Post-lockdown life for dogs

Kat, a veterinary nurse and qualified dog trainer provides useful advice for owners on post-lockdown life for dogs.

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It’s great news for us all that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease. However, this may not be the case for some dogs, especially if you’ve acquired a furry friend during the beginning of lockdown. For them, all they have known is a limited number of people who have been able to have close contact with them. Their walks have been quiet, with limited noise, people and traffic. They haven’t experienced new places, different areas and new smells. With changes becoming more apparent, what will post-lockdown life for dog’s entail? After all, it’s been an unusual year or so.

Below are several tips to help your companion adjust to life post-lockdown.

New situations

Too many challenges will overwhelm them and can cause nervous behaviour which could develop into a fear phobia. It’s therefore a good idea to gradually introduce your dog to new situations.

To prevent a fear phobia occurring, slowly build up new experiences by providing lots of praise and rewards. Linking new exposures to positive training methods will enhance your dog’s ability to cope.

For example, instead of inviting friends into your house where your dog is not used to having strangers, you could arrange to meet up with friends and go for a dog walk which exposes your dog to new people paired with fun distractions.

Out and about

Take a trip to an outdoor shopping centre where you and your dog can sit and watch the world go by. Take treats with you to reward calm behaviours in a busy environment. Staying too long may overwhelm your dog so it’s a good idea to keep visits short but often until they get used to different environments.

Slow and steady changes

Have you been working from home during the pandemic? Slow changes to your routine will help your dog to adjust to their new way of life. Dogs often find it difficult to be left on their own as they’re very sociable, hence why they make great additions to the family. It’s a good idea to prepare them to cope without you at home. Start by leaving your dogs when they are sleeping, eating or playing – Try closing the door behind you and sitting in another room.

Keeping your dog company

If you haven’t had time to get your dog used to being left alone, or you’ve recognised that your dog is not coping well, don’t ignore the situation. Act quickly to prevent it from getting any worse. While you go out, ask family or friends to sit with your dog or arrange for a dog walker to walk your dog when you go back to work. This will limit the time your dog is left on their own. If you are going to be away for a long period of time possibly look into a doggy day-care facility.

Training

Training classes can help you to deal with the adolescent teenage years of your dogs’ life. It is part of their normal development however, it can sometimes be a difficult time for dog owners as their beloved friend seems to have forgotten lots of what they were taught. A little help from a dog trainer can really help get your dog get back on track.

At Scarsdale Vets, we offer a 4-week puppy training course. It’s designed to help with a range of puppy challenges such as toilet training, socialisation, play biting and chewing plus much more. For further information or to book, please call our Park Farm practice on 01332 554422.

The last year has been challenging for us all. Let’s make sure your four-legged friend can cope with post-lockdown life.

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