By this time in 2020, we’ve gotten a little more used to quarantine life. We’ve finally figured out how to mute ourselves on Zoom calls and how to structure our work-from-home days for maximum productivity. But if you’ve recently gotten a new emotional support animal or are still trying to train for good behavior, you might be facing some difficulties making sure your boss and co-workers don’t get distracted by your furry pet in the background of your video calls.
So, what are some ways to have emotional support animal-friendly conference calls? Read below for some ideas on how to have a seamless Zoom call with no animal interruptions!
How to have an ESA-friendly conference call
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to look unprofessional with your dog barking in the background of your call or your cat walking across your keyboard. You can coexist with your ESA and achieve success at work at the same time.
Wondering how to handle your ESA when you’re on a work-related video call? There are several things you can do to ensure your pet isn’t being a distraction during your work hours.
1. Schedule calls when your pet might be occupied or asleep.
If you have flexibility with when to schedule your video calls, try to pick times of the day when you know your ESA likes to take naps or is generally occupied with playing or eating. Not everyone has the ability to schedule their calls when it’s convenient, but if you have this advantage, make sure you use it!
2. Set up boundaries.
If possible, put your pet in another room that’s far from your computer. Make sure they have plenty of toys and a comfy bed to relax in. If you don’t have another room in your home or apartment to make this work, you can try sectioning them off in another area with a doggie gate, or placing them in a crate so that they’ll realize work time doesn’t equal loud play time.
These options make it impossible for them to appear on camera and will likely give you enough distance to feel like you won’t get constantly distracted by them.
3. Wear them out.
Sometimes people don’t have enough space at home to designate as a separate area for their pets. If this applies to you, then you’ll need to spend a little extra time making sure that your pet won’t disrupt your Zoom call.
A great option is to play with them a lot before the time of your call. Help them expel as much energy as possible with some exercise like a really long walk or a fun game of fetch. Hopefully, by the time your video call is taking place, they’ll be so worn out that they’ll take a good long nap while you’re busy at work.
4. Give them treats to snack on.
Even if you can put your pet in another room or nearby, you’re probably thinking, “How do I keep my ESA quiet when on a Zoom call?” One of the best ways to quiet your pet is to put something yummy in their mouth!
That means you should make sure to have plenty of treats on hand during your workday. An even better idea is to give them treats that take a long time to eat (like a rawhide or bone that has to be chewed on for a while) so they’ll be occupied for the entire length of your call.
5. Supply them with toys.
Handing your ESA some toys should help keep their attention while you log onto your video call. Give them plenty of options so they won’t get bored quickly.
Your best bet is to find toys that include some sort of puzzle where the reward at the end is a treat. There are several maze-like toys on the market that should keep your dog occupied for a good chunk of time. They’ll be determined to get to the treat and won’t even think about bugging you for attention.
6. Have a friend take them for a walk during your call.
If these tricks don’t work for a more hyperactive dog, consider asking a friend or family member (or hire a dog walker) to take them out for a walk while you’re Zooming. Your ESA will benefit by getting some exercise and socializing with a different human, and you’ll be guaranteed some uninterrupted peace and quiet for the duration of your meeting.
7. Reward their good behavior so they won’t dread your next call.
If you’re thinking, “How do I keep my ESA quiet when working from home in the long term?” make sure to reward your pet every time they demonstrate good behavior when you’re working. The more they can associate you working with getting treats or positive attention, the more they’ll be sure to replicate that behavior in the future.
Training your ESA to be well-behaved while you’re working is essential for anyone planning on working from home. Reward good behavior and neither you nor your pet will worry about the next time you have to get on a Zoom call. Plus, your co-workers will be thankful for the distraction-free call!