2 Years In: The Joys & Challenges of Working From Home with Dogs

2 Years In: The Joys & Challenges of Working From Home with Dogs

  • Erin Swanson

For many workers across the globe, March of 2020 signified the shift from working in the office to working remotely. That meant less time commuting and more time pouring endless cups of coffee. And of course, more belly rubs and ear scratches for our tail-wagging coworkers.  

Two dogs lay on the couch while their owner works from home.

Now that many of us at Ruffwear have been working remotely for over two years, we are celebrating how working from home with our dogs has brought us closer to them – through the challenges and joys of being together round the clock. Read on to hear a few of our team members' takeaways from this wild two-year journey. 

What's the best part about having your dog home with you?

From endless snuggles to a reason to get outside, here are a few things we enjoyed about working from home with our pups. 

A small senior dog sleeps on a blanket on the couch.

Heather: Jackson is a senior dog at 15.5 years old. Being able to work from home with him meant I could take some meetings from the couch with him snuggled next to me. We could also go outside in nicer weather and work in the fresh air and warmth of the sun. Life is precious. Time is short.

Jamie: Getting to see my dog's personality blossom while being home with me was so special. It's definitely made our connection and bond stronger! He's 11 now, so it's been helpful being with him to tend to his senior needs.

A dog stands in the kitchen and looks up at its owner.

Kadee: I was able to adopt Sturgill, who entered our lives last October. Working from home gave me the opportunity to spend time with him so he could get familiar with us and work on his separation anxiety. We bonded over multiple walks per day and training communication when I got up to go to the bathroom or refill my coffee. I was able to slowly introduce Sturgill to the office a few days a week, which made it feel easier for me – and I imagine easier for him.

What's the most challenging part?

From barking at the Amazon delivery driver (who now comes several times a week) to not getting enough treats and pets, here are a few challenges we had while adjusting to work from home life.

A dog and cat sleep on the ground while their owner works from home.

Caroline: Watching Atka nap on the job. I have told her that she needs to start helping me with emails, but every single morning it's the same thing. She curls up in her bed and takes a nap. Dogs, am I right?

Erin: While working from home allowed me to take more play and stretch breaks with my dogs, there were still times when I'd have to sit at my desk for long stretches. Odin and Wrigley would often give me their best puppy dog eyes and nudge me with their noses, trying to pull me away from a meeting. Not to mention, the time Odin tooted pretty loudly mid-meeting!

A dog lies on a bed and sleeps.

Colin: It's been hard to give my dog enough mental activity and socialize her with enough new dogs, experiences, and environments.

Any memorable work from home stories with your pup?

It’s very common these days for pups to make a surprise appearance on our webcams. They also make great foot warmers on those chilly days. Here are a few more of our favorite moments!  

Two dogs stand on the top of a hill after taking an early morning run with their owner.

Cayla: My favorite memory is walking up Pilot Butte with my two pups and their beacon lights and watching the sun rise with them before running home to start work at 7:30 a.m.

Phillip: All the snoring she does while I'm in a meeting and running outside to enjoy fresh snowfall.

Moira: I wouldn't say it was a favorite memory, but I would say it was a memory that I am SO grateful for. Jada had pretty major surgery last year which she's never gone through. Being at home and being able to care for her outside the office while she was recovering was such an enormous weight off my shoulders.

What do you think is your dog's favorite part of your work from home life?

Cuddles, treats, more cuddles, more treats. Oh, did we mention cuddles and treats?  

A dog lays underneath a desk while her owner works from home.

Izzy: Endless requests for attention and more walks!

Vanesa: TREATS all day! Every day!

Kerry: Doug loves the quality time, and Juniper loves the extra attention and play time.

What is your morning routine with your pup?

Wake up to puppy kisses followed by potty time, a full coffee mug, and off to Zoom meetings. Sound familiar? Here are some of our morning work from home routines.

Two dogs go on a walk in their neighborhood with their owner.

Vanesa: I awake to the sound of a tail thumping on the bed, we have morning cuddles, then I give her a chewy for her teeth while I sip on my coffee. If the weather is nice, we enjoy our treats outside! We have a few rounds of fetch or tug before our stretching regimen then it's off for a walk. After we return, it’s time to get to work.

Moira: Jada wakes me up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to go potty. Like clockwork. Let's just say we go BACK to bed until 7 a.m. Then, it's breakfast while I make coffee. After that, she demands to be put back under the covers on my bed and sleeps until about 10 a.m. after I've been working for 2.5 hours ... what a life.

Kadee: My alarm goes off and Sturgill jumps into bed and cuddles (under the covers, gasp!!) as I snooze until the next alarm. We get up, and Sturgill goes outside while I visit the bathroom and brush my teeth. Sturgill whines at the door and then comes in and follows me around until I make my breakfast. Then, I get him his with one cup in a puzzle feeder and the second cup in the Gnawt-a-Rock™ dog toy hidden somewhere in the house. I sit down to work, and he goes to curl up on the couch after checking in with me a few times.

Did you try any homemade dog treats? 

With more time on our hands, DIY everything became popular during the pandemic. Here are some of our favorite dog-approved treat recipes. 

A dog holds a peanut butter sandwich in her mouth.

Cristina: Working from home meant snacking was going to be inevitable for me. But, by sticking to snacks I could share with Lennon, I was able to curb the sweet tooth a bit. Her favorites? A piece of carrot, chunk of banana, or bite of my peanut butter sandwich. 

Jamie: Yogurt Coconut Ice Cubes with blueberries/strawberries/bananas – whatever you want. Freeze fruit with yogurt & a dash of coconut oil in ice trays. Great summer dog treats!

Vanesa: Yes! We really like oats, bananas, and peanut butter all squashed up. I press the mixture into heart cookie cutters then bake. Great for humans and pups!

Looking for more work from home treat recipes? Check out our dogs’ favorite treats and these must-try DIY recipes

Does your dog have a favorite work from home toy?

When they’re not napping, our sidekicks love playing with toys. Here are some favorites recommended by The Ruffwear Pack! 

A golden retriever dog tugs on Ruffwear's Pacific Loop™ toy on the beach.

Top Picks:

1) Gnawt-A-Rock™: We keep our pups busy during long Zoom calls with this treat-dispensing throw toy.

2) Gnawt-A-Stick™: The floating fetch toy we love to bring along for water play-breaks. 

3) Camp Flyer™: Need to stretch those legs? Go fetch. 

4) Pacific Loop™: Perfect for midday tug-of-war breaks! 

      What advice do you have to make working from home with a dog easier?

      Having a dog around makes taking breaks throughout the day a little easier. In addition to extra play time, here are some tips that will make working from home with your pup extra fun. 

      A golden retriever stands by a tree in the backyard, ready to play.

      Erin: I love to take breaks throughout the day to throw the ball for my pups in our backyard. It allows all of us to stretch and enjoy some sunlight! 

      Christopher: Don't forget to have random living room dance sessions to keep your pup engaged.

      Amber: Keep treats at your desk! 

      Jamie: A frozen kong with yogurt and peanut butter is perfect for quiet phone calls!

      Working From Home Has Its Pros!

      From 5 a.m. alarms to go skiing with our pups to midday breaks for a walk around the block, we are excited to spend extra time with our canine companions. Extra treats, lunch break naps, and countless toys are a must as many of us continue to work away from the office – whether that be at a coffee shop, home office, or ski lodge. 

      Gear Up Your WFH Pup

      Want to optimize your home office for your dog? We've got you covered with these (Home) Office Dog Essentials

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