We have all experienced some very difficult months with regards to COVID-19 and it's not only humans that have been impacted. Your canine companions have also been living through the current pandemic and have also had to adjust to the new normal. For the majority of dog owners, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have meant spending more quality time with their pets and this has made the bond with our dogs stronger. However, life as we know it has changed, and so too for our dogs. They will need to adjust to life after lockdown.
Most dogs will easily adjust to life again when their owners eventually return to work, there are however things that you can do to make the transition a smooth process. Here are eight ways to make sure your dog doesn't become over-dependent, as this can ultimately result in separation anxiety and behavioural issues.
Taking away the triggers
Why not set-up a camera in your home if you are worried about being separated from your dog. Try leaving a camera on in your home (maybe in the kitchen) to see how your dog reacts when you go out. If your dog lies down and settles after a couple of minutes, then it's fine.
Watch for triggers
Dogs tend to relate to triggers, and this can cause stress. For example, dogs may associate something happening with their owner popping out to the shops, like picking up the car keys or getting a handbag. Remove these triggers by picking up keys and then putting them down again. This will desensitise your dog and lessen the power of those triggers.
Go out without your dog
During the lockdown, we were all unable to go out more than once a day, so naturally, we would take our dog along with us. Now that lockdown is easing, remember to go out on your own and see how your dog reacts during this time. This will highlight if your dog has become overdependent.
Sometimes we are guilty of over worrying about our canine companions. However, this worry can cause anxiety to build up within our dogs as they often mirror our feelings. Ensure you are positive around your dog and try not to worry about a problem unless you that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
Get one of the family to spend time with the dog
When you go back to work after lockdown, try not to leave your dog for long periods of time. If possible, get a family member or dog walker to come to visit your dog and keep it company. This will help with this difficult transition stage.
Try not to make a big deal about going out
It can be easy to fuss your dog before you go anywhere but try not to make a deal about going out. Instead, try to be as normal as possible. Dogs will pace for a few minutes and then they will probably spend the rest of the time relaxing and sleeping.
Give your dog a toy
Before leaving the house without your dog, ensure that you give them a toy or something to take their mind off the fact you are going out. A good tip is also to leave one of your t-shirts in the dog bed. The scent can act as a comforter and will ultimately relax your dog.
Talk to the professionals
If you have tried everything but you are still worried contact a professional behavioural expert for some guidance. There are people all over the country who are available to help, contact them if you need assistance.
For more help and advice speak to the dog boarding experts Home from Home on 01932 568584 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.