When the pandemic first began, I didn't own a dog. We got him very late in the game over the winter. Since we got him, my wife has been back in her office full time, and I spend a good chunk of the day at the station. So my boy gets a lot of time with us, but gets to spend some time alone too, so he's fairly well adjusted.

But not everyone else is having that same kind of luck. More and more, especially with the vaccine making it's way around, people are having to return to the office for the first time in well over a year. So for those folks, their dogs may not be as happy about all this upcoming time alone. In fact, it's often quite the opposite.

Let's talk about a few things you can do to make it a bit easier transition, according to an article I read from NPR. Believe it or not, it doesn't have to be as bad as it seems. Certainly Fido doesn't like being away from his or her people, but there are things you can do to make it a smidge better for both of you.

First, start getting your dog warmed up to the idea gradually. For instance, maybe start by leaving for an hour or two. Then every day, you can add a little more time to how long you're gone. this should help take the sting out of it, as opposed to just going from zero to 60 with being gone all day.

Also, make sure they're still getting enough exercise. If you have to be gone all day now, make sure you get the pupper outside for a decent walk before and after work. Right now, you may be walking him 4 or 5 times a day, and your dog is loving it. Being stuck inside on the couch all day, or in a crate, may be stressing your dog out. Going for a walk will cure what ails him.

Another thing, leaving and coming home shouldn't be a big deal. This may be the most important. If you make a big a big production out of leaving the house or coming home, your dog will do the same. If things are kept pretty low key, it will reduce your dog's anxiety about you being gone. Which is way better for the both of you.

And lastly, don't beat yourself up about having to be away. This is another turbo-important point. You gotta work. There's not much you can do about that. But remember.... you're already giving your dog the most important things he needs. Food, shelter, and lots of love. That's literally about all you can do. So cut yourself some slack about keeping a roof over his head.

These are all things that I remind myself every day. I'd never owned a dog before we got Neko, so it can be a bit daunting and feel like your neglecting your special little guy or gal. But just keep their heads dry, their bellies full, and the pats coming, and you'll be good to go.

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