Ever since the pandemic hit, many things started being accomplished at the comfort of your home. Even your job adapted to the work-from-home setting.
Working from home has its advantages. You don’t have to commute or drive to work and you can save a lot of time giving you the chance to attend to other important matters. However, it also has its disadvantages. You may tend to be lazy and unproductive since your bed is just within reach. Another disadvantage to be aware of is when your dog becomes needy and starts to distract you when you’re in the middle of a Zoom meeting with your boss and colleagues. As much as you want to give them the attention they’re looking for, you need to focus on your work/meeting. This guide will tell you exactly how to distract your dog while on a call.
Let’s look at 8 ways to distract your furry companions so they stop bothering you during a call.
1. Provide Attention and Exercise
Dogs will bark, whine, and paw at you when they are hungry, need attention, or need a potty break. They are very disruptive at meetings. You can turn off your microphone so no one is disturbed, but you won’t be able to concentrate on the topic at hand. To solve this problem, you should first meet your dog’s needs.
You and your dog must engage in physical activity right now. Dogs benefit from physical activity by burning off excess energy as well as relieving stress. If they walked or ran a lot in the morning, they’ll be more likely to settle down for a nice nap while you’re on a phone call or a meeting.
During your lunch break, get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Despite how tempting it is to eat in front of your computer, you must take a short break and eat away from your workstation for your mental health. Try a quick round of fetch with your dog or go for a brisk walk around the block. Midday breaks can be extremely productive for both you and your dog, and they can burn off lunchtime energy for them.
2. Give Your Dog a Chew Toy
Let’s see things from your dog’s perspective. Whenever they see you on your computer or a phone call, they’ll think you’re ignoring them. Dogs don’t like this at all. As long as they are distracted by something else, they won’t bother you.
It is a good idea to keep your dog occupied with an edible chew, like a bully stick. Ensure that the chewing item you choose is long-lasting and safe for the breed of your dog. In general, rawhide chews are okay for dogs who don’t chew very hard but can be unsafe for dogs who can break off large chunks. Such items may cause choking or intestinal obstruction and pose a choking hazard. Don’t use chews that you are not sure are appropriate for your pup if you will not be supervising.
3. Occupy Your Dog’s Mind
As an additional means of keeping your dog off your back, puzzle toys and slow feeders are helpful. By trying to find the hidden food, your dog challenges his mind. Try to find a puzzle game that doesn’t require frequent reloading. Despite their amazing qualities, these toys are more for playing with your dog than by themselves. Rather than stuffed toys, try toys that your dog must manipulate like a snuffle mat or an automatic treat dispenser. Your dog won’t even notice you’re gone if you leave a toy out before your meeting.
You can slow down your dog during mealtime by using a slow feeder. In any event, it’s not a problem to engage your dog at other times. Let your dog figure out how to remove a few treats or bits of kibble by himself. Even making puzzle toys with food release can be done with items around the house.
4. Teach the Quiet Cue
You may still hear your dog barking even though you gave them plenty to do during your video call. The next time they’re excited about a squirrel in the yard or the delivery of the mail, ask them to be quiet. It is relatively easy to teach your dog the “quiet” cue, which instructs him to stop barking.
When your dog barks, hold a tasty treat in front of its nose. The moment they stop barking and take a sniff, praise them and reward them. Wait for a one-half second before rewarding them once they realize what you mean. As your dog becomes quieter, build up the length of time. Next, fade the bait and add a cue like “quiet.”
Because barking provides such a rewarding experience in itself, it will take lots of practice to get your dog to master “quiet.” Additionally, you should add a hand signal like placing your finger over your lips so that you can request silence throughout a meeting without any need to muffle your microphone.
5. Send Your Dog to Their Bed
Make sure your dog has somewhere to enjoy spending time while you’re busy online. While your video call is going on, take your dog to his/her place (bed, crate, mat) until the call has ended. You’ll be able to create great associations between your dog and its place if you use positive training techniques. It is still recommended that you give them an activity that they can do while they are there such as chewing on a bully stick or playing with a toy that is full of food.
You could set up a Puppy Zone where your young puppy can play while you close the door to your office or a safe space for adult dogs to retreat to while you work. Separation anxiety for puppies with their owners working from home will be prevented thanks to this time apart. The importance of some relaxation time for dogs is worth mentioning.
6. Close the Blinds or Curtains
Be sure the blinds or curtains are drawn if your dog enjoys barking at other dogs it sees through the window, so the alert barking doesn’t interfere with your work. While it is normal for a dog to bark when someone or something passes by, it isn’t particularly productive for conference calls.
If your dog barks when they hear noises outside like car doors slamming or other dogs barking, turn on some calming music or a fan to block out the noise. This is called noise masking.
7. Play Training and Brain Games
Dogs need to work their minds too when it comes to tiring out – it doesn’t have to be all physical. A fun training game is an easy way to keep your dog engaged throughout the day.
Short and sweet training sessions are convenient to schedule, and they also prevent frustration and increase learning speed.
Playing brain games and puzzles will also exercise your dog’s brain, and you can make your own at home with materials you have lying around.
8. Get Your Family Involved
There is no way around the fact that we all need a helping hand when it comes to taking care of our dogs at home. You can ask your younger siblings or even your parents to watch over the dogs while you’re in a meeting. You can make it easy by giving them the responsibility of pouring the dog’s regular meals into the puzzle toy so that they can enjoy it. Make sure you select a task that is suitable for their age, though. It is a good idea to supervise young children when they are around your dog if you have such children in your home.
They can play a few simple dog training games with your dog, or they could throw toys for your dog to chase. It’s great for kids and dogs to play hide-and-seek together. This is one of the most popular training games for puppies, which can be played inside or outside.