How to ease my dog into the “new normal”
So many of us have been quarantined for the past weeks. Our daily routine changed drastically during that time. Some of us struggled, some coped, some adjusted very well from day one, and for others, it took time before things felt a little normal. So, what happened to our dogs?
At first, they were trying to understand what was happening around them. Why their human seemed worried, stressed, uneasy. Why he or she was taken on so many more walks, or none at all. Regardless of how puzzling things were, they loved every minute of it. After all, their HUMAN was HOME… ALL THE TIME! We all know that is any dog’s dream come true.
But as non-essential businesses have started to open up this week, and more of us are starting to go back to work, our dogs may suffer. See, enough time went by for the new routine to settle in. And kind of in reverse to what occurred to us early on during the quarantine, dogs may experience a similar thing. Some will struggle, some will cope, some will adjust very well from day one, but for others, it may take time before things feel normal again.
Every dog is different and their reaction to the circumstances surrounding them may differ, but first:
OBSERVE THEIR REACTION
See what happens after you start leaving your home. That will help you gauge what’s going on in your dog’s mind. Some dogs may feel just fine, while others may experience separation anxiety, become destructive, start barking or howling more than usual. It’s hard to tell but make a note of any behavioral changes.
IDENTIFY POSSIBLE ISSUES
Notice any changes in behavior quickly so you can tackle them quickly. Does your dog seem anxious (pacing, whining, or trembling) when you are about to leave? Is your dog all of a sudden having potty accidents? Is he or she starting to chew up furniture, shoes or other items? Is he or she barking or howling excessively? Is he or she digging or trying to escape? If you notice any of these behaviors, it may be due to the fact that the home dynamic changed, and it is being hard for your dog to process such change.
Here are a few tips to help your dog transition into the “new normal” -
BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR NEW ROUTINE
Try to create your new routine and stick to it so your dog slowly understands what will be happening throughout the day. Try to keep walks, feeding and bedtime the same as before. If you aren’t able to do that, stick to the new schedule as much as possible.
USE THE CRATE
We are big fans of crate training. It isn’t cruel as long as it is used appropriately. It should be a quiet place for your dog to unwind and relax. Think of it as a baby’s crib. Boost its use if your dog is crate trained or incorporate it into his or her life if your dog isn’t crate trained. The idea isn’t to keep your dog crated all day, but to use it as a tool to make your dog comfortable being home alone.
KEEP NOISE AT HOME
Leave the TV on while you’re not home. The TV is a usual sound when you are around, so your dog associates it with your presence. This is an easy thing to do that will trick your dog into thinking that you are home. If you have a webcam at home or a device to speak to your dog, use it more often than usual to give him or her reassurance that you are around.
KEEP EM’ ENTERTAINED
Get fun toys that will keep their mind and body active while they are home alone. The Kong filled with peanut butter or any other dog-friendly treat is a great option to keep your dog chewing and linking. There are a bunch of similar toys to choose from that can provide hours of entertainment for your dog.
BOOST PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Research has shown that dogs benefit tremendously from being active. Not only does it help them deal with anxiety and other issues caused by a change in routine, but it helps them stay healthy and live longer! Take your dog on longer walks or jogs or bring them to daycare to ensure him or her is socializing and being physically stimulated. If you are unsure about how much exercise your dog needs, take a look at this article by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
CONSULT A DOG TRAINER
If you’d like to discuss specific issues you are facing with your dog, or if you’d like professional help to mitigate or correct behavior let us know. We can schedule a consultation with one of our partner dog trainers.
SPEAK TO YOUR VET
Always speak to your vet if you have questions about your dog’s health and behavior.
Hope these are useful tips.
Stay safe friends!