When Lockdown ends

We don’t know what changes the near future is going to bring to our lives.

What we can be sure of is that many dogs will find the loss of near constant companionship distressing and it may trigger a range of behaviour problems.

Research quoted by the RSPCA found that 8 out of 10 dogs don’t cope when they are left alone but most don’t show obvious signs such as chewing, barking or toileting.

Coping when left alone doesn’t come naturally to dogs so what can we do to prepare them?

  • begin to leave them alone for short periods of time
  • give them an enjoyable activity to occupy them e.g. stuffed Kong, snuffle mat
  • make sure to return before they have finished their activity or become distressed
  • yo-yo the time, leave them for e.g. 3s, 5s, 2s, 7s, 10s, 4s and so on
  • repeat this as many times in a day as you can manage

Consider what your daily routine is likely to be and begin to alter your dog’s activities to fit. For example, if you are home schooling your children, your dog could learn to be left alone during lessons.

Try to work with your dog so that their confidence increases and NEVER punish them for showing you that they are distressed. It will make matters worse. If you need help and advice please contact me on 0794 1122737 or you may find the links below helpful:

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/behaviour/separationrelatedbehaviour

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/home-alone-separation-anxiety-dogs

https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/behaviour/keeping-your-dog-happy-indoors

Social distancing and your puppy

Reward your puppy for watching the world go by with a a treat or praise.

Since my last blog, the scares about our pets potentially carrying Covid 19 have vastly reduced the opportunities to socialise our puppies with strangers in the traditional way. Many people will not want to interact with a puppy even if we maintain our own social distance. So we have to be a little bit more inventive.

In addition to the suggestions made previously, teach them to sit and wait as people maintain their social distance and pass by. In this way we can teach puppies to sit to greet strangers more easily when restrictions relax. Look for signs that your puppy may be nervous such as, hanging back, lip licking, yawning, scratching. If so move a little further away and sprinkle several, small, very tasty treats on the floor for your puppy to sniff and find.

Whichever technique we use we are teaching puppies that people approaching mean good things are coming from us. As pups mature they naturally become more fearful of new things in their world and we can counteract that by making sure they have lots of positive experiences when they are very young. For ideas of activities to help your puppy, see my previous blog Covid 19 and puppy socialisation.