Pandemic. Quarantined. Work from Home. This is still the experience for many people around the world. For those of us who already worked from home, that transition was less drastic. And for those of us who already had pets at home, the quarantine feels less alone. But for people without a pet, being home alone may also mean being lonely.
For many people, it was a good opportunity to adopt or foster a dog because they would be home and spending quality time with their new dog. A few months ago, a giant movement to foster and adopt dogs swept the United States. News reports showed shelters empty for the first time and people cheered.
This is great news on one hand, because many dogs found homes. You are home all day and there is plenty of time for walks plus opportunities for cuddle time and connection.
As with most great ideas, however, there could be a downside. What happens when all of these people finally get back to work? Who is going to take care of their dogs during the day?
Here are a few tips to get you or a friend through a new adoption, plus some ideas to help the back to work transition for you and your dog. While most states still have stay at home orders, it varies by location and by job. Either way, now is the time to start considering who will care for your pet when you go back to work.
Crates are fine for short bursts when used properly. We use ours when unfamiliar people (to my dogs) have to enter our house so that we can keep everyone safe, or on July 4th during the fireworks. But crates are not intended for extended periods of time while you are at work. Dogs need to be able to relieve themselves during the day, and also have mental and physical stimulation.
Preferred options are dog walkers, dog sitters or doggie daycare. Many dog walkers haven’t been working lately since their human clients are at home caring for their pets. Plus, many of these same human clients may now be out of work and unable to afford the service. So, there should be plenty of dog walkers to choose from when you go back to work. If you don’t know any trusted pet sitters, try contacting Pet Sitters International https://www.petsit.com/. Another option is rover.com which I don't know personally, but have heard good things about.
Finally, another option, depending on the kind of work you do is finding out whether your employer will allow you to bring your pup to work. Of course, this also depends on your dog’s temperament, but it is a movement that is gaining popularity.
Dog trainer, Ruth Hegarty of Creature Good Dog Training has created a free course that helps you prepare your dog for when you return to work. The course also offers a great PDF once you have joined the class. You can check that out here. https://cgdtschool.thinkific.com/courses/preparing-your-dog-for-your-return-to-work
While you are at home, a group training class would be great for you and your dog (when live classes open up again. In some places dog trainers are already conducting outdoor classes). There is tremendous benefit for you and your pup to learn from a positive method dog trainer who can spot any behavioral issues and help you correct them. The other benefit to live training classes is that your dog will get socialized. If you don’t have a recommended local trainer, Victoria Stilwell’s academy is great positive training and you can search for a trainer in your area: https://www.vsdogtrainingacademy.com/
In the meantime, there are a ton of free dog training classes online (make sure to only follow trainers that use positive methods). I also love The Family Dog, which offers fabulous videos.
Lastly, to make the whole process a little easier for new pet parents, you can download the award-winning book What To Expect When Adopting a Dog for free. This book offers expert advice from rescue specialists, veterinarians, dog parents and pet business owners with links to relevant articles from many pet professionals. https://www.animalmagicfilms.com/wtewad
Enjoy your new pup. Take the time at home for you to get to know one another and reap the benefits of that special human-animal bond.
Diane Rose-Solomon is the author of multiple books about animal rescue and is currently making documentary films about the human-animal bond at Animal Magic Films.