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How To Raise A Puppy When You Work From Home

When we talk about puppy care while working from home, many imagine an idyllic scene of a calm dog curled up near you as you work, always ready to play when you’re taking a break. However, those of us who have lived through it realise it’s often a chaotic comedy of errors involving dogs crashing calls and meetings, frantic barking at real or imagined things and constant begging for attention, play and treats.

As with most relationships, you need healthy boundaries which you should stick to with consistency. Here are a few puppy care suggestions (work from home edition) to deal with common problem behaviours which will go a long way towards your pup’s happiness and your sanity!

Designated Play Times

Of course your dog doesn’t understand why you’re staring at a screen instead of playing with him, and admittedly, the latter is a much more attractive option. For the sake of your productivity, you should have designated play times. That ensures that your puppy is suitably entertained and demonstrates to your fur-baby that obedience and patience reap rewards. And as a bonus, you can get back to work refreshed and rejuvenated from each of your play sessions together!

Pup-free Workspace

Petting your dog in the middle of a workday used to be most pet parents’ dream when they weren’t working from home. Now, alas, we’ve discovered our little angels are really challenging office-mates who just won't allow you to work. They could be needy velcro-dogs who are overly attached to you, perhaps they have a barking (or worse, howling) problem, or they could be just irresistibly cute. In case you just can’t get any work done while your furry BFF is near you, set up a workspace where your dog isn’t allowed. This will make it easier for your pup to understand when it’s time for you to work and when it’s play-time, and it’ll work wonders for your work-life balance.

Don’t Get Trained By Your Dog

We’ve all been there. Your dog has looked at you with those puppy-dog eyes, begged, whined or barked his way into getting you to do exactly what he wanted. It could be attention, affection, a treat or playtime. And you think “well, it’s just this once!”. But that’s where you're wrong, because he understands it as the most effective way to get what he wants. Essentially, he’s trained you to respond to his negative behaviour by giving in. The key to flipping that equation and getting back in charge is consistency. If his actions yield no results over a period of time, he’ll look for other, more positive ways to ask for what he wants. Investing a little of your time training your dog with lots of positive reinforcement will really help both of you.

Banish Boredom

A bored dog looks for entertainment and as his human, you’re his first choice. If you’re busy at work, he’s going to pursue his own hobbies which can be chewing the furniture or marking the house. Ensure your dog is tired before you start your day; a long walk or jog together will tire him and energise you! Doing so will mean that he’ll be napping while you work. Of course, that’s just the beginning. Interactive dog toys can keep them physically and mentally stimulated while you seize the day. Taking them on strolls or playing with them during your chai breaks will also help satisfy his need for interaction and you’ll be much more relaxed and productive when you get back to work.

Be Kind To Yourself

Working from home has its own set of challenges and you’re doing your best to juggle them all and be a stellar pet parent at the same time. There will be times you are swamped with work and can’t devote as much time as you like to keeping your pup at their happiest, but that would happen even if you were working out of an office. There will also be times you’ll wind up using your pup as a means of procrastination to get away from boring work. And if you’re waiting for input from someone else, you might have time to kill and the best use of that could be giving your dog some love and affection.

None of these are ideal, but they will happen and judging yourself for being inconsistent or inconsiderate isn’t going to help matters. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect, that pet-parenthood is an ongoing journey of growth, and that these situations would arise even when you weren’t working remotely. Instead of catching up with a colleague or scrolling through social media, you’re enriching your life and your dog’s by spending time with him. Be as compassionate and considerate of your own limitations as you would be of others.

Dogs have happily adjusted to our work from home situation. Moreover, they’ve been quite accommodating. Surely we can take these simple puppy care suggestions to help make the process a bit less stressful, and a lot more productive and fun for dogs and humans alike.

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