Author: John Woods
How hard the pandemic has been on humans is nothing short of an exaggerated nightmare. From online college classes, schooling to work, we all had to be at home for most of the year. While this has been a rough phase for us, the pet dogs have enjoyed all this affection. They loved their favorite humans hanging around with them all day.
They enjoyed all the attention they got from their humans. But, the worst part is just about to begin for your furry four-legged friend. Stay-at-home orders are lifting and you will be going back to work, school, or college. Thus, you need to start preparing your dog to adjust to the new normal.
1) Understanding Your Furry Friend
Let’s face it, your dog will be going through loneliness and separation anxiety. It is going to make your dog feel afraid, anxious, lonely, and worried. They might even go through some sort of destructive behavior or stay quiet for a longer time. Even if your dog has never been anxious, they may go through this change and behave anxiously.
You can start by showing what your dog must expect of you. If you say that you will be working at the office and not at home, they won’t understand you. You can start making them understand the same thing by your actions and not words. You will need to show them how the ‘new normal’ will be like for them.
2) Keep Your Morning Ritual As It Is
Not Much will change in your usual morning routine, other than waking up early. Wake up to your alarm, start getting ready such as eating your breakfast, drinking coffee, and feeding your dog. Do this daily. Your dog will thus notice the change and expect a change in your routine.
3) Fake Driving To Or Leaving for Work
This is for the ones who do not have to go to work yet. This can be a part of easing your dog into the situation. You can pretend to drive to work. Make sure your dog notices you taking the keys, leaving your apartment/house, and getting into the car. Drive around your neighborhood. If you do not have a car, just leave your apartment and walk around for some time.
It doesn’t have to be for long, it can be for 20 mins or one hour. Just Make sure your dog understands you will leave but come back as well.
4) Regular and Semi-Punctual Walking Schedule
You will need to walk your dog every day, even when you start going to work or school/college. This is when you will need to fix a proper walking routine for your dog. Fix the time when you will be walking your dog. Will it be before you leave for work or after you come back from it? Choose a schedule and start implementing it right away.
Even if you haven’t started going to work just yet, it is better to make your dog go on walks according to your upcoming schedule.
5) Stop Tagging Your Dog Along with You
Your dog has been your constant companion even when you were completely isolated. You have tagged him/her along everywhere you went, even if it’s just in the house. Your dog must have enjoyed car rides, going grocery shopping, and whatnot. But, it is time to put a stop to this habit.
To get accustomed to normalcy, ensure that you are not tagging them along everywhere you go. If you are going somewhere, leave them at your house and get them comfortable in their beds, if necessary. Make them understand that they will be returning to their previous routine soon.
6) Prepare Safe Items
As said earlier your dog is bound to get worried and feel unsafe. To help with this you can start with preparing some safe items. You can leave behind items that smell as you do around. Dogs love the smell of their humans, leaving such items around will make them feel safe and secure.
You can try unwashed clothes, blankets, sheets, or pillows that you have used for a long time. You can stuff their soft toys with your unwashed clothes.
7) Get Them Some New Toys
It’s true that if you succeed in keeping your dogs engaged they will miss you less. You can get them some new toys. This will keep them engaged while you are gone. Like many other activities listed here, you can start with this one right away. But, make sure you are not introducing all the toys just at once. Introduce them one by one.
You can start with stocking up squeaky toys, stuffed toys, or animal dogs. This will also ensure that your dog is not getting bored the whole time you are gone.
8) Fix the Feeding Place
You need to fix a proper place to feed your dog. Like any other activities during a lockdown, you must have fed your dog in your presence in the room. You will need to change this habit now. Start giving the food to a different room than you are presently in. The idea is to make your dog eat while being separated from you.
When you start feeding them in a different room they will get the idea that you may not be staying around like the old times.
You must never forget how observant your dog is towards you. You cannot be stressed while you are making your dog go through this process. If you are stressed they might pick up on that and be anxious, you will surely not want that. They will easily be able to cope up with your situation if you play along according to the written ways. Be the support system of your dog during the process like they have been during the lockdown.