Action You Can Take Today To Help Your Dog Cope After Lockdown
Imagine a place called Earth, the date is March 2020, and a silent killer is trying to rule the world and forcing nearly all humans to stay indoors …… oh wait, you don’t have to imagine as that really is happening.
For the last six plus weeks, most of us have been in self-isolation and enjoyed the companionship of our four-legged friends. No doubt Dogs have enjoyed the company, and cats have wanted you to go to work (I’m sure my neighbour’s cat was laughing at me as he roamed outside, and I had to stay in)
Part of these strange and unusual times has enabled us to have a lovely walk with our 4-legged friends, and your dog having all his favourite family members home.
The ‘Stay-at-home’ restrictions are now starting to be lifted. Hopefully, we will all be able to start going about our daily lives, start spending more money, being b able to leave the house for more extended periods each day and meet a friend as long as we social distance. As a result, it is important to consider the impact this will have on our dogs, who have gotten used to our company 24/7.
Any dog owners (including myself) are concerned that separation anxiety will be a big problem as dogs start being left alone.
This is a tricky question to answer as symptoms can vary from dog to dog. As with humans, some dogs cope better than others being left alone. Take my two as an example, who are both rescues. Roxy doesn’t cope well with being left for long periods, but Missy copes much better, especially if I leave something on, such as Through a Dog’s Ear.
Separation anxiety is displayed in many different forms. It could look or sound like howling, pacing, panting, excessive drooling, scratching at windows and doors, and having “accidents” indoors are just some of the signs.
I am sure you don’t want to think of your dog being unhappy and anxious when left.
Stick to a Routine where possible
Now that we are slowly coming out of lockdown, it is important to try and return to some work schedule. This includes taking your dog at the times you would when you were out and about working, feeding at the same time and allowing them quiet time so they can sleep. By doing this, your dog will adapt more quickly when you finally do go back to work.
It is important that you find the time and continue to play and train as you did during the lockdown.
Your dog has to contend with you not being around as much, so let’s not make it more difficult by taking away the things that have been part of his new life.
Whilst we all know that dogs rely on us for many things, it is also important that they have a level of independence from us as this also builds up confidence.
Try to factor in time apart from your dog each day to help them be more able to cope when they are left alone.
Perhaps encourage them to relax and settle on their bed or crate while you work. This could be in a separate room to you with the door closed or behind a child gate is important that you start with short time spans, so you do not stress your dog out and slowly build this up over time.
With my two rescues, I find leaving the radio to provide a bit of stimulation seems to help them feel less lonely and drowns out noises from outside that may stress them. They appear to like Smooth Radio.
When encouraging your dog to settle, provide them with enrichment toys or activities that don’t involve you. Activity feeders, stuffed kongs, chews, and toys are great things to use. Please make sure they are solid and cannot be destroyed easily.
That’s it for one. Part two will be published tomorrow. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please let e know.