We adopted a puppy during the early days of the stay-at-home order. We have so enjoyed our time with her, but now we’re both about to start going back to work and we’re nervous about how she’ll cope. She’s been used to us being at home with her all day, everyday, and now we’ll be gone all day. How can we start now to help her prepare for our absence?
Quarantine Puppy Blues in Garden Oaks
Dear Quarantine Puppy Blues,
What a wonderful use of your time at home and what a lucky puppy to have owners who are so thoughtful about how she might handle this new adjustment! While I know that you’re concerned about how your dog will cope when you go back to work, the good news is that with a little preparation now, you can have her adjusted to the “new normal” very soon.
Here are a few things to do now to help prepare your dog for going back to work:
If she’s not already crate trained, now would be the time to do it. Begin by leaving her in her crate for short periods of time while you’re at home with her. Play soothing music, put soft blankets in the crate with her and make it a positive experience. You can also work up to having her sleep in her crate at night, to reinforce the idea that her crate is her “room.” Then, once you go back to work, she’ll be used to the crate and will find comfort in being in there.
Start a new routine
If you’ve been sleeping in lately in the morning, now is the time to start waking up early and getting your dog used to an early morning, before-work routine. Establish a morning routine that includes plenty of potty time, breakfast and a little play time, too. Keep things low key during the day, and then plan for more playtime, a nice walk and dinnertime at a time of day when you’ll be home from work when your schedule resumes. This will help your puppy adjust to a new routine when you return to work. Also start leaving her at home for short periods of time now, so that she’s used to you not always being there.
Make midday plans
Start planning now for coming home during your work day to let your dog go outside to potty — or start the search for a pet sitter or neighbor who can help. You don’t want to leave your puppy crated too long during the day, so you’ll want to make sure she gets a break in the middle of the day to run around and potty.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: It might be hard to leave your sweet puppy at home that first day back at work, but rest assured that you’re doing a wonderful job taking care of her and preparing her for her new routine. Besides, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you’ll undoubtedly be greeted with many kisses, tail wags and excited barks when you return home after that first day back at work!
Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at email@example.com.
Pet if the Week
Meet Sangria. Just like her namesake, this girl is super sweet and a beautiful shade of red. Sangria is about 4 years old and is a Vizsla/Beagle mix who is simply the best dog on the planet! Sangria loves playing with toys, is 100 percent house trained, loves other dogs (in fact, would love a home with another dog) and loves to cuddle! Sangria would make every hour “happy hour,” for just the right family! To learn more, go to www.k9angelsrescue.org.