Going Back to Work - Crate Training
While we can’t predict what’s going to happen with Covid-19 and how our world will look this time next year, we can still set our pets up for success in the event that we start physically going back to work more often. A lot of people have worked remotely, or simply been at home more often in the past year. A lot of our pets, especially dogs, have gotten used to us being around a lot more often. Some of us even got “quarantine puppies,” and have pets that haven’t had to deal with a lot of time alone.
So how do we set up our dogs for success, when they’re so used to us being with them all the time?
One big tool in our tool box is Crate Training!
Crate training can be an invaluable tool for the safety and health of your dog. Having a crate isn’t a punishment – it’s a quiet, safe place for your dog to go to when they need to. A crate can be a refuge for your dog, their very own den, and it also ensures that they’re not getting into anything inappropriate while you’re gone.
But my dog isn’t used to a crate – where do I start?
You can start by making positive associations. Set up your crate and let your dog have a special treat that they only get when you’re leaving – we recommend a frozen Kong toy with either a bit of wet food, peanut butter, or cheese smeared on the end. Freezing these toys makes them last longer and makes them a unique treat for your pet!
Start by leaving for small increments of time. Use treats to help your pet associate the crate with positivity, and give them their special Kong when you leave. You can leave in increasing increments, and start with something as short as a few minutes. Remember, when you come home, the Kong goes back into the freezer!
Over the course of a few weeks, you can positively reinforce the crate as a happy place for your pet, and you going to work hopefully won’t be a traumatic experience for your pet.
Remember to start early, be consistent, and prepare your pet for any changing schedules as far in advance as you can!
A lot of people already have cameras set up in their homes – check in on your pet throughout the day to ensure they’re calm in their crate. If you don’t have cameras, you can get an affordable pet camera to make sure they’re safe handling the transition well. If you see any signs of distress or have any concerns, you can always reach out to us for help and guidance.
Other options you may want to consider for your pet include: Doggy day care, in-home dog walkers who can visit during the day, or in cases where it’s needed, you can talk to your veterinarian about anxiety medications.
Remember, we’re always here to help you and your furry family member through any changes, and would be happy to discuss any questions you may have.
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