Having my own dog business, I get to go in people’s houses and learn their routines for the dogs even if it is just for a dog walk. I have learned a lot about what makes my job easier to do and that is organization. When I can find the food, leashes, even treats, it cuts out of the wasted time of looking. Therefore, it gives me a chance, like dog parents, to enjoy their dogs. If you work at home it gives you so many wonderful things, like freedom and a schedule that works for you.
However, it can cause chaos if you are not as organized as you would like to be. Moreover, if you have a dog who is your unofficial co-worker, you have added a wonderful relationship but possibly added an unintentional problem to staying organized. I am going to share some ways to get organized so that both you and your dog can thrive during your work schedule at home.
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Having separate areas for you and your dog
Working at home is great, and even better with your dog, but you may not realize until your dog is barking or wanting attention at the wrong time that it is affecting how much work you can do. Especially, when you are on an important call or have a deadline. Creating a separate area for your dog provides the best of both worlds as you can work and your dog can be okay in his/her area by themselves. How can you create separate areas, you are probably asking yourself. It does not have to be complicated.
Examples of setting up a separate area for your dog are:
- Another room in your house
- Use a baby/dog gate
- A crate in your office, or a crate with a playpen around it.
Creating this separate area for your dog means being consistent everyday and adding it to part of your dog’s routine. Make sure to praise with positive rewards like attention, a high value treat, or a toy to show your dog that he/she is doing a great job. Therefore, your dog will know good things happen just for staying in their area and it will not be so much of a change when you have a very important call to make.
Create solid routines
Scheduling your work week helps to get things done and keep your business going, but including your dog on your calendar helps to keep you accountable and not be strapped for time to take care of your dog. A weekly calendar, whether a physical one or on your phone/computer will help you. It sounds simple but just seeing it every day will keep you doing it. Sure you can modify how long you walk your dog on certain days, but the point is to not forget and it will save you time in the long run.
Another thing to add to your calendar with your dog is refilling meds, ordering more food, and anything else that is easy for you to forget needs to be put on the schedule. It might seem easy to create a separate calendar for your dog, but if you do not look at it everyday it will not help you. Therefore, you are not saving time and will be stressed with not keeping up with your dog’s care. I know if I do not have a calendar or schedule in front of me, I am more likely to react in surprise and stress to forgetting something rather then being proactive since it is already a part of my everyday routine on the calendar. Staying on task with your day when you work at home can be hard but making the effort not only for you but your dog’s care and routine will help you be productive and enjoy each day.
Keep things organized to save time
This might sound obvious but in between the to do lists, working on projects, and getting through your work day you may cut corners (leave the leash in different areas of your house for example). This will add to your time trying to take care of your dog and add unnecessary stress. Instead, keeping all of your dog supplies in one area is essential. Using a container, labeling it for your dog, and placing it in your office or other places you work would be helpful. Moreover, having multiple containers (for every room, or near the front door) will guarantee that nothing is lost and there are plenty of supplies to meet your dog’s need quickly. Having clutter is bad for you and adds panic, stress, and can turn your day from a productive one to just a waste of time, which can set you back on work and enjoying the time you have with your dog.
A couple suggestions for things to keep in that container:
- for accidents- A roll of paper towels, cleaning container
- a little first aid kit in case your dog hurts his/herself
- a couple extra bowls for water or food
- food toys that you can add treats or kibble to is easy for you to do and keeps your dog busy if something comes up in your work schedule.
- a list of phone numbers like the veterinarian, poison control, emergency veterinary hospital or other ones that would be helpful-(of course they should be in your phone but maybe near your office phone would be helpful too).
Keep your dog busy throughout the day
Maybe you prep breakfast or lunch, or all three meals. This type of prepping can be helpful for your dog too. There are so many dog toys that can keep your dog busy and give you time on a call, meet deadlines, or if something else comes up. If you can find a couple dog food toys that are easy to freeze or make the night before, that will add more time to your day.
Here are a couple examples:
A Kong is a dog food toy that comes in different sizes that can be filled with your dog’s food, pumpkin, or non-fat cottage cheese as some filling mixture ideas and then freeze it. Putting a little dab of peanut butter or cream cheese at the hole on the bottom can get your dog’s attention in trying it out. It will take a couple times figuring out what mixture your dog will love but once you find it, that will give your dog something to stay busy with and work on and it is easy for you to have on hand.
A Kong Wobbler is another dog food toy that you can add your dog’s kibble to the bottom part of and your dog will have to roll it around to get the food out. It will take time and your dog will never know how much is coming out. You may want to give the Kong Wobbler in another room as it can make some noise while your dog is rolling it around, so if you are on a phone call I would use the Kong instead.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Twist ‘n Treat Dog Toy
This is another dog food toy that can have a filling mixture, treats, or just kibble put in it. It has different sizes as well and will keep your dog busy trying to get the delicious contents out of it.
I hope this post is helpful and gives you great ideas to make working at home with your dog work for both of you and helps you to enjoy a great relationship together. I created a free guide called How To Train Your Dog to Lay Peacefully (In Just Five Minutes A Day). This guide will cover how to prepare to train, what to expect, and step-by-step guidance. Having a dog that lays down on his/her bed (or mat) all by themselves, while you work at home, will make things easier. You will know where your dog is and there will be less interruptions and your dog will be okay by his/herself without always needing your attention. Grab your copy of How To Train Your Dog to Lay Peacefully (In Just Five Minutes A Day).