Over the past couple of months, we have been spending much more time at home with our dogs. This is not likely to change any time soon. For most dogs, having their families home all of the time is a big change and something that they are definitely not used to. However, throughout the past weeks and over the next few weeks, the chances are that your dog will have slowly got used to you being at home and never having any time on their own.
When lockdown eventually ends, whenever that may be, because your dog has been used to having you at home, they may suffer with separation anxiety when left home alone. There are some small things you can do from now on, to help your dog ease into ‘normal’ life again.
Leave the house
You should try to leave the house without your pooch as much as possible. We understand that this may not be possible every day, as it would make sense as a dog owner to use your daily exercise allowance to walk your dog. However, even if you go and sit in your garden or car whilst your dog is left in the house, this will help them to remember what it’s like to be left alone.
No sleeping in your bed
We believe dogs shouldn’t be sleeping in humans’ beds at any time, but it is really important that you stay disciplined with this throughout lockdown. Making sure your dog sleeps alone, in its own bed is really important for both you and your dog. If they are with you all day, they (and indeed you) will need their own space at night.
Place in a separate room
If you really can’t leave the house due to self isolation or other health reasons, you should place your dog in a separate room of the house for a few minutes each day. They may pine, bark or scratch to try and be reunited with you, but it is really important that they begin to realise again that spending time on their own is normal, and not scary. It is a really crucial step to leaving them alone after lockdown ends.
Tips for post-lockdown
- Try to build up the time. If you’re working for 8 hours a day, make sure you leave them alone for just a couple of hours to start with and build it up. It may take a couple of weeks, which is why the above steps are crucial.
- Leave a TV or radio on for background noise.
- Keep them entertained with plenty of strong and durable toys.
- Reward them when you return (obviously only if they have been well behaved).
- Leave puppy pads down. Even if your dog is well house-trained, they may have a few accidents if they are expected to hold it for hours on end, when they have recently been used to being let out frequently throughout the day.
- Consider doggy day care – There are thousands of trained dog walkers and day centres that are available for you to leave your dog with while you go to work.