Who doesn’t want to have his best friend nearby while working? Dogs are natural stress relievers. They bring us comfort and love and can help us deal with uncomfortable or hard situations. But what happens when your dog is the problem? What happens when you are dealing with a dog that can not stay still in a new environment or when you are around the house? We have THE SOLUTIONS to make your work space comfortable and secure for you and your pup.
- Have a designated placeDogs naturally need a place were they feel safe and relaxed. It can be a platform bed, a comfortable place to sleep or a crate.First, we are going to make our dog associate that place with GREAT things. Constantly place his favorite toy or a bone on top of the area you want him to like, feed him there without the bowl, so he relates high value things with this location.After a few days practice the following exercise:1a. Practice in the area you want the dog to perform the command. Say place or crate or bed and toss a treat on top of the space, once your dog follows the treat and places his 4 paws on the bed say ”good boy or girl” and say “free” and toss a treat outside of the area. Repeat this for 5-7 times. Then say your place command, toss a treat in the place and make your dog go to his location again. Now, you are going to work on stays. Wait 2 seconds and reward and add time slowly. Keep rewarding constantly, adding duration and distractions like you standing up and going back to your chair immediately. If he breaks the command put him back and don’t reward him until he stays for a few more seconds. End your session after 5-10 minutes of practice and try it again later on in the day. Don’t do to much of it or he will get tired.1b. When your dog is staying in his assigned spot for a few minutes worth of low distractions you will need to start incrementing movements like go up to the door, if he gets out of the area don’t get angry, just put him back and take fewer steps and then reward him for staying. Just go as far as your dog can tolerate staying still. Your dog can stand up, lay down or move around this space. The only thing he needs to know is that his paws can not get out of it. Practice this for a few days.1c. Now, start sending your dog from a distance without tossing the treat . Say your place command and point at the area from 3 feet away, if he doesn’t do it the first time don’t repeat it, just move your dog to the desired space. Dogs catch faster if we show him the way rather than repeating a word they don’t know yet. Also, this teaches commitment and respect, it helps you to be honest with your dog and that’s a key for successful dog training . Work on this until your dog is going comfortably to his den on the first call from 3 feet away.1d. Slowly add distance from where you sent your dog to his place, one step at a time. Only move backwards when he is doing it correctly and repetitively. Add coworkers and family members to the equation on your stays. Remember to only let your dog to get our of your position once you say free. If he is learning free by this point don’t toss treats, just wait for him to do it and then reward him. With bigger distractions you are probably gonna have to put your dog back numerous times, that’s part of the process so be patient. In this step of the process it is going to be important that you remember if you put your dog in his space, so if you go to get some coffee and come back and he is not there, remember to put him back and try it again maybe going away half of the time you did last time.Plan Your sessions ahead of time so distractions can be in your control, Good luck!
2. Use interactive toysInteractive toys make your dog think. That’s great because we want to promote tiredness and eliminate boredom behaviors out of the equation.There’s a bunch of options from Kong , Starmark and others. Take your time to investigate what will be the right fit for your dog and try a few out. Give him one or two a day and switch them up all the time. If they are on the floor all day everyday your dog will soon get tired of it.3. Work your dog before you start your work
Dogs are meant to work and fill a purpose. Take him to a spot in your building or home where he can play fetch, walk, do obedience, etc. Dogs usually get tired after 15-30 minutes of mental stimulation mixed with physical. So, maybe do a few training practices like comes, do sit stays outside of your office, or take him to your favorite coffee shop, that will usually do it.4. Play or not play?You shouldn’t let your dog play inside of your work space. You see, he is going to associate the same places with the actions you normally allow and he is gonna repeat them constantly. Dogs rely on a schedule and on patterns so be smart about it and don’t let him run around like crazy or he will think that’s the place and time to do it when you are trying to concentrate and get a proposal done. There’s a time and place for everything.5. Leash or no leash?
Definitely wear a leash and a training collar or harness when you are practicing stays in your office. That will help you control him and get him back in the space he was supposed to be. Once he is doing great with distractions you can put a tab leash or only use his flat collar if you need it.6. Greeting peopleHave treats around your office, if a coworker wants to say him to your pup give him a treat, and encourage him to only give it to him if he is sitting or laying down. With time, this will be the first thing he offers when someone shows up to meet with you .7. Reward actions you want your dog to repeatGive your dog a prize when he is laying down in a relaxed position, when he is playing with his or her toys, when he doesn’t bark or whine, when he sees strangers, technically all the time if he is doing good.8. Fading away from the treats
When your dog is doing really well with all this training, it is time to not reward him all the timeand then less and less until the point you only give him 2-3 a day.Remember, treats should only be 10 percent of your dogs diet so I highly recommend you use his food if he is gonna be getting food all day long. If he doesn’t like his food that much this will be the perfect time to change it so it can meet your pups expectations. Think about it? Will you happily go to work if you were getting payed half of your salary?Hope this helps you to have a better relationship with your doggie and allows you to spend more time with him! Please comment below and feel free to ask me anything .Daniela CarreraHead Coach