Are you planning to get a German Spitz puppy? Or maybe you’ve already got one? And you have a home office where you should start working? So, now you are wondering how on earth you are going to manage your work and the puppy at the same time.
I hear you. Been there, done that.
Actually, I have raised two German Spitz Mittel puppies while I was working from home. It is not easy, I’ll tell you, but if you wanted easy, you probably wouldn’t be getting a puppy in the first place.
Surprisingly, I can tell you that while it isn’t easy, it isn’t all that difficult, either. I would even go as far as saying that having a puppy and working outside your home would be the most difficult option by far. When you are at home with your puppy you can take care of him while you do your work, and you can always keep an eye on the puppy while your other eye is doing your work.
For me, it helped that by the time I got my first puppy while working from home, I had already had a dog in my life before. So, I kind of knew what to expect from having a puppy. It was the working from home part that was new to me.
But, I’m here to help you so let’s get to the juicy part of this post. From the experiences that I’ve gathered I have created a list of tips that I can share with you so that your journey with your puppy would go as smoothly as possible. With these 12 tips I guarantee that your first few months – the tough few months – with your German Spitz puppy will go…. fairly well, maybe even great.
1. Ignore your puppy while you work
This probably sounds weird when you first read this, but trust me, this is the most important tip that I can ever give you.
If you are working in front of the computer like I am, your puppy will definitely want your attention while you work. Let’s create a scenario: every time your puppy comes to you, you will stop your work and concentrate on your puppy instead. In other words, you are giving your puppy exactly what he came to you in the first place.
By doing this your puppy will learn that you are always there to entertain him and he will start using this knowledge to his advantage. In no time you will not be able to work at all because your puppy will be there all the time disturbing you.
If, however, you ignore your puppy while you work, he will soon learn that there is no use in trying to disturb you. Your puppy will learn to regard your working time as his napping time. This is exactly what I did with both of my German Spitz puppies and they both learned pretty quickly that while I work I am not there to entertain them.
Of course, if your puppy really needs your attention you will give it to him. But, trust me, your puppy will do everything he can to disturb your work even when he really doesn’t need you at all.
If you really cannot work with your puppy in the same room with you, then you can consider getting a separate home office room where your puppy is not allowed to enter. I, however, don’t think that it’s a good idea, especially in the long run. There are so many benefits to having your puppy there while you work, and if you stay in another room you are going to miss out on all of the good stuff.
That’s why I really think you should follow my advice and ignore your puppy. It will take a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks, but in no time your puppy will learn the routine of you working and he will be happily sleeping in the meantime.
2. Give your puppy something to do while you work
This doesn’t mean that your puppy should always have something to do while you work. No. Like I said in the previous chapter, it’s important that your puppy will learn to calm down and to sleep while you work even without any activities. And he will, in no time, as long as you keep ignoring him. However, you will have to understand that your German Spitz puppy is an active dog, and he needs to let out all of the pent-up energy. There are other ways to do this, and we’ll get to those in a minute, but it doesn’t hurt if you give your puppy something to do every once in a while.
What could this be then? Well, there are all kinds of activity toys out there, but some of them are better than others. The best types of toys that you can give your puppy while you work are those that are safe, obviously, but also ones that keep your puppy calm. There is no use in giving your puppy an activity ball that he will run around with inside your home. Try to find other types of toys instead.
For example, a Kong toy is an excellent choice in this case. When you stuff the toy with something delicious and give it to your dog it will keep him occupied for a while. But, be aware that a German Spitz is smart enough and he will soon learn to toss and turn the Kong in a way that the stuffing will fly right out. That’s why I’ll give you a quick tip:
Stuff the toy with food (minced meat is great, but you can use soaked kibbles, too) and put it in a freezer for a bit. When the food is frozen, your puppy will have to lick it out slowly. This kind of activity calms your puppy down quite nicely.
Another option is to fill the toy with something sticky like cheese and put it in a microwave for a few seconds. Or, you can use peanut butter, but please, read my article about peanut butter before you do anything you might regret.
I always use the black Extreme Kong toys because they are so tough that not even a German Spitz Mittel can break them. Therefore, they are 100% safe. The medium-sized is right for a Mittel.
Another one I like is an activity mat where you can hide kibbles and your puppy will have to look for them one by one. I like this type of activity toys that calm your puppy down.
Most people think that they should first let their puppy run around like crazy so that he would then be tired while you work. Actually, that’s not how it works. You need to keep your puppy in a calm state of mind in order for him to be able to sleep calmly while you work. Running around is good, but there is another place and time for that.
Ordinary chewing toys are great, too. Anything food-related usually has a calming effect on a puppy.
I have here a short video clip of my German Spitz puppy playing with a ball. There isn’t anything wrong with this per se, but as you can see, this is only making the puppy more energetic. The toys that are given inside the house while you work should aim for calming the puppy down.
This gets us to our third topic:
3. Do not give your puppy too much food
A puppy is small and a German Spitz puppy especially so. If you keep giving him the food-related activity toys that I described in the previous chapter they will quickly add up and your puppy will gain extra weight. That’s not good. In fact, it is dangerous if your puppy gains too much weight. For the health of your puppy and for the future health of your adult dog it is really important that your puppy is at his ideal weight.
