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Returning to the Office? Here’s 10 Ways to Help Prepare Your Dog

Photo: Courtesy of Sarandy Westfall

If there has been one winner during the pandemic, it has been our dogs. Pups across America have been enjoying the constant company of their favorite people — and the extra attention that comes with it. But as workers start returning to the office, some dogs may struggle to adjust to the new routine. Here are 10 ways to help ease the transition.

1. Practice Separation

Leave your dog home alone for short periods at first and gradually increase the time you’re away. 

2. Establish Your New Routine

If your morning walk will move from 9am to 7am when you return to the office, shift the schedule now, so the change will feel less abrupt when it occurs. 

3. Increase Your Pup’s Exercise

Take your dog for a long walk each morning before you leave, so your pup will spend more time sleeping and less time stressing. 

4. Encourage Independence

Set up a comfortable space where your dog can go for some quiet and relaxing time alone. 

5. Rethink Your Exit Strategy

Give your dog a treat or a favorite toy when you leave to create a positive association with your departure.

6. Muffle Outside Noise

If your dog is easily startled by outside sounds, soothing music or a white noise machine may help.

7. Change of Scenery

Hire a trusted dog walker to come for a midday visit or look into sending your pup to daycare.

8. Reward Calm Behavior

Don’t fuss over your pup when you get home. You want to convey that it was “no big deal” that you were away. Give your dog attention when he’s calm. 

9. Spy on Your Dog

If you’re concerned that your dog may be having trouble adjusting, set up a pet-cam so you can see what your pup is doing while you’re out.  

10. Don’t Wait to Get Help

If your dog shows signs of separation anxiety (e.g. excessive barking, urinating or defecating indoors, destructive chewing), enlist the help of a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a trainer licensed as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) or in another positive reinforcement training method. 

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