Pandemic Life – then and now
In April 2020, I wrote about living with your dog during COVD-19. (See my BLOG at https://ontariodogtrainer.com/2020/04/03/living-with-your-dog-when-every-day-is-saturday/ )
Who could have imagined at that time that we would be in a ‘stay-at-home’ mode for 16 months?!
Sixteen months is a lifetime to your pet, who now considers your COVID daily routine as their ‘normal’.
Working from home, homeschooling and minimal social interaction have become a lifestyle for many since March 2020. With most of the country in the process of returning to work, ‘life-after-COVID’ is about to look and feel drastically different – especially for your pet.
Whether you are returning to work or planning a long-awaited family vacation, the best time to prepare your pet for post-pandemic life is now.
Top Tips to Prepare Your Dog for Post Pandemic Life:
The Animal Medical Center – Institute for Animal Health https://www.amcny.org/usdaninstitute/ recommends the following tips to make the transition to post-pandemic life as seamless as possible for your pet:
Encourage Independence – Set up a comfortable space where your pet can go for a quiet relaxing time alone. Crates work best for this.
Practice Separation – Leave your dog home alone for short periods at first and gradually increase the time you are away. Start by going out one door and coming in another. Repeat several times per day. Gradually increase the time that you are away. Do your best to leave/enter the house at times that reflect your return-to-work schedule.
Re-think Your Exit Strategy – Give your dog a toy or Kong stuffed with favourite treats as you are leaving. This will create a more positive association with your departure.
Mask Outside Noise – Even if your dog is not normally startled by outside noise, soothing music or a white-noise machine may help to mask or to soften outside noise or inside sounds. If you think of it, turn off the ringer on your landline and disconnect your doorbell.
Reward calm behaviour – and be calm yourself when leaving and returning home. Don’t fuss over your dog when you return. If you are calm, your dog will be calm. As difficult as it will be, you want to convey that it was no big deal that you were away. Give attention only when your dog is calm.
Change of scenery – Hire a trusted dog walker to come for a midday visit to break up the day. Alternatively, enroll your dog in a 5-Star Doggy Daycare. Check out the Daycare before enrolling. If your dog has never been to doggy daycare, check out my BLOG to see if doggy daycare is right for your dog- https://ontariodogtrainer.com/2020/07/14/doggy-daycare-be…times-and-beyond/
Live a life of inclusion – most importantly re-connect with your dog by going for a relaxing walk together before you leave for the day, and as soon as you return from work. Even though you may be tired from your day, walking time is quality time with your dog.
For more tips on living with your dog, check us out on Facebook @karendogtrainer (Ontario Dog Trainer) or visit our website: www.ontariodogtrainer.com