For many of us, our work situation has changed and we now work from home either hybrid or full-time. For me, it is a full-time change. I view it as a benefit of my job. I think the company I work for, work from home provides multiple benefits. The benefit for me is that I save the 45-minute drive to work. That became a more relevant benefit when gas prices went so high. I also think I’m more productive at home. If I have a meeting, and I have a lot of them, I click into the meeting and keep working until the meeting starts. When I went to the office I would stop working and go to the conference room five minutes before the meeting and wait for it to start. When the meeting was over I would end up speaking with someone for a few minutes and then back to my desk to start working. Unless I had another meeting back to back. I figured each meeting created about 15 minutes of unproductive time. I easily have four or more meetings a day which creates an hour of unproductive time every day. The company benefits because as I already mentioned I am more productive. Also for the company, less real estate is needed because so many are working from remote. I believe my company reduced its real estate by at least a third. For the company, it also benefits because it would cost another company a lot more to hire me away unless it offers work from home. On a personal note, I am a disabled vet and have a service dog. By working from home my dog is not in the office. Not that she would be a distraction or a problem but some people do not like dogs or are allergic. Inevitably having my dog at work impacts my co-workers.
We covered the perks remote work has for the employee and the company. What about our four-legged friends? If your four-legged friend is a cat you are an unwelcome guest interrupting the cat’s personal time. They allow you in the house because you feed them and pet them if and only when they want you to. Don’t worry they will let you know when they tire of it. The agreement with the cat is that you are gone at least 40 hours a week and they are free to do what they want uninterrupted. Sleep in the sun, rearrange things on shelves or just get rid of them (push them off the shelf so they can shatter on the floor), you can clean them up when you get home. They are even free to mark furniture that they tire of by shredding it so you know it’s time to get rid of it. Now you are at home all the time and they are not ok with it but since you are there you might as well be useful. Looking at your computer screen is not useful to them. So they will distract you by rubbing your face while you are on a conference call. Ok enough about cats. Clearly, I am not a fan.
Many of us are blessed to have a four-legged friend, Canis Lupus Familiaris, commonly known as a dog, mans best friend, fido, spot, in my case Panda. The dog’s primary focus is to love and protect you. They are so intuned with you that they know you are sick before you do. Like the other hairball Felis Catus (CAT), you are home during a time when they are used to being alone. For dogs, it is very different though. Their job, while you were at work, was simply to protect the home. Make sure that intruders such as the mail person, salespeople or other unwanted intruders know that they are present and ready to do what is necessary to protect the home. Sometimes that is to sound angry and ferocious, other times it is to go and protect the bed in the master bedroom. Sometimes this may appear that they are hiding behind the bed. But they are actually guarding the area. If an intruder gets that far they are prepared to lick and rub against them for easy identification if that becomes necessary. Small dogs are always ready to sound the alarm. If there is a sound, a person approaching, a car driving by, a bird, wind, really anything that even thinks it might be considering getting near the house that little dog is going to sound the alarm and wake up that lazy big dog so it can protect the far side of the bed. In all honesty, the small dog is a great crime deterrent. If someone approaches your home with the intent of breaking in that constantly barking small dog will inspire most criminals to find another home. There are two houses one that has a dog yapping constantly and may cause people to look creating a risk to the would-be burglar. The other house is quiet no barking dogs that may arouse concern to the neighbors. Which house do you think they are going to select. Most of the time the quiet house draws less attention. I say most of the time because some criminals are not so smart.
Now you are at home all the time, fidos job just became more difficult. They now have to protect the home and you and keep you entertained. Dogs can sense when your level of anxiety goes up. It is natural for them to help you in that situation. So during that very stressful video conference with a customer or supervisor, your anxiety goes up and Fido goes into action. Even if it means the 75-pound dog needs to climb up on your lap to calm you down. They are willing to make that sacrifice. They also need to protect you so they will watch and if a car goes by, someone comes to the door, someone looks at the door, someone looks at the neighbor’s door they are ready to sound the alarm. Especially if the small yippy yappy dog next door is already sounding the alarm. One of the downsides of working at home that I failed to mention is when the work day starts and when it ends. I tend to work longer hours since I don’t have to worry about the commute, I lose track of time and continue to work beyond the workday. Miss Panda knows when enough is enough and will climb up on my lap and push my hands away from the keyboard with her nose or body whatever it takes.
Most of this has been tongue and cheek my attempt at humor. But there are things you can do to prevent man’s best friend from interrupting your workday. Most of the time if a dog is getting into trouble or interrupting your work day it is because they are bored and have not been exercised. Physically or mentally. The latter is not an issue for dogs with little capacity for intelligent thought. So if your friend is a Chihuahua you only have to worry about physical activity. Sorry if you own a Chihuahua and that offended you, I assumed you already knew.
Fun Video of Hide and Seek
Play time/ Exersize
Set a time each day to spend quality time with your four-legged friend. They love you unconditionally and just want to help. Panda and I start the day with either a long walk or I take her to chase the ball. That takes care of her energy. When I take my lunch break I will take her outside to take care of business and do something to exercise her mind. One of her favorite games things to play is hide and seek. I will have her sit somewhere in the house and then go hide. When I call her name she comes and finds me. It only takes a few minutes but she loves it and she has to work her brain. The important thing to remember is to let the dog win. You want this to be mentally challenging for them not discouraging to them. If Panda is having trouble finding me I will make a noise to help her out. She is so excited when she finds me. I also have puzzles that she can do to work her mind. I will list a few at the end of this article that we use and she enjoys.
Remember your goal is progress, not perfection. If you want a dog that will never make a mistake get a statue. When dogs try to resolve things on their own it can be funny and enjoyable for everyone. It’s good for both of you. It’s ok if your dog is sitting in the chair behind you. Often times the other people in the meeting enjoy seeing your dog. Especially if it is just watching you work. Now if your dog is barking and interrupting your meeting you need to correct that.
For some, it is important to keep your workspace separate from your dog. Let your dog know that your home office is off-limits. You have to be consistent whatever you do. They are either allowed in the office or not. It cant be sometimes they can and sometimes they can not. For me since Panda is a Service Dog she is in my office with me, always at my side. She has been trained to not interrupt me when I’m working.
If you are going to have a dog please take the time and money and get training. I strongly recommend at the very least the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. CGC is a program created by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This is a minimum. With Panda, I started with Puppy obedience training and then did the CGC program. Be prepared it may take a few tries to pass the test depending on the age, breed and temperament of your dog.
When you take your dog for training remember it is not dog training it is training for both of you. I have had Panda in several different programs most of them were good for different reasons. Right now she is attending training with Dog Training Elite Northern Utah. This program has been the best so far. She…. I mean we, have learned more in these weeks than we did in any of the other programs she was in. That’s not to say the others were not good programs but this one is best for her and me at this time.
There are all kinds of toys and puzzles you can get to help your dog be your best friend. Here are some I have used.
I like this ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>seatbelted in. This is for her safety and the safety of others in the car.
If your dog is treat motivated you always want to have treats handy, I like having ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Puzzles are a great way to help your dog get some mental exercise. I like this one because it challenges her in several different ways.