We’ve been in and out of lockdown since March 2020 and our doggos have been right by our sides the whole time. That said, many dogs will find going back to normal really difficult. Dogs who never suffered from separation anxiety before could struggle with the lack of company.
And if you got a puppy during lockdown, they won’t even know what ‘normal’ looks like.
So, here are 7 things you can do to get your pooch ready for life after lockdown.
How to Prepare Your Pooch For the End of Lockdown
1. Show Them a Little Tough Love
Teach your pooch that although you love them dearly, they can’t have your attention all the time. As horrible as it sounds, practice ignoring them when they’re demanding your attention. Don’t speak or even look at them. They’ll soon learn to settle down.
2. Change Up Your Exit Cues
Dogs learn quickly that as soon as you put your coat on and grab your keys, you’re going to leave them. Practice doing this without actually leaving the house. This will reduce the anxiety they feel when they see you putting your shoes on.
3. Stimulate Them Through Play and Training
Dogs settle better after stimulation so play with them, give them a puzzle to do or teach them something new. This tires them out, both mentally and physically making settling them easier.
4. Teach Them to Settle
Create a quiet space for your dog to settle in. This could be their bed, a crate or a pen. Use a command like ‘Bed’ and teach them to lie down and reward them with a treat when they do.
5. Practice Leaving Them on Their Own
Now is the time to practice leaving your dog on their own. Start with a few minutes and wait in another room, then go outside. Once your pooch gets the hang of it, gradually increase the length of time you leave them for.
6. Give Them Something to Do
Leave them with a chew toy, food puzzle or a frozen kong with peanut butter and banana. This will keep them occupied until you return.
7. Change Up Their Routine
Many behaviourists agree that dogs who don’t have predictable routines often cope better when situations change. Try mixing up your dog’s routine to help them cope when you go back to work.
To Sum Up
The sooner you begin preparations for returning back to normal, the better your pooch will cope when the time comes.
Like all kinds of dog training, consistency is key and it should be to with care and kindness. It’ll take some dogs longer to adjust than others. So start now and by the time restrictions are lifted, you and your dog will hopefully adjust to your new normal.
If you need help with training, contact a local, qualified behaviourist.