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  • Vickie Foster

How to Work from Home with a Pet

The pandemic created a surge in work-from-home employment and the trend looks like it is here to stay. Are your pets good coworkers? Read these suggestions to maximize your productivity and that of your “coworkers”



1. Stick to a routine

Your pet will understand what is expected if you stick to a routine. You might want to start your day with a cat play session or a dog walk, then go to your office or open your laptop as you prepare to start your day. Your pet will know this means the start of the work day.


Take your breaks at about the same time. What pet doesn’t get used to the lunch break quickly and come to enjoy it? At the end of the workday have a “day’s over” ritual that both of you enjoy.


Your pet will understand what is expected if you stick to a routine. You might want to start your day with a cat play session or a dog walk, then go to your office or open your laptop as you prepare to start your day. Your pet will know this means the start of the work day.


Take your breaks at about the same time.What pet doesn’t get used to the lunch break quickly and come to enjoy it? At the end of the workday have a “day’s over” ritual that both of you enjoy.


2. Create a mostly no pets zone for work

Make other rooms of your house much more pet-friendly and stocked with your pet’s favorite things. Rotate items each day to keep them interesting. Don’t forget pet shows on TV like Bird TV too. Your cat or dog may come to prefer the sunny location of their pet bed to your office.


If on the other hand, your pet prefers your company, create a pet-friendly zone with catnip for cats, interactive toys, and/or peanut butter-filled kongs for dogs to keep your pet entertained. An engaged pet is less likely to need your attention.


3. Reserve some quality pet time

Every hour or so take 5 minutes to snuggle, pet, or play with your pet. This will go a long way to keep them calm. You’ll have a stress-free cat or anxiety-free doggy.



4. Reward good behavior

Calmly reward your pet with praise when they are letting you work without interruption. Pets must learn how to coexist in your space without expecting interaction. Conversely, ignore unwanted requests for attention. Touch (pushing paws off the desk), eye contact (looking at your pet when they do something unwanted), and talking to your pet (“no”) are all rewarding interactions so avoid these to diminish unwanted demands for attention. Even negative attention is attention!


6. Be calm and flexible

Special circumstances will come up. These will go easier if you try to anticipate your pet’s needs before a meeting. Flexibility is an asset for almost every work environment.


Pets will be silly, sometimes unpredictable, and never perfect. Try to remember they can be like your human co-workers in this respect. They are sentient beings and they will have good and bad days just like you.


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All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.

 

Resources:

https://www.rover.com/blog/working-from-home-with-cat/


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