Routine and Structure are Key to Ensure a Smooth Transition

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced shutdowns over a year ago, many pet owners began working from home and needed to help their pets adjust to them suddenly being home all the time. Now, as many start to head back into the office, pet owners must prepare their pets to once again be home alone.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) understands this will not be an easy process and wants to help pet owners guide their pets into this transition.

But preparing is a slow and gradual process that can’t be done in a day – it starts with understanding the causes of separation issues for our pets.

The top causes of separation-related problems are fear, frustration, boredom, or something health-related. Pets become frustrated if they don’t get enough of something or even too much of something.

Boredom can result if the pets are not being challenged or stimulated enough, and health-related issues such as allergies can cause anxiety or discomfort for pets and while pets cannot tell us what is causing their anxiety or discomfort, the behavior they exhibit is very telling in this regard.

Again, it’s critical to begin setting our pets up for success well before we head back to the office, and that includes taking care of our pets’ physical and mental well-being and focusing on training.

ARL offers these four tips to preparing your pet for a return to the office:

    1. Start slow! Even if you plan on going back into the office in six months, the earlier you get your pet into a routine, the easier the transition will be! Just as with humans, creating a routine alleviates stress of the unknown, and it’s no different for animals.
    2. Begin your routine by waking up at the same time each day. Keep mealtimes, walks, and playtime on a consistent schedule as well.
    3. If your dog is not crate trained consider doing so, begin offering them high-value treats and toys to use during independent playtime while inside their crate. Before long, your pet will learn that the crate can be their own personal safe and happy space, whether you are at home or not.
    4. Remember that repetition, patience, and rewarding calm behavior is key.

It’s also important to remember that as a pet owner, you’re not alone! ARL offers a FREE Pet Behavior Helpline to help tackle a number of behavioral issues.

The Helpline can be reached at (617) 226-5666 or by email Once you reach out, an ARL representative will be in touch within 48 hours.

ARL also offers dog training classes at its Boston and Dedham location for basic and advanced canine learning, semi-private and private sessions are also available.

For more information, course schedules and pricing, visit