Jenny Lawson, known online as The Bloggess, captured the moment beautifully: that sinking feeling you get as your beloved pet decides their input is critical to your conference call in this post.
The expressions and grimaces on Jenny’s face will be recognised by any pet lover who has tried to hold a conference call or video conference. Managers and colleagues whose hearts have not been captured by a four-legged friend wonder why you don’t just lock Fluffy in a separate room so we can get on with business.
However, they don’t understand that might make the problem worse! That it will lead to a cacophony of howls and meows as the separation anxiety sets in or a destruction of property that will make you avoid conference calls at all costs.
However, resident 247meeting ‘Dog Person’, Amy, is on hand with some simple tips to manage your pet’s enthusiasm for conference calls with your CEO.
1: Set Boundaries
Any animal trainer will tell you, most complaints about pet behaviour come from human expectation that their pets can engage in complex decision-making (there’s a reason they can’t join in on your call).
Your dog can’t tell that they’re not allowed on the couch when you have visitors, they only know if they’re allowed on the couch or not.
Similarly, Felix doesn’t know he can’t waltz past your computer screen when you’re on a video conference with your boss, he only knows that every other day of the week he can come and go as he pleases and you may even scratch his sweet spot while he’s at it.
To solve this you will need to set some boundaries so your pet knows that the range of your webcam is out of bounds. It may feel like you’re taking away from the whole point of working from home – more quality time with Fido and Felix – but there’s no reason you can’t train them to stay peacefully under your desk during working hours.
2: Tire Them Out
If a conference call from home is more a novelty than the norm a simpler course of action to take is tiring your pet out so they’ll be sound asleep during the call. At the very least, they should be tired enough to be disinterested in the funny human noises the computer is making.
For both cats and dogs play is essential to their overall health. A pet that engages in play regularly will have very few health or behavioural issues. It will also tire them out before that very important call.
Try laser pointers with Felix and a long walk with Fido and your call should be a dream unless of course, Fido snores.
3: Distract Them
Sometimes Conference Calls happen on the fly and you won’t have time to put in any prep work. In this case, it’s good to have a strategy in place for distracting your pets. Food is usually a good tool but is often scoffed down before everyone has dialled in on the call.
You can make use of food puzzle toys or freezing some food can make it last longer. A simple puzzle toy can be made using a muffin tray and some tennis balls. Hiding some kibble in the muffin tray, under a few tennis balls will keep them occupied.
Hopefully, these tips will help improve both your conference call experience and your relationship with your pet.