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NOTE: We are unable to accept new clients at this time. Existing clients with new pets will be accommodated.

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Tips for Working at Home with Your Dog or Cat

A happy pitbull puppy on a couchMany Americans aren’t just taking their work home with them these days, it’s staying at home – making pets around the country very happy.

We’re all adjusting to life during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – including our furry family members.

The new work-from-home normal is an adjustment you and your furbaby. It’s not always easy to be productive with a dog or cat begging for attention. Plus, pets get stir-crazy, too.

Rover.com has so advice from its dog and cat behavior experts on how to make the transition as harmonious as possible and still get a little work done.

Let’s start with dogs.

The amount of mental and physical stimulation needed depends on the dog, so be sure to pay attention – bored pups are prone to troublemaking such as excessive barking, destroying the house, destroying toys, and eating socks and shoes, said Nicole Ellis, a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA), American Kennel Club CGC evaluator and APDT trainer.

Mentally stimulating activities for aren’t things like chess or crosswords, she said. Instead, they’re training, dog puzzles, interactive toys, and anything that makes them think and problem solve.

How to keep your dog active indoors

Training is a great way to tire your dog out while you’re home together. A little bit can go a long way. Work on eye contact, “leave it,” “stay,” tricks and more – get your kids involved if they’re home too.

Here are some games and activities:

  • Scent games: Hide treats in the house. Start by hiding the treat right in front of your dog and then telling them to find it. Slowly increase the distance.
  • Hide-and-seek: Tell your dog to stay, go hide, and then call them to find you.
  • Walks: Use even a short walk for training practice, such as heeling, stop and sit, eye contact and more.
  • Agility course: Use household items to create an agility course. Chairs can be used to create tunnels, buckets can be jump hurdles – get creative.
  • Work and play: Add five minutes of training to the end of a 10-minute play session.
  • Dance: Make a dance routine for you and your dog. Spins and high-fives are great doggy dance moves.
  • Shell game: Place a treat under one cup or bowl, move it around with others and see if your pup can locate the treat.

Engaging toys

Entertaining and engaging dog toys are a good option to keep your pet occupied when you aren’t available for playtime or training. Try interactive toys such as wobble balls, toys that hold treats, puzzle games, and lick and snuffle mats.

Dogs get bored with old toys just like children, so try rotating toys out when they're no longer exciting. When the toy comes back, it’ll be like it’s new again.

What about cats?

We have you covered.

Cats are creatures of habit, and you being home all day is not their normal routine, said Mikel Delgado is a cat behavior consultant and postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. For some cats, the change might be stressful – it's important to be patient.

Keeping to routines – such as bedtime and meal times – as much as possible with help cats, she said. Add in some enrichment, activities and additional playtime to make days at home even better.

Some cats may assume you’re home just for them. They don’t care that there’s work to do and virtual meetings to attend. When you talk, they probably think you’re talking to them. So, what can you do to keep them off your keyboard?

Delgado has six solutions:

  1. Tire your cat out early: Engage in preventative measures. Set up exercise and activities before work time, such as playing with a feather wand or readying a treat puzzle.
  2. Take breaks for snuggles: Make your work breaks snuggle- or play- time.
  3. Provide distractions during calls and meetings: Automated toys, food puzzles, a cardboard box with some tissue paper and treats inside are prime distraction – or do something as simple as putting a chair in front of window for them.
  4. Give your cat a better place to hang out than your keyboard: Give your cat the “perch of judgement” they’ve always wanted by placing a bed on a shelf, on a chair next to you or even on your desk or table.
  5. Don’t reward bad behavior: Ignore your cat’s incessant meowing – any response will encourage them. Instead, reward good behavior – like being calm and quiet.
  6. Close the door: They may meow and scratch at the door. Ignore it.
Source: https://www.mlive.com/news/2020/04/national-pet-day-tips-for-working-at-home-with-your-dog-cat.html
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