The potential sleeping problem with us all being at home with our dogs.
First and foremost, its important in reading this we all continue to follow the latest government and World Health Organisation advice regarding social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This blog is strictly written from my own viewpoint regarding the welfare of our dogs during this unprecedented time, with a view to trying to helping dog owners during the next weeks/months.
As we enter an unknown period in our country and the world, more and more of us are either working from home, in self isolation or in lockdown unable to do even the most normal things.
Being restricted in movements of course will bring new challenges, and us as humans can adapt and understand the seriousness of the situation and accept limitations knowing its short-term. Our dogs on the other hand, cannot.
On the one hand, most people’s thoughts will be “amazing we can spend all day with our dog!” or “we can go out for lots of walks, spending all this extra time with our best friends is going to be what gets us through. And to a certain point I agree, particularly for the mental wellbeing aspect (look out for an upcoming video on dogs and metal health).
And for the dogs they will be thrilled you are there, giving them fuss, giving them treats and more cuddles than they can handle.
However, ask yourself. When we go back to the new normal, whatever that may be. How will your dog be?
You will have just spent weeks, possibly months being there for them all day. Every day. They will have gotten used to you being around, comforting them, playing with them and engaging with them with almost no breaks.
Expecting them to revert back to whatever was before. They won’t understand.
This has the potential to cause separation anxiety, stress and a complete change in your dog’s personality and behaviour. You will have inadvertently reconditioned them to a world where you are always there and now you are not.
So, here are some tips to get you through, the advice is broad and can be applied to any dog however for new puppy owners there are some additional tips further down:
· Try and keep as many of your old routines with your dog as possible.
· Give your dog space, ensure they have their own area to retreat to.
· Its really important you share the “dog walking” responsibilities around the household and make time to get out on your own without your dog – the pending problem will be if you don’t, your dog will assume they are coming with you every time you leave the house.
· Establish boundaries and don’t relinquish, if you otherwise wouldn’t normally do so.
· Set aside periods during the day to engage with your dog. On your own terms, if they are striving for attention and you give in, you are teaching them that it’s the way to get what they want which in the long run you can’t sustain.
· Introduce new stimulus to entertain your dog. Be creative so they don’t become bored. Imagine if you played the same ball game every day. Over and over. You will get bored and when dogs get bored, they make their own entertainment which is often what we would consider naughty or destructive behaviour.
· Polish up on your training in the garden, this has multiple benefits. You can teach your dog some new tricks. It gets you outdoors. It stimulates your dog’s brain giving mental as well as physical exercise.
· Try and meet other dog owners at least once a week, respect social distancing but your dog needs socialisation – there is a real danger if they don’t see another dog for a long period of time you will have to incredibly hard to re-socialise them to ensure they can mix with others again.
· On your dog walks, use it as time to train / reward your dog. Take their breakfast out with you and use as a reward mechanic when they are listening, behaving and following your commands. Most dogs are far more trainable and impressionable on an empty stomach.
· I encourage you to create train your puppy in a positive way to give them time out away from you. This will enable you to go about you day and not worry about entertaining a puppy. You can condition them quickly and easily to have regular rests and naps.
· Where possible it is vital to try and meet with other dog owners more so than for older dogs. Respect social distancing but give your dog the opportunity to mix with other puppies or dogs. This will not only help their social development but also burn off some of that infinite energy some puppers have.
· Look up training videos and trick videos online as you won’t be able to attend those invaluable early socialisation classes or training.
· Think about what you want from your puppy and establish firm rules early on. For example, If you aren’t going to be happy with them play biting (and you really never should be with humans) then don’t allow it from day 1. Find something they can chew on and positively reinforce.
You are not alone. Far from it, even myself as a doggy day care owner is facing new challenges. My dog is used to being with me, has a clear defined structure, sees and socialises every day with many dogs. Now nothing. He has the comfort of us at home but he will be missing his friends, aunts and uncles from daycare and wont understand why we are just at home.
For any other tips, advice or guidance please drop me a message or comment.
We at Camp Tails are all about the social wellbeing of dogs and providing an enriching, entertaining and stimulating environment where dogs can be dogs.
If you would like to know more about us please visit www.camptailsdoggydaycare.comor find us across social media @camptailsBSE
Love and cuddles.
Camp Tails Doggy Daycare
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