Right now, things may seem overwhelming and unpredictable. Most of us are working from home, or not working at all. Our routines have changed, we may be feeling stressed, bored and not in control of our lives.
However, there is a subset of our population that is loving the pandemic, our dogs, aka our best friends! Instead of the usual home-alone-all-day scenario, they’re spending more time with us than ever before. They’re getting additional walks, more playtime and endless attention. For our dogs, there’s nothing better! Until, we return to work.
Life will eventually return to “normal” – whatever that may be. And, when we return to work our dogs will, once again, be home alone for a good portion of the day. This might be a hard adjustment for some dogs, and we may start to see some separation anxiety related issues.
So, what can we do to prepare our dogs for the when the lockdown ends?
Develop (or return to) a routine – one that will be similar to when you return to work. Meals at certain times, walks at certain times, predictable alone times and attention times. Dogs love routine and having a routine they can rely on will help ease the transition back to normal.
Even though we are stuck at home, it’s important that our dogs spend a portion of their day alone. So, we need to leave the house without them for a part of each day. Even if we only go for a walk or to work in the yard. If the weather is nice, take your laptop outside to work. We can make this alone time easier for our dogs if we leave them with a chewy or stuffed Kong.
If you previously left your dog in a designated area in your house when you went to work, now is the time to reintroduce that area. Start with short sessions while your home and work up to longer sessions where you leave. Again, we can make this more pleasant for our dogs by providing a food dispensing toy or chewy.
Start practicing low key greetings when you get home. Our comings and goings should be no big deal to our dogs. So, when you get ready to leave, don’t make a fuss over your dog. Simply gather your stuff and walk out. Same thing goes for when you return. Be calm, put your stuff down and when your dog has settled go ahead and greet them – calmly.
The big takeaway here is that your dog needs to get used to spending time alone again. Its ok to enjoy this extra time with your dog with petting, playing and snuggling. But you should also be spending some of that time working on training and enrichment, so that when life returns to normal our dogs will be prepared.
If you feel you need help preparing your dog for when you return to work, please reach out to us. We can help you!