Working from home is becoming a reality for many pet parents during the coronavirus lock-down period. People are thrilled to spend more time with their pets, but how can you best share your home office with your canine & feline co-workers while still getting all your work done? Here are our top tips for working from home during the lock-down.
Stick to a schedule
- Like humans, pets thrive with routines for feeding, toilet breaks and playtime. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning out your working day.
- To minimise disruption set specific break times for you and your pet.
- Having structured playtime will not only help you get work done, but it will also help to provide a routine for your pup.
- Take advantage of your morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch breaks and use these times for training, playing with your cat, saying hello to your birds, watching your bunny hop around or walking your dog.
- It's best to not set these breaks at the exact same time every day, or your pet may start to anticipate the breaks, and this can start to cause issues if you cannot take breaks at the same time every day.
Create a separate working space
- Creating a designated work space at home is great because it can help with your work-life balance.
- It makes it easier to distinguish between working hours and home time so you feel like you aren’t living at your office.
- Another benefit of creating a separate working space instead of somewhere communal like your living room is that your pet won't distract you during an important conference call.
- While this is easier for small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, it can be harder to keep your cat or dog out of your working space.
Don't reward unwanted behaviours
- Working from home with your pet may involve a bit of adjustment for both you and your pet, therefore you should shape your pet's behaviour from day one!
- If they do something you like such as playing quietly on their bed or taking a nap then reward them for it.
- Be sure to not reward unwanted attention-seeking behaviours that you don't want to continue such as meowing, barking, pawing at you and whining.
- It may be tempting to just give them another chew treat to keep them quiet, but in the long term it is best to ignore these unwanted behaviours.
Make sure they are well exercised
It's best to make sure your pet is exercised before work so you can be free to get on with your work without interruption. This paired with some games or activity every few hours while you take a well-deserved break from your computer will help your pet to stay entertained, so you have time to focus on your work and your pet.
- Take your pup for a decent walk around the block before your workday starts so your pet will be tired from the exercise and will most likely doze most of the morning away.
- For cat's it's good to get into the routine of morning play sessions to get out pent up energy before you start work for the day. A good way to do this is to use a cat teaser wand to play interactively with your cat.
Keep your pet mentally stimulated
- It's important to keep your pet entertained while you are working from home. As when your pet gets bored or anxious, they can cause destruction by chewing things up, making unnecessary noises, or even having accidents in the house.
- You can easily avoid this disruption to your workflow by ensuring that your pet has plenty of physical and mental stimulation for when you’re hard at work.
- A good way to do this is through the use of enrichment toys, here are some options:
- Dog enrichment toys: Outward Hound Treat Maze, Kong Classic or Yours Droolly Puzzle Ball.
- Cat enrichment toys: Masterpet Cat Treat Ball, Catit Two Level Treat Maze or Trixie Activity Snack Roll.
- Small pet enrichment toys: Trixie Snack Ball and Trixie Play & Snack Ball.
- Bird enrichment toys Jungle Talk Garden Kebab, Brooklands Foraging Ball or Jungle Talk Snack 'n' Play Treat Holder.
Divide up your pet's meals
- When working from home you should consider dividing up your pets meals into many, smaller meals that you can incorporate in training or puzzle toys.
- The use of a slow feeder or a puzzle bowl is also helpful as it makes your pet work for their meals and gives them mental stimulation at the same time.
- By reserving some of their meals for training or rewards can also help fight the urge to overfeed treats or bones just to keep your pet busy throughout the day.