Top tips for easing your dog out of lockdown
Top tips to ease your dog out of lockdown
Set up a new routine
- During lockdown many households had their usual routines completely changed. Changing the routine can be difficult for a dog who has no idea why this has happened or why it may go back to the way it was before. This can include how you start each day, times you feed your and walk your dog, how often they are left alone, the time they would usually sleep or get up etc. Start putting those little habits back into your everyday life to ease your dog into their new normal.
- Dogs are experts at picking up subtle cues, they know you’re leaving the house before you actually do and this can result in built up anticipation. Help reduce the anticipation associated with certain triggers to reduce your dog’s anticipation of leaving. Easy ways to do this would be picking up your car key and putting then down again, put your work clothes on for a bit, pretend you are going to work, follow the routine you previously would have and then don’t go to work.
Allow for alone time
- Many dogs love company and will have enjoyed having a house full of people over lockdown, a sudden change may cause them to be anxious about being alone again. Try to ensure your dog has time alone through the day, to ensure they are getting proper rest and to become accustomed to being alone again. Start with small amounts of time and build this up again, making sure your dog has had their exercise and mental needs met.
Ensure they have outlets for their behaviour
- Some behaviours are considered inappropriate and can be a result of sudden change. Providing multiple options for your dog to perform appropriate behaviours is a great way to set them up for success. A combination of ensuring your dog has been exercised, to utilise some of their energy, with meeting their mental needs by providing mental stimulation will help your dog settle into post-lockdown. Great options are outlets that allow dogs to express their natural behaviours such as scent activities, suitable chews, suitable food enrichment or toys etc.
Making events a non-event
- Throughout the day many things happen which humans consider to be part of the course. However, for a dog these events can be very exciting, such as their owner coming home or going out to play. Staying calm while these events are happening and rewarding your dog for not reacting will help lessen their effect. Make the “events” non-events, reducing your dog’s overall reaction to novelty and helping them learn there is value in being calm and okay with change.
- Current circumstances are ever changing and complex, it’s hard for many people to keep up with events, it’s even harder for your pet. Be patient, have fun and keep enjoying the time you have. Behaviour changes take time so take your time and enjoy training.