work: what to do before and after you return to work so you and your dog have an easy and stress-free transition at Thinkific.