Lock-down and the Impact on our Dogs

The last five months of this year have been very different for most of us and have impacted all of us in many different ways. For some, however life has continued as normal.

What about our dogs?

Have you been at home more than normal, have you been out more due to working longer hours if you are a key worker. Is someone else having to look after your dog because of this.

The stress that we experience can be passed to our dogs especially if they tend to be sensitive.

If you have been working from home or furloughed and this means you are with your dog(s) all the time, this can have a huge impact on them. Separation anxiety is a difficult It doesn’t just affect young puppies it can affect dogs of any age.

Dog’s are creatures of habit and they get used to a routine.

I hadn’t been out anywhere for 5 weeks during the day and in the evenings he accompanied me to help with my virtual training classes. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I hadn’t left the dogs on their own like they normally would be.

I’m not normally out for long but normally I would take my daughter to nursery, run errands, undertake 1-2-1 training, meet with friends and my dogs have always been happy and settled at home. It was normal.

The normal that they knew has now changed. I am home all day and for sometime I was also home most evening, so my dogs had very limited time away from me. 

I started to notice a change in my dog Bumble. He stayed close to me from time to time and had started barking at the odd time when he was away from me. This would previouneversly have  been a problem.

It could have been when I was working with Phoenix or playing with Paige, my daughter. I sometimes think that he suffers from fear of missing out, but I do believe that this was leading to separation anxiety.

I have started to make an effort to regularly leave the dogs inside when Paige and I go outside. We will go for short walks without them and I have taken one dog out and left one at home to try and help them adjust to being left on their own again so when life eventually returns to normal it wont be such a shock to them and they will adjust naturally.

Every day make an effort to leave your puppy or dog.

1. Leave them when they are eating their meal. Initially for 3 seconds then increase the time. I only mean going out of the room they are in.

Don’t make a big deal about you leaving or when you return.

2. Throughout the day, go into a different room from your dog, Leave them with something to lick – a licki mat or a filled frozen kong or a safe chew. If you need to, put them in their crate.

3. Go outside and leave your dog in the house where they can’t see you. Just sit quietly outside so they can’t hear you. Again leave them with something to do – a licki mat or a filled frozen kong or a safe chew. If you need to, put them in their crate.

4. Increase the time that you leave them gradually.

5.If you are going out to run errands leave your dog at home.

If you haven’t left them at all during Lockdown you will need to take things slowly and start with a very short amount of time – seconds then build up to minutes and gradually longer.

Your dog(s) will need time to adjust back to normal routine.

Take things slow. Life hasn’t been normal and it is unlikely to return to normal for sometime.

Have fun with your dogs teach them something new.

Be kind to yourself. It has taken time for all of us to adapt and accept what is happening.