What are your thoughts now that lockdown restrictions have been relaxed? Anxious? Relieved? If you were to ask your pet the same question you can be sure that their answers would place them in one of two categories; the ones that look forward to the peace and those that dread not being with their owners 24/7… and commonly it is the latter.
Dogs that we had prior to the lockdown are now already used to this new way of life, while those brought into our homes during the lockdown may not know any different, particularly puppies. That’s why it is so important to prepare your dog for life beyond lockdown and help them adjust as we start returning to normal.
Introducing a dog walker can be an excellent way to give your beloved pet its social needs and exercise time when you are too busy since after all, they probably don’t enjoy being stuck at home any more than you do!
If you plan to increase the dog’s daily exercise after the lockdown ends, ensure that you only do it gradually. A sudden change in a dog’s routine can be both damaging to their mental and physical health.
You can teach your beloved pet to start feeling secure even when you are out by gradually spending extended periods of time away from them even when you are at home. It is particularly important for dogs that like to be close to you at any given time.
You can encourage independence in your dog by:
- Having them sleep in their own bed in a separate room from you
- Encouraging them to have their own time exploring your garden or any outside space
- Spending time in a different room from your dog and gradually increase the amount of time spent apart
- Stimulate them! Give them interesting toys such as food-filled chews, they’re a great way to direct attention away from yourself, while the act of chewing helps with calming dogs and it gets those tails wagging!
- If you usually spend time with your dog in a certain room, we advise to leave them there when they are alone. Your dog will be less anxious when it comes to being left in a familiar space.
Introduce your Dog to Doggy Day Care
Whether you are planning a long weekend away, a day out, or are headed back to the office, it is important to find someone who can look after your dog whilst you’re away. Depending on how long you will be, this could be resolved with a dog walker or doggy day care.
Introducing your dog to day care will give you the chance to relax when you’re busy, as you will tell them about your dog and their routine so that they can meet your dog’s specific needs, and yours too! Day care also gives your dog the chance to get used to other dogs, new surroundings, and new people which will help with their social needs and separation anxiety.
Invest in Dog Training
You really need to listen to and observe your dog’s behaviour as we return to a more normal post-lockdown life. Don’t worry if your beloved pet seems to find it hard to adjust to the new normal.
Dogs thrive on routine and for many, the one they have known for the last 1½ years is about to drastically change! Our tips provided here are highly recommended but don’t apply to each and every dog. To help prepare your dog (as well as to brush up on important life skills) you should seriously consider investing in dog training if they’re struggling to adapt.