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Dogs learning new words from their owners’ Zoom calls

  • Half (48 per cent) of dog owners say their pets are picking up words and commands as a result of hybrid working
  •  ‘Meeting’ (28 per cent), ‘muted’ (28 per cent) and ‘brainstorm’ (8 per cent) among the phrases owners say their pets are gaining understanding of
  • As 58 per cent of pets now recognise their owners’ colleagues thanks to video conferencing, dog lovers share their tricks for keeping pooches quiet during important calls…
  •  … and their most embarrassing work-related pet incidents

Half (48 per cent) of dog owners say their pets have picked up new words and commands as a result of them ‘listening in’ on their work Zoom calls.

The analysis by pet treat company Good Boy showed the most common phrases clever canines are learning include ‘Zoom’ (58 per cent), ‘meeting’ (28 per cent) and ‘internet’ (17 per cent).

Some owners even told researchers their dogs are beginning to understand the terms ‘boss’ (13 per cent), ‘muted’ (14 per cent) and ‘glitch’ (6 per cent).

Humans may have thought they were top dogs when it came to dealing with the transition to hybrid working but canines are clearly being affected too.

In fact, over half (58 per cent) now recognise many of their owners’ colleagues as a result of regularly holding video calls.

Dogs may also be surprised by many of the tactics their owners are using to keep them quiet during work calls.

Two-fifths (40 per cent) feed their pets a supply of treats, 39 per cent admit to locking themselves away somewhere and a quarter (26 per cent) take them for a long walk beforehand in the hope they’ll tire their dog out.

Some owners even admit to scheduling calls at times they know their pet will be taking a nap (16 per cent) or hiding in the bathroom to do the calls uninterrupted (15 per cent).

A quarter (24 per cent) even allow their pet to sit on their lap during these important video calls, but they may inadvertently be boosting their career prospects by doing so.

Two-fifths (41 per cent) of those in the study say seeing someone with a pet on-screen immediately makes them like the person more and a third (34 per cent) say it shows the owner is confident.

The poll revealed 14 per cent believe having a dog on screen during work calls looks professional.

Despite this, just like people, dogs in a work setting come with the occasional faux-pas and owners shared some of the most amusing as part of the study, including:

  • I was on a zoom call and my dog tackled me out of nowhere because he wanted to play
  • My dog once knocked off my webcam (she was playing with the wires) and it revealed my cookie monster pyjama pants
  • On hearing someone’s voice, from my headset, my dog grabbed the headset and ran off with it and hid it under his blanket and did not want me to have it back
  • If she hears another dog she starts making silly noises, or she shows off her toys to the camera
  • My dog jumped on my lap and licked the camera
  • My dog recognises voices rather than images, she is not a screen watcher but should anyone say C A T out loud she growls and barks
  • My dog will drink tea from my cup if he has the opportunity to do so
  • I took my dog once to office and suddenly it disappeared and we didn’t find him for a long time… we later found him with another colleague’s dog

Karen Wild, author of ‘Being a Dog: The world from your dog’s point of view said: “Dogs are very observant of their human families, and pick up all sorts of signals – even when we don’t intend them to!

“They easily link new words with our actions so it’s plausible that witnessing our ‘at work’ personalities while at home will teach them plenty of new words and activities.

“Dogs depend on routine to feel safe and calm, so over the last couple of years they too have had to adapt to this new lifestyle.

“Now that things are changing again with a more ‘hybrid’ style of working, we must support them with this too as we return to the office.

“Gradual change suits dogs the best and lets them learn to cope with each new stage.

“We can make this transition easier by giving them time to adjust rather than us suddenly not being around.

“And, if we decide to take them with us to our workplaces, a safe, quiet space for them to rest (just like they had at home) is essential.

“Dogs are very clever and good at communicating with us about what they need – just as the survey shows! As they have learned about us here, we can always learn more about our beloved best friends.”

Gemma Serdet, Brand Manager at Good Boy adds, “It’s not surprising to see that for most pet owners, treats are one of the first options for trying to distract and keep our four-legged friends occupied when it comes to those important calls.

“Thankfully, Good Boy has a range of dog treats to suit different breeds, sizes and ages available in multiple shapes and flavours to keep our pooches happy and healthy.”

Good Boy is available in all major supermarkets, pet stores and various independent pet stores as well as on Amazon with various options available from real meat treats to dental and reward treats.

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