How can you prepare your dog for our return to a new normal? We’ve written a few tips…
- Gradually change your dog’s routine (walks and feeding) back to how it was before lockdown. This can prevent anxiety and stress when they are left alone.
- Build resilience by asking other family members to become involved in their care so they are not dependant on one person.
- Consider your walk, location, length and time and gently adjust them to suit what your working routine will be.
- Do not give them attention every time they ask. Don’t ignore them but give them a comfortable bed or chew toy to settle with.
- During lockdown, the majority of us have not spent much time away from our dogs. So now is the time to familiarise them with alone time. Encourage them to spend more time by themselves resting in a separate room while you do something else. Maybe sit in the car for five minutes and gradually increase your time away. Use enrichment to help keep them occupied such as Kong toys, puzzle feeders and chewy toys.
- Keep interaction time to when you will be home from work once your routine is back to normal.
- If you are using a dog walker or sitter, get them used to it now whilst you are at home so you can be on hand.
- Always present changes in a positive way using positive reinforcement only.
- Desensitise your dog to signs you may be leaving the house. Open and close doors, pick up keys and handbags, walk around with your coat on and then take it off.
- Think about using plug-in diffusers now to calm any anxieties or worries.
- Build them a den, a place where they can enjoy being alone. Save certain toys or treats for this special place.
- Leave soft music on so the house is not completely silent when you leave. Believe it or not, reggae music is particularly soothing to our dogs.
- Puppies have only ever known life in lockdown so will not be familiar with guests visiting your home. Introduce this gradually.
More importantly, if you have any worries or concerns please do contact your local branch either via our PetsApp or by phone.