If, for example, you use the activity mat type of toy where your puppy searches for kibbles, you can give his daily amount of food in it and then give nothing else afterward. What I mean is that you can measure how much your puppy would eat in a day and then give the same amount of food in the activity mat. Do not use a bowl at all. Actually, it is far better to use other methods to give food to your dog. A bowl is the most boring one of all!
Think of how much trouble the wild animals need to go through in order to get their food, while our dogs get everything served to them on a silver platter. We try our best to make their lives easy but we are making them too easy. Dogs need mental stimulation. Food in a bowl is not a way to do that.
While you spend so much time with your puppy it is also tempting to share your lunch and snacks with him, but please, do not. First of all, it is best if your puppy never learns to beg for food at the table and second of all, human food doesn’t contain all of the nutrients that a growing puppy needs. Do not give any extra vitamins to your puppy; just normal, high-quality dog food, and he will be fine.
4. Create a routine – or an antiroutine (depending on your schedule)
What does that mean you may wonder. Well, let me explain.
If your working hours are pretty regular this is not an issue. But, if you are a freelancer like me, then you probably know how different each day can be. Sometimes you’re very busy, other times not so much.
Dogs love routines. They quickly learn to expect certain things and they really seem like they know how to read a clock. In a way, routines are good because they give comfort to your puppy, and if you can keep a routine, that’s great. If, however, you keep doing certain things at certain hours at first but then your schedule goes completely backward, your little puppy could get really confused.
That is why it would be best not to keep a real schedule in the first place. Vary the times you go for walks, vary the times you play with your puppy, and train him. A puppy eats four times a day so feeding times cannot vary all that much in the beginning, but as your puppy grows you could change the feeding times a bit, too.
If your puppy doesn’t learn to rely on regular hours too much he will be more adaptable to your lifestyle changes later on, too. As a freelancer, you never know what to expect so it is best to prepare your puppy for the life ahead of him.
5. Take short breaks to take your puppy out
This is one of the best things in working from home with a puppy: potty training your puppy will go much faster and easier while you are always home and able to take your puppy out many times a day. It is a lot of work in the beginning but the pay-off is great!
So, you are supposed to be working; how can you possibly keep taking your puppy out all day long? Well, it will not take long, for one. You don’t need to take your puppy for a walk but you simply need to take your puppy out in a place where he can do his business. When he does, you can get back inside. It is actually good to take short breaks from work. Even an hour sitting in front of a computer without moving is a long time. When you take a short break you will feel energized to keep going.
Of course, a puppy may not relieve himself right away when you take him out. I know how hard it can be! But, if you take your puppy out after he has eaten, played, or slept, it is more likely that he will relieve himself right away. Then, give him quick praise and get back to work.
6. Remember to exercise
A good part of the work we do from home these days is done with a computer. That means there will be lots and lots of sitting. To survive, we simply need to exercise.
When your puppy is still very young you cannot take him for long walks yet. Then it is time for you to think of ways you can exercise without him. Moving our bodies is important for our health. How you do it is up to your own preferences.
Once your puppy gets older it gets fun because you can start walking and exploring together. For example, I start my day by walking my dog for 30 – 45 minutes. It is great to have some fresh air before beginning the day’s work. Imagine if I just rolled out of bed and switched on my computer right away! I am sure I am more productive when I take care of myself and my dog at the same time.
7. Take short training breaks
It is important to teach your puppy certain things, and training, in general, is a good idea. But how can you, if you work? Not to worry, you will do just fine even when you work from home.
Like I said previously, it is important to take breaks or otherwise you will get exhausted and stiff from sitting down in one place. This works out well with having a puppy because what the puppy needs are short training sessions. A puppy cannot concentrate for long, so taking an hour for training would be way too long for him. Your puppy would get exhausted and cranky and you would probably do more harm than good training for too long.
A way better option is to take short, 5-minute training breaks from work when you can teach your puppy some basics, like ‘sit’ and ‘down’ and ‘heel’, and whatever you can think of. It is better for your puppy to take short training sessions often than to force him to concentrate for an hour, but this is better for your job as well. You will always have five minutes, and it will only do good stuff for your wellbeing, too.
Training is a good way to keep your puppy in the calm state of mind we talked about earlier. Physical exercise does not make your puppy calm, but having to use his brain capacity does. It is exhausting having to think! This is exactly why your puppy cannot concentrate for long; because it is simply too tiring.
Then after your training session when your puppy is tired and he goes to sleep, you are able to continue working.
8. Remember to socialize especially if you work alone
This is really important to remember, even though it may seem obvious. It is just that when you keep working from home you get lazy in time. Especially if you’re an introvert like me, it is easy to stay in the comfort of your own home. But, don’t just stay at home, you have to make the effort to go out and meet people in your free time.
It actually helps when you get a puppy. Hopefully, you are aware of the fact that socializing a puppy is important, and socializing a German Spitz puppy is especially important. (You can go read my article about it: How to Socialize a German Spitz Puppy?)
