Sharing Office Space with Pets
Many people in the UK have discovered that working from home can have more advantages than working somewhere else. And if their dogs and cats could talk, they'd probably approve of their people working from home. Dogs and cats are social animals and they love to spend time with their owners even if they are sleeping during that time. Knowing that their owners are close by will mean that your pet will be less stressed and anxious.
However, some dogs and cats don't understand that having their owners at home with them doesn't lead to unlimited attention from those people. Canine and feline attention-seeking can clash with human needs to get some work done. Such clashes might cause a person to wonder whether pets and working from home can mix. Here are some ideas for making this work style likable for all concerned.
Play before working. Attention-seeking dogs or cats may change their behaviour if they get some attention and play time with their owners before the working day begins. A dog should be taken for a walk for at least 30 to 60 minutes, preferably with aerobic exercise, before you settle into your home office for the day. It will not only wear them out but be good exercise for you too. Cats are more likely to be satisfied with a game of chase, breakfast and a cuddle before you start your workday.
Pet-proof your office. There is nothing more irritating than a cat that insists on sitting on that important paperwork just as you are on a conference call! The easiest solution is to close the door if you have a separate office but if you can't do that then make sure that every time they walk on your desk, just pick them up and place them back on the floor. Alternatively, give your cat a dedicated area, such as their own special cushion, on a nearby chair and encourage them to settle there during the day. If you have a dog, make sure that they too have a special area to sleep in your office.
Create diversions. Some animals make their presence known at the worst possible time, such as when you're talking with a client on the phone. If your dog fits that description then give them something to do. Activity toys that can be stuffed with treats will keep him constructively occupied.
Forestall bad behaviour. Dogs and cats will misbehave if that's the only way to get your attention. You can forestall their need to make such efforts by creating short play breaks during the day. A walk at lunchtime will be good for both of you.
Banish for misbehaviour. Your cat or dog may stop unwanted attention-seeking behaviour if such behaviour leads to banishment from your office. Be very calm with them, after all it is their home too, but they will soon cotton on to the fact that if they are naughty, they will be shut off from you.
Reward good behaviour. A dog or cat will do what works, so if mischief and misbehaviour get your attention (even when angry), the animal will keep that behaviour in his repertoire. If your dog repeatedly puts his paw on your lap and you respond by taking him for a walk, he's just learned what it takes to get your attention. If you cat sits on your paperwork and you then stroke them before pushing them off then they will come back for more. The secret is to reward what you like and ignore what you don't.
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