Whether you’re feeling emotionally or physically ready for it, the fact is that businesses, schools, and public spaces will soon be reopening and pet parents will be back to work. What does this mean for your dog? Big changes in daily routine can be difficult for our best furry friends, especially those who have had so many playmates and family members over the past few weeks.
When we return to work, school, or our previously busy lives, everything changes at home. Mothers and fathers get up earlier, children who were at home during the day are instead at school or out with friends. There is less time to cuddle on the couch, shorter walks in the neighborhood and fewer days of carefree fun with the puppies.
Dogs can really struggle with drastic changes in routine, especially when those changes mean they suddenly spend a lot more time at home alone. Not surprisingly, many pet parents will see changes in their dogs’ behavior when the country reopens and their human families return to work. The most common behavior changes include chewing furniture, urinating or eliminating around the house, trying to escape, barking excessively, and showing signs of restlessness and / or anxiety.
The vast majority of these behavioral changes can be attributed to the change in their daily routines – the sudden changes in schedule, the drastic reduction in both mental and physical activity, and a lack of stimulation that they had become accustomed to while staying – orders too Home and citywide locks.
The good news is that with a little patience, understanding, and a little effort, you can help your four-legged family members adapt quickly and avoid the behavioral blues!
• In the days and weeks leading up to the upcoming changes, start adjusting your schedule slowly so that there are no sudden, drastic changes. If your new schedule means your dog needs to be fed, walked, and potty at different times of the day than usual, adjust his schedule gradually instead of just getting him on his feet one day.
If your dog is going to be spending much more time alone after you return to work, consider leaving him alone for longer and longer periods of time in the coming days and weeks. A slow transition will be a lot less stressful for both you and your dog.
• To make your dog more relaxed during the day while you and the children are away from home, exercise them in the morning before the day starts. Even a brisk walk of 15-20 minutes or active playtime in the backyard helps to use up some of the energy that could make him restless during the day.
• If your dog has special nutritional needs or needs frequent feeding throughout the day, an automatic feeder can help ensure he is fed when he needs it.
• If you are certain that your yard is 100% safe from both an escaped artist pooch and intruders, an automatic dog door can be a lifesaver for dogs who cannot “hold” them all day.
Remember, the goal is to prepare your dog for the best chance of success, not to test whether or not he will fail. To make sure your dog is relaxed, comfortable, and happy when he’s home alone, make sure he has access to favorite toys and a comfortable place to nap.
A popular trick among pet parents who have to leave their dogs alone for part of the day is to stuff a Kong toy with peanut butter (to make it even more special, mix in a scoop of SuperGravy!) And offer it to your dog shortly before departure. This irresistible treat will keep the dog busy the first few moments when the fear of being left alone is worst. Just be sure that any toys or treats you leave behind can be played or consumed unsupervised.
• Instead of leaving your dog, who is used to the hustle and bustle of a family home, all alone in a quiet house, turn on the TV or play the radio softly before heading out. Consider watching a DVD specially made for dogs that will keep you entertained or relaxing while you are away.
Also, keep in mind that even though you’ve been at work all day, your dog has been eagerly awaiting your return – don’t forget to return to exercise and play with him as soon as you get home, no matter how tired or tired just maybe you are not in the mood. (A nice walk around the neighborhood is a great way to relax after a long day at the office!)
If all else fails, consider sending your dog to school too! Enroll your furry, four-legged student in a dog daycare or hire a dog sitter, walker, or trainer to drop by during the day and visit her while you are away.