Helicopter Dog Moms Prepare For Take Off [6 Ways To Ease Your Return To Office]
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I honestly don’t know who’s more anxious about my return to the office — me or the dogs. (*cue Paris snoring soundly in the background...). Okay. Okay. I’m the only one in my house stressing about RTO. And when you throw in two pandemic puppies it only ups my anxiety factor.
I know I’m not alone here. Dog moms everywhere have either already returned to the workplace or are desperately clinging to the last few months of work from home living.
Gah, it was so lovely FINALLY being a stay-at-home dog mom!
But while RTO is inevitable, there are some things we can do to make the transition easier. So let’s savor our cups of ginger tear while we cover Six Ways To Ease Your Dog Mom Transition Back To The Office.
Create A Space For When Your Dog Is Home Alone
First thing’s first: where will your dog be spending most of his time when he is home alone? Will he be free to roam the house or are you going to confine him to a doggy playpen or a certain area of the house?
Whatever you decide, start letting your dog spend more and more time in that space while you are home. Instead of letting him sit on your lap during those Zoom meetings, have him get used to spending your work days in his designated area.
Before long your dog will start to see that area as his very own super cool hangout spot and will WANT to be there.
This has definitely been the case with the twins. During puppy training I had them spending a lot of time in the kitchen while housebreaking. Now, even though they have free access to most of the house, when they want to decompress both of them prefer to hang out on their designated spots.
Help Your Dog Continue Their Housebreaking Progress
As my grandmother once told me, it’s my job to make sure my dog(s) don’t have any accidents in the house. And that responsibility continues even after you return to work.
By the time you return to office life, you should have a pretty good idea of your dog’s pOtto habits.
Can she hold it all day? Is she accident prone? Are there certain areas of the house which cause confusion for her?
While both Dylan and Paris are really good about asking to go outside or using the pee pad, Delilah easily gets confused. If she’s upstairs and the urge strikes, she has anxiety about coming back downstairs to use the toilet. So in order to help her succeed, when I’m not home I put a puppy gate on the stairs to help her out.
What can you do to help your dog successfully handle their potty habits? Even fully housebroken dogs can run into trouble if they have tiny bladders. If that is the case, maybe you can provide them with pee pads or a doggy potty to help them make it through your workday.
Can you come home daily at lunch to let them out? Would it be safe for you to install a doggy door for them? Now is the time to figure out what will work best for you and your fur family.
Avoid Potential Separation Anxiety Triggers For Your Dog
Separation Anxiety in dogs is a real condition, but not all dogs experience it. That being said, there are things we as dog moms can do which may inadvertently cause some distress for our pups. And one common mistake is our making it a big deal when we leave or return to the house.
Now is the time to make YOUR comings and goings not such a big deal for your dog. I know the parties at the front door make us feel great, but how does your dog feel after the door is closed and you’re gone? None of us want our dogs potentially staring at that door for hours waiting for us to return.
So make your departure and arrival just part of everyday life for your dog. Help them to get comfortable knowing you will return home and it’s not big deal if you step out for a bit.
Practice leaving the house for short periods of time at first. Check the mail. Grab some coffee or lunch. Gradually increase the amount of time you are away so your dog gets used to spending time in the house when you are not there.
If leaving the house is too traumatic for your dog (or you lol), practice being in separate rooms from each other. Start with just a few minutes and then increase it to a few hours. You want your dog to learn how to happily entertainment himself while you are away.
Also, don’t make a big deal when you leave or return to the house. To help that transition, try giving your dog a high value (yet safe) treat or chew to keep them busy during your departure.
Peek-A-Boo I See You...In My Pet Camera
Still not convinced? How about purchasing a doggy monitor system. Weather you install just a small room camera or get a monitor/treat dispenser combination, the market is filled with gadgets to help dog moms keep tabs on their pets throughout the day.
Our dogs are extremely attentive and learn our daily habits fast. Hence they’re hopping on the sofa at the same time every day to bark at the mailman. Or they’re harassing us at mealtimes to feed them a few minutes earlier.
Knowing this, if you decide to get a Furbo or other remote treat dispenser, why not make snack o’clock part of your daily routine as well? Maybe schedule regular treat breaks to coincide with your work breaks throughout the day.
Not only will your dog love the extra treats but they will also love hearing your voice too. Just be sure these sessions don’t end up causing any additional separation anxiety behaviors in your pup.
Get Your Dog A Life...Hire A Dog Walker Or Pet Sitter
Another way to ease your conscious, and pack your pup’s social calendar, is to hire a professional dog walker or send them to doggy daycare a few days a week.
Whether your dog goes to a daily boarding center or you have someone come to your home, these types of services are everywhere and are a great way to break up your dog’s week.
Get Your Dog A Sibling
I am clearly a fan of having doggy siblings. Since deciding to raise four kids, I have always tried to keep at least two dogs for companionship.
Having a sibling to keep them company will definitely break up their day. But I will let you in on this little secret: whether you have one dog or three, more than likely a happy dog will spend most of the day sleeping anyway.
Whelp, that’s it my fellow helicopter dog moms. It’s time for us to take off back to the office. I promise our dogs will adjust to our return to the workplace just fine...as long as we don’t project our anxiety onto them.
So take a deep breath and start transitioning sooner rather than later. The sooner we accept our return to work reality and embrace it, the better we can prepare and set our pups up to feel secure and happy when they are home alone again.
Or we can all go for option B: hit the lotto and become stay-at-home dog moms for life!