Hanging out in Office
Why bother with home office training?
Getting into a good routine right away pays dividends down the road. A little training time now means hours of uninterrupted focus later.
How to prepare.
Step 1. Decide the following each time you sit down to work:
- How much training focus will you have?
(Are you just checking a few emails, or working on a complicated project?)
- Based on that, where will your dog be while you’re working?
(On his mat or dog bed near you? In his crate or confinement area nearby? Loose in the house?)
- Will it be helpful to use mental stimulation toys to keep your dog occupied, or to help him stay on his mat or bed? If so, which will you use?
(A stuffed Kong, treat ball, chewie, puzzle toy, etc?)
- How will you reward your dog for greeting guests politely?
(Offer him a treat? Allow him to mingle freely?)
Step 2. Sit down to work – and to train.
If you’re actively training, use the Down Stay On Your Mat handout to guide your training time. If you’re trying to get a big project done, set a timer so you remember to look up periodically to thank your dog with a treat or pet for playing with his toys and staying out of trouble while you get things done.
At the office.
If you’re lucky enough to take your dog to work with you, be sure the experience is good for all.
- Keep plenty of mental stimulation toys on hand to keep your dog from getting bored—and getting into trouble.
- Give your dog a treat every time someone passes your office, cubicle, or work space. He’ll soon learn to look to you when someone passes, allowing them to pass by to get their own work done.
- Practice Sit to Greet when co-workers stop by to say hello. (Don’t worry if you haven’t learned this yet—we’ll be getting to it in upcoming sessions!)
Troubleshooting: If your dog is having trouble staying on his mat or bed while you work, increase your reward rate to help him learn that it’s worthwhile to stay there. You’ll be able to phase the treats out eventually, but moving too fast means unreliable behavior. Always work at your dog’s level.