Getting back to normal!
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Life has been so weird lately hasn’t it? I am not sure I have ever been as nosey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I have been over the past 3 months, reading so much stuff that different businesses and people post. ( I am a total social media lurker now) I also doubt I have ever known the name of the countries chief medical officer before now let alone the all the government ministers, the TV news stations have become my best pals and my worst enemies depending on what they are saying any given day!
While I expect I am not alone in this, (hopefully) and I do find the loss of my normal routine hard, my dogs are loving it all, Since March 19th they have had mine and my other halfs full attention. They are having fantastic walks, possible more enrichment then they have ever had and cuddles on demand.
But what will this mean to them when life starts to return to normal for us human folk? As a business Positive Dog Training is planning to reopen on June 8th for grooming, and daycare on June 9th. What will the dogs think when we are not here with then at home 24/7?
Now is the time to change things up at home. Let’s not all wait until we have a problem with separation distress to deal with when we return to work, put the groundwork in now to build your dogs confidence that they are fine to be on their own.
Routine – Dogs love routine. Have a think about what your normal workday routine is and lets start working towards this. Does your alarm normally go off at 6.30am so you can walk your dog before you go to work? If so, this is a great place to start. Your dogs daily walks are so important. I know that most of our clients do 2 x 40 – 60 minutes sessions, one in the morning and on in the evening so this is something you can get back straight away.Another fundamental part of your dogs routine is when they get their grub! In my house the first meal of the day, usually given before I go to work, is a frozen Kong. I find this keeps them busy for an hour or 2 so I have started this again. Their evening meal is usually a bowl meal. This is something that has changed over the last 3 months due to a lot more enrichments ideas being used while we have been on lockdown, now we started this week getting back to normal with food times and methods.
Velcro dogs- have you found it hard to get things done over the last few months? From online client meetings to preparing your lunch, has your furry pal been at your feet waiting for attention (and treats). I must admit that this is something I have had an issue with, trying to take a phone call was never so eventful before having a 11-month-old Border Collie pup looking to join in. First things first, what is the dogs getting from doing this behaviour? For my gang, I had gotten in the habit of giving them a treat to get them to go away and let me get on with whatever I was up to. What did that mean to them? Be a pain when she is on the phone/computer and we get the good stuff!
So what have I done to stop this in the last few weeks – If I know I am going to be sitting at the computer like now for a while, I schedule this for after our daily walks, I pop them into another room with a long lasting treat or a toy that I know they love, This has a two fold benefit for me, I get to get on with my work and I am also building up the time that we are spending apart so its not an issue when I am not here and gone back to work.
Confidence Building – anyone that had attended a class at Positive Dog Training knows that we have always put a huge emphasis on building up your dogs confidence, really important when you have a young pup, but also a really important with older dogs. Confidence building is not just about socialisation to other dogs, people with beards and prams but also letting your dog/puppy know that they can cope for periods of time being left on their own.
Set your dog and your family up for success. Be realistic, if you got a new puppy/dog during the COVID pandemic, and your whole family have been at home for the last 3 months having great fun, your dog is going to wonder where you all are when life gets back to normal. If will be natural for them to worry and possibly get distressed when you are gone. START SLOWLY.
Get your routine sorted first, then set aside a few minutes every day when your dog is alone in the house. Build this up gradually. When you are leaving the house, do this without fanfare, shouting goodbye “fluffy, I will miss you” is not helping your dog but letting then know that you are on your way out the door!.
Encourage your dog to spend time alone when you are at home. Get a yummy stuffed KONG or some other dog puzzles and encourage them to use them in a separate room to your while you are making dinner etc. This toy becomes a treat that is only given to them while you are not there so make this extra tasty.
These are just a few tips to get you started on getting your dogs day to day life back on track, if you do feel you need some more help get in touch with our training team on firstname.lastname@example.org
To all our clients, we miss you all and your dogs. Its been such a strange time not seeing you! This will pass, we will get back to normal, if you need a friendly ear or some advise do get in touch.
See you all soon,
Liz Mc DonaghPositive Dog Training