Your dog is not ready to go back to the office

NEW YORK – Look at that little face, those pleading eyes, that snout that kept him company throughout the pandemic. Now explain to Cooper why it’s so important to go back to the office – and leave her alone all day after two years together 24/7.

for what? Team spirit?

Todd McCormick, a derivatives trader on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, decided he wouldn’t. “I don’t think I’ll ever be in an office again,” he said. As he spoke, his mutt’s son, 13-year-old Higgins, asked for a cookie.

Of course, many longtime New Yorkers have either returned to their workplaces, or never stopped going. But for those considering a move now, and for their dogs, the day of reckoning has come.

More than 23 million American households have acquired a cat or dog during the pandemic, according to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and many of these animals have never known what it’s like to be lonely all day long. They hacked Zoom meetings, typed incomprehensible messages on their laptops, and found other ways to contribute to the work environment across genres. For a lot of people, dogs were the only thing to live around – handler, companion, and entertainment system all rolled into one.

Now employers want them to give up everything.

It’s impossible, McCormick said, not even pretending to put off a Higgins bonus cookie.

He said, describing the behavior that emerged soon after the pandemic began. “He knows I’ll be leaving for three minutes, but that doesn’t stop me from hearing him throughout the elevator ride.”

McCormick has basically stopped going to restaurants and hasn’t been on vacation since the start of the pandemic, mostly to avoid being separated from his dog.

“But I have to admit that, despite everything, he is a wonderful companion,” he said.

He said dogs who live in apartments have always had to adapt to less-than-ideal conditions, but returning to the office means that thousands are suddenly going through the same transition at the same time. Kate Senese, director of training at the East Village Kennel School in Manhattan. “We get a lot of divorces,” she said.

He said dogs that used to be on their own before the pandemic tend to adapt relatively quickly. “But in the case of pandemic puppies” – puppies born and adopted during the pandemic – “she was never alone and is now in her delicate teenage years,” she said. “It can be very difficult. They need to learn these new skills.”

Professional Trainer Tip: Don’t give your dog that special toy only when you go outside, as the toy will become a trigger for distress.

Pam Reed, deputy chair of the behavioral sciences team at the ASPCA, notes that animals left out of nowhere can feel “disoriented and lonely and wonder why everyone is rushing out of the house instead of staying home.” She suggests practicing short breaks before the big return to the office and scheduling walks and meals to accommodate future work schedules.

“Don’t forget to watch for signs of anxiety while getting ready to go out, such as nervously stepping and panting, vocalizing, or trying to hang out with you,” she said.

These signs are well known to Israeli milletHe is a psychotherapist who lives in Chelsea. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these distressing behaviors have become part of the daily routine of Milton and Rufus, both of whom are offspring of crosses between the poodle and the arrogant King Charles Spaniel, which are known as the Cavapoo or Cavoodle.

She said that if Millet and her husband left the apartment at the same time, the dogs would make clear their refusal. “By that I mean an upside-down trash can, an upside-down food bowl. They probably won’t use the toilet brushes we leave at home if they need to use the bathroom, for example.”

As a therapist, Millett sees separation anxiety as a “two-way street.” Was she feeding her anxious dogs? Or more clearly, was she projecting her concern on animals?

Solution: Eliminate separation. Now she takes them to her office, where they occasionally participate in her, often virtual, therapy sessions.

“In many ways, I surrender to their will,” she admitted. “I wouldn’t tell a parent with their child’s separation anxiety to do that.”

Many technology companies, including Amazon and Google Square Space And etsyEven before the pandemic, some companies had begun accepting dogs in some of their workplaces, and some other companies had made exceptions as a way to attract and retain professionals. Andy Challenger, Senior Vice President, Executive Placement Company Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Animals often go through a trial period and sometimes have to stay on a leash. The sting usually results in expulsion; For minor offenses, there is more tolerance.

But Challenger thinks this fad should be short-lived.

Until then, the real separation anxiety may be between the owners, not the animals. RAV Astor, who hosts and walks the dogs in East Village, said the dogs he handles have adapted well to the change. But to people, he said, “Many of these dogs have become emotional support animals. So now, when they have to leave the dog, a lot of the anxiety comes from the owner, not the dog. And some nerves are license to really give it to her. And the dogs got off of him somehow.” .

As for the teachers, they may not be so lucky. Despite all the new dogs in American homes, Karen BurkeD., a human resources consultant for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), said she hasn’t seen a move to allow dogs into the office, except for dates like “the day you bring your pet into the office.” .

“Is this a gain? I didn’t have that realization,” she said. “Should it be done? Probably, especially as the great concession continues.” But don’t get your hopes up, be warned. “Not every organizational culture can support this.”

Now, who would say that to Cooper?

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