Covid is a life changing experience for humans and pets. One of the positives is the increase in pet rescues and adoptions. For dogs, this has opened up all types of GOOD opportunities. For me, it started my dog treat business. I get to spend my days with Fergus and Brodie, the quality control department, who provide unconditional love.
As we begin to consider our re-entry into the world, WHAT WILL CHANGE FOR OUR PETS?
In Covid the simple act of taking our pet to the vet is experienced through a telephone. We order pet goods online and get them delivered. We eat in with our pets. Life and the way we do things has shifted to include them. Our pets have had our undivided attention and presence for the last year and having us at a moment’s notice can make for a dependent dog.
When you return to your work, your dog is going to be alone for hours at a time. A bored and lonely dog is a naughty dog. You don't want to come home to a shredded sofa, which is just one example of their stress and anxiety. Other signs of separation anxiety can be excessive barking, destructive and aggressive behavior or scratching on doors and windows. If you are a dog owner like me, your dog's anxiety becomes your anxiety.
So what do you do? Set a schedule, have a regular routine and be consistent. Dogs feel safe in their familiar routines. Socializing is extremely important. Expose them to different environments such as new sights, sounds and smells and it will provide your dog with the mental stimulation they crave. Create a scavenger hunt with treats or toys in the house or yard. A mentally engaged brain is one that is content and fatigued.
How can we make our dogs happy in our absence? Start leaving the house without your dog for short periods of time. Extend your return time a little bit each day, so that your dog settles into the comfort of you leaving, knowing you will return. I have had amazing success with long walks and playing fetch before I am gone for extended periods. Leave an interactive toy or puzzle that will keep them busy for hours. ( I love the JW Pet Hol-e that lets you hide treats inside and the Furbo dog camera that dispenses treats) If you are struggling with achieving good results, perhaps a dog walker, doggy day care or dog training would be beneficial.
Every dog is going to react differently to their owner's sudden disappearance. Make the most of your time together and help your dog release its pent-up energy. By playing with your dog a few times a day, you can decrease the likelihood of them developing negative behaviors.
At the end of the day a tired dog is a happy dog!