How can I prepare my dog for returning back to work full-time?

Out of all of the effects of lockdown, spending more time with our pets has definitely been one of the positive ones. But now we’re heading back to the office and our dogs are used to having us around all the time. Olivia Baldas (an animal behaviorist) shares some of the best ways for your dog to get used to being alone while you’re at work again.

1.Get your dog in a routine similar to what they will be in when you’re back in the office.
This is the most important one. Dogs are very good at routines, they thrive in them.

If your routine when you’re in the office was: walk in the morning, give them a treat when you leave, when you return home take them for a long walk, then feed them dinner. Whatever it is, start getting into this pattern NOW. It doesn’t mean you can’t give them a little cuddle during the day or a little attention, but by and large stick to that routine.

The sooner your dog is used to this routine, it’ll be much easier for them when you do go back to the office.

2. Make the mornings and nights count.
Your dog is going to miss you when you’re out, it’s a fact. You’ll be spending far less time with them than normal, so make sure they still feel loved when you are home.

Spend some quality time with them morning and night. Whether that is wrestling, a long walk on lead or some time at a dog park.

3. Hire a dog walker a couple of times a week.
If you have a high energy dog like a border collie, kelpie or staffy, they may benefit from a walk with a dog walker a couple of times a week.

These intelligent high energy breeds often need more than the standard walk in the morning, walk in the afternoon. They can become destructive or anxious if not exercised enough.

4. Teach them how to use some enrichment tools.
It can be a great idea to leave your dog with enrichment toys! But if they’ve never used one before, it’s worth spending some time to supervise them using them. Enrichment toys include kongs, snuffle mats and food puzzles.

5. Make sure you exercise them well.
As previously mentioned, exercising your dog is super important. Whether you live in a house with a backyard or a small apartment, taking your dog is important for their health and overall wellbeing. Some dogs become destructive from boredom if not exercised well. These dogs may need a big walk in the morning before you leave for work. This should help them have less pent up energy.

6. Make sure they have a bit of alone time.
When you can, it’s worth leaving them alone at home. It’s lovely bringing them with you everywhere but they need to get used to being on their own. Even in short bursts. 20 minutes while you go out and grab a coffee, 1 hour while you get the groceries etc.

Meet Olivia

She was studying psychology when she found out about the profound impact they have on people and their mental health. That peaked her interest and she started dog walking. She has been working with dogs ever since at different center’s and homes and started her business in early 2019.  She has recently received her qualification in dog training and behaviour from the National Dog Training Federation. For more information check out Olivia’s website