Pet Peeves

If your pet is not used to having you at home during the day, expect an adjustment period. Just like kids, your pet is likely to think that he or she deserves your full attention when you are at home. You may need to set new rules and—especially if these rules involve major changes—it may take a couple of months for your pet to adjust to the new boundaries. Here are a few suggestions that may help:

  • Start out on the right foot by deciding what the new rules will be for your pet before you start working from home. Will the pet be allowed in the house during the workday? Will the pet be allowed in your office? Will furniture be off limits?
  • Be consistent. If you don’t want your dog to jump on your business associates as they walk in the door, for example, then disallow the behavior altogether. Your dog cannot distinguish between business guests and other guests.
  • Make sure that your family understands the new rules and will help you uniformly enforce them.

A Few Words About Barking Dogs

All dogs bark sometimes, but some seem to bark at everything. This habit may be made worse by sudden changes in routine. If you’re concerned about your barking dog undermining your professional image, consider the following:

  • Make sure your phone has a mute button.
  • If your pooch is barking to get your attention, make sure you set aside time outside of the workday to give him or her your attention.
  • If sounds or activity trigger your dog’s barking, try to create distance between him or her and stimulus that causes the behavior. If your dog barks when cars drive by, try closing the blinds. Turn on music to drown out small sounds, or move the dog outside or to the other end of the house during the workday.
  • Don’t bark back. Yelling is the human equivalent to barking. Use firm, even tones when correcting your dog’s behavior.
  • Praise your dog for good behavior.
  • When all else fails, seek the help of a professional dog trainer.

A Final Pet Etiquette Tip

Many people are allergic to or afraid of animals. Before you bring business associates into your home, find out how they feel about your pets. You may need to find an alternative meeting place or find a place in your home to isolate the animal while you meet.

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