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04/12/2021

How to Keep your Dog Quiet during Video Call Meetings

We were in a group Zoom meeting with a partner of ours recently when one of the participant’s dogs went…

We were in a group Zoom meeting with a partner of ours recently when one of the participant’s dogs went on a barking spree. We thought it was hilarious. I mean, after all, we’re a dog business! We can appreciate the spirit of our canine friends. Besides being downright embarrassing to the disruptive dog owner, some businesses frown on such a disturbance. I know of one lady in a business leadership role (not in the pet business, of course) that is infuriated by such an interruption. She must not be a dog person.

Yesterday afternoon I was on a call with my boss when my dog decided to dig in his bedding which is right beside my office chair. He always picks the times I am on a call to start digging. I can’t imagine what others think that “scratch, scratch, scratch…” noise is. Or maybe he starts the “lick, lick, lick…” thing. I am not sure which is worse, but it must be irritating, if not just “strange”, to the other zoom members.

How do we keep our dogs quiet when we are on a call? Better yet, how do we keep them quiet and occupied when we are trying to work? Sometimes it feels like appeasing a two-year-old, right? It is a challenge, but we can help.

Exercise

The first few hours of my dog’s day is pretty active, as yours probably is too. After his morning wake-up snuggles, he has his morning potty walk, then he dances around the kitchen while we are preparing his breakfast. After eating, he excitedly follows us around the house for the next hour or so while we finish our morning tasks and get ready for the day. It’s like he is bouncing off the wall saying, “What do you wanna do now?” Dogs tend to be most active in the mornings, so it is the perfect time to take advantage of all that energy. Providing an outlet for that energy, such as a long morning walk, will help your dog rest more quietly when you are working.

As a general rule of thumb, dogs should have about an hour of outside playtime or other exercise every day. That’s very general… Some dogs only need about 30 minutes, and some up to 2 or more hours. So, if you can go outside at lunchtime and play a few games of fetch, you set your dog up for a quieter afternoon as well.

Mental Stimulation

Exercise does provide mental as well as physical stimulation, but following your dog’s after-exercise snooze, they will probably need something else to keep them occupied and busy. At Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, we have something called a “Bizzy Bone”. It is actually a Kong chew toy filled with one of our delicious seasonal recipes. Kong’s do not need to be filled to be a great chew experience. But the filling is the “icing” on the cake! Not only is it delicious to your dog (we all know how they love to eat!), but the Kong has an odd shape with an irregular, whimsical bounce that keeps it interesting and fun. As an alternative, a simple bully stick or chew bone can keep some dogs entertained for hours.

Dog games and puzzles can provide oodles of fun and recreation for your dog. We recently purchased a few puzzles for our dog. While we are both working from home, Jesse would start getting bored and look to us for entertainment around mid-late morning. That’s when we would give him a puzzle to solve. Now he looks forward to it! He will start looking towards the closet door where his puzzles are kept each morning, hinting that it’s puzzle time. As he solves the puzzle and is rewarded with a treat, it motivates him to keep looking for another one. It’s very satisfying to him.

Training commands

Our Holiday Barn Pet Resort Professional Dog Trainers highly recommend the “climb” command when you need your dog to be quiet. The climb is a designated place – usually your dog’s bed – where they will go when you give them the command to “climb”. Through our dog Training program, dogs learn to go to their climb, calm themselves, and stay there until released. It is often used during mealtime, or when company comes, or any other time when your dog shouldn’t be underfoot. It is very effective.

If you are having trouble getting your dog to stay on their climb, grab some training treats and work with them when you have some downtime. Try and “capture” the good behavior and reward them for it. If your dog goes to the climb and sits down, give them a treat. They lie down, give them a treat. They stand up but don’t leave the climb, give them a treat. Repeat, repeat and repeat! Rewarding good behavior is a great training tool for our furry friends, and they will catch on to what you are asking them to do.

Language

Again, the “climb” command works wonders, however, if you are trying to teach your dog without the help of our professional trainers, make sure you use a consistent command. Whether it be “climb”, “stay”, “settle”, or whatever, make sure you use the same word each time so that you do not confuse your dog. Also, one-word commands are recommended. It’s a little more difficult for dogs to learn two or more word commands like “Be a good dog”, or “go to your bed”. Because of your body language and the “emotion” behind your words, they will catch on eventually, but a one-word command is the quickest path towards success.

Love break

Many times during zoom calls with our pack, we will see someone pull their dog into their lap to love on them… That’s so sweet. Some may say that doing so is “rewarding” the dog for whatever bad behavior they may be exhibiting. That is a good point to keep in mind, but timed correctly, it will not be perceived as a reward. If Jesse has been good during the call and I notice him starting to get antsy – moving around or looking bored – that’s the time for a nice cuddle. And sometimes a good “attention” break is enough for him to contentedly settle back onto his climb.

Use discretion when deciding whether or not you should allow your dog or child to be a part of a zoom meeting. Consider the topic of the meeting and attendees. Is it a planning meeting with your department coworkers? They would probably love to see your pets and children! Is it a board meeting, performance evaluation or something similar? Probably should have someone keep your pets and children occupied while you meet.

The Call

As we know, dogs do not like the idea of a stranger in the house. Your dog may be alarmed at the strange voices they hear coming from the speakers on your computer. Who is that? Where are those people? Dogs don’t always get human technology, right? Although your dog can be trained not to react to the voices, until then, it’s best to use earphones or earbuds.

Some people may think that the best thing to do for a barking or attention-hungry pup is to put them in another room while you are working, but I think that’s just mean. Okay, I know… I’m a softy. But our dogs like nothing more than to be with us. It is up to us to teach them the life skills they need to behave in any situation. A well-trained dog is a pleasure to be around. They listen to you. They can be trusted.

Bring them to Holiday Barn!

Do you have an important video meeting coming up and you fear your dog will create a disturbance? Drop them off at Holiday Barn for the day! We will keep them mentally and physically stimulated with playtimes and enrichment activities. Or maybe you could schedule a fun day at camp or a visit to our luxurious spa! No matter what, you will be able to concentrate on what you need to do at home. And when you pick them up, ask to speak with one of our dog trainers about teaching your dog to succeed in today’s sometimes confusing world.

Contact our Professional Dog Trainers today. In Glen Allen, the number is 804-672-2200. In Midlothian, the number is 804-794-5400.

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