Millions of people are heading back to work as the coronavirus pandemic calms down and hopefully stays down for good. With vaccines, improved safety measures and more, people are more comfortable now with going back to work. While this is great news for some, it could be an issue for others, including some of our pets. 

People have been home for nearly two years because of this pandemic and whether they got a new dog during it, or had one before it, those animals have gotten used to their family being home. Going back to work or going out more is great, but it’s also going to make things more difficult for your pets. They are used to a routine and this is going to be a drastic change for them. 

Why It’s Difficult For Dogs To Be Alone 

In order to appreciate why it’s so difficult for dogs to be alone, we have to put ourselves in their shoes. If you have a doorbell camera, think of how many times it goes off each day because a car drives by or someone walks by, your packages are dropped off or someone is dropping off brochures. Your doorbell picks all that up and so does your dog. They don’t know who it is that’s near the home and that can create constant anxiety for them. Combine that with hours of loneliness and not being able to use the bathroom and you can see why they aren’t a fan of being alone all day. 

How To Train Your Dog 

The easiest way to train your dog for being home each day is to make their transition easier by rewarding them. While that may sound a bit odd, remember that veterinarians often recommend that you hide medication for your dogs in cheese or other types of treats. This way they look forward to taking their medication. You are basically using the same strategy with training your dog to be alone. Here’s where you can start: 

  • Take them out as soon as you’re home: This is the first and most important one. Whatever you are doing, no matter how long your day was, you need to make sure that you are taking them out as soon as you get home. They have not been able to use the bathroom for hours and while they may be able to do it, it’s still not very comfortable. Make sure they feel that the moment you get home is about them, a reward for their good behavior all day. 
  • Treats: Another reward for good behavior should be a treat, especially if they’ve behaved and taken good care of the house. Treats reinforce good behavior and help show the animal that what they are doing is good. It’s something that trainers constantly use to encourage better behavior and it’s also a way to show love to the dog. 
  • TV: This tip is debatable. Some pet owners think it’s not a good idea and some disagree. Some think that leaving the television on is not a good idea because it creates too much noise that can create anxiety in the animal while others think that it cancels the outside noise and gives the animal something to listen to during the day. It also could be based on the personality of the dog which is why there are disagreements but it is worth considering. 
  • Mid day walk: If it’s reasonable, getting home at lunch and taking your dog out would be great for them. Believe it or not it may also be good for you. Mentally, breaking the day up into chunks like four hour segments makes it easier to get through. Some believe that those who struggle with productivity and time management usually try to focus on everything they have to do in one day rather than breaking it down. So, in this case there are benefits for both you and the animal, plus you are getting away from work. 

The transition of leaving your pet home alone all day will take some time. You both will have to adapt and do your best to help the other one. You should consider having someone help if possible, especially with the midday walks. This would help the animal a lot and make the day easier. 

Other Tricks 

While those strategies and tricks can be helpful, there are other things you should try, especially with the transition period. Again, there are some disagreements on certain tips so you have to make your own decision based on the personality of your animal and what you are both comfortable with. Each option also has plenty of information you can research before you make your decision: 

  • Camera: An indoor camera that allows you to watch your dogs and even talk to them during the day is a popular option and a great way to keep them from getting into trouble during the day. You can see if they are trying to chew your shoes or if they are getting too rough on the couch. Being able to speak to them can also be useful if the weather is bad and you are trying to calm them down. 
  • Crate: Putting your pet into a crate for the day is something that people debate about. On one hand, the animal is safe and secure and as long as the crate is big enough, they should be quite comfortable. On the other hand, they are stuck in it for the entire day and that’s not great. Again, it depends on the dog itself and how they are managing the transition. 
  • Block off areas: If there are areas of the house you do not want your dogs to get into during the day, be sure to block them off. This includes the sofa, the bathrooms or anything like that. If you do not want them to get into something, make sure they can’t access it. 
  • Lots of light: It’s a good idea to make sure that there’s a lot of light in the house. Some people like to keep their homes dark because they believe it allows the animal to relax and sleep. While that may be true, most dogs are completely happy to go outside and chill under the sun too so the darkness may not be as much of a help. The light will simply make the house more comfortable for them and help them see things outside a bit better. 

If you are not sure how your dog will handle the transition of you going back to work, consider practicing and training by leaving for two to three hours a day. This will help them get more comfortable and also tell you what to expect from them and how they treat your house. Remember to reward good behavior so that the animal knows they are supposed to do that again. It’s a great way to also show them that you love them and missed them.