When you feel like you need to go out specifically to take your puppy to new places, you will automatically get socializing for you, too.
Well, this happens naturally if you are an outgoing person, but in general, those of us who work from home tend to be a little bit antisocial, so this is an important one to remember. Do not stay at home all the time. Go out and take your puppy with you.
9. Go explore other places in your free time
This goes together with the previous tip but here we take a step further. Instead of simply socializing your puppy and taking him to places that are new to him, go explore places that are new to you, too. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately by going hiking. I love nature and I love to hike trails, and if the weather is right, I even spend a night outdoors.
When you have a dog you get fed up with the same trails pretty soon. So, I’ve taken a habit to drive a little bit further in the county to find new trails to explore. This has dramatically changed my life for the better; it cheers me up so much to get a change in my everyday life. If you are interested, you can go read my article: Hiking with a Small Dog (German Spitz) – Guide for Hikers
Hiking may not be your thing, but you can go explore different types of places. Find out what you are interested in! Take your puppy with you and enjoy your time together! Going to places and exploring new areas becomes easier in time when your puppy grows up. He will behave more nicely, for one.
10. Be aware of separation anxiety: leave your puppy alone
I’ve been talking about taking your puppy everywhere with you. It’s good because this way you will be able to socialize your puppy. He will get used to everything that there is to know in your lives and he will be much easier to live with as he grows older. However, it is not a good idea to take your puppy everywhere and all the time.
The problem is that you are together most of the time. You work from home and your puppy is there with you. You go explore the world and you keep socializing your puppy and before you know it, you’re together 24/7.
No matter how much you’d like to keep your puppy by your side all the time the fact is that in our society it is not going to be possible. There are places where you cannot go with a dog: a grocery store and doctor’s office, for example. If your puppy is with you at all times and then you do have to leave him alone, if he’s not used to it, he is not going to take it well.
German Spitz is really devoted to his owner anyway. He likes to be with you at all times. If you are together day in day out, he will most likely develop separation anxiety type symptoms then when you do leave him alone in the house.
Keep this in mind from the moment you get your puppy, and take your time teaching him how to be alone while you are gone. It takes quite a bit of effort at first but you will be rewarded once your puppy stays happily alone while you go away. Separation anxiety is common and one of the worst problems that dog owners have with their dogs: it is best to pay attention to this from the first day. I have written an article about this: Can German Spitz Be Left Alone in the House? Go ahead and read it if this interests you.
11. Talk to your puppy
To me this one is obvious, but I know it isn’t quite so obvious to some people.
When I was a kid we had a dog in the house. He was my best friend and I told him everything about my life. I talked to him all the time. It didn’t matter to me that he wasn’t able to talk back, because I knew he could still understand me. That’s how I’ve been with all of my dogs ever since.
Talking to your puppy is actually very important. It develops your puppy’s mental capabilities and intelligence. A dog learns to understand 150 – 250 words in his lifetime. Imagine that! It’s a lot when you think about it. No wonder it really seems like our dogs can understand everything we say.
Puppies do not have this skill yet, but as you keep talking to your puppy he will pick up your words and the tones of voice little by little. Talking to your dog also strengthens your bond and builds your relationship.
12. Love your puppy
This last one also seems obvious. However, there will be bad days when you really wouldn’t want to do all the work. You wouldn’t want to go out in the rain. You wouldn’t want to clean up the pee on the floor again. You wouldn’t want to stop your work just to train your dog to heel, for the hundredth time.
And then, on top of all that, you notice that your puppy has chewed on your boots while you were having a conference call. Oh, no!
There are times when you would really like to get angry at your puppy. It is only human. We are not perfect even when we would like to be. But on those bad days, it is especially important to remember that you do love your puppy more than anything else in the entire world. Getting angry at him will get your nowhere. If your puppy has chewed on your boots he has forgotten about it long before you notice it. It is no use getting angry at him now when he can no longer make the connection between your anger and the boots.
Take a deep breath, go get some fresh air, and remind yourself of how lucky you are for having a German Spitz puppy. Move on. The next day will be better.
Having worked from home with a puppy/dog through most of my working life, I am ready to tell you that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Having a dog makes life more difficult, but so does having children and yet, most of us want kids. Life isn’t always about taking the easy way out because the best things in life come out of those that we have to struggle with.
There are so many benefits to having a dog by your side while you work. There is nothing better than taking a short break and being able to rub your dog behind his ears or on his belly. It relaxes you and gives you the energy to keep going.
Taking a break to get some fresh air does not make your workday any longer. In fact, it may shorten it because once you get back you will feel more energized and you will get your work done faster than you would otherwise. Staying in front of the computer all day is not a good idea anyway; you will only get health problems if you don’t take care of yourself.
Working from home may not be something that suits you anyway with or without a puppy, but it certainly suits my lifestyle. If you are like me and you decide to go for this way of living with a puppy, congratulations. I honestly think it’s a good decision. You will need luck, though, so that’s what I’ll wish you now on your journey: good luck with your puppy!