We are all looking forward to the day we can return to some semblance of normalcy after this pandemic. There have been a lot of adjustments over the past year not only for us, but our pets as well. While we are looking forward to resuming our normal day-to-day routines, our dogs may be less than enthusiastic. With working and schooling being mostly done from home, our dogs have gotten used to us being there the vast majority of the time. So now that businesses and schools are opening back up and we able to go more places, we may overlook how this will impact our dogs. To make the adjustment easier on them, preparing your dog now for your post pandemic routine will help make for a smoother transition.
So where do we start with helping them adjust to a post pandemic routine? For our young dogs and puppies, this pandemic routine is all they know. They have never had a “normal routine”. The key is to take gradual steps with them and be patient. For you, a workday may feel long but for them it may as well be forever if not adjusted properly. Do not start by leaving them alone for eight hours straight. This may lead them to develop certain undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing on inappropriate items or relieving themselves inside the house. Start by crating them for 2-3 hours a day while you are home. Crates are a great way to prevent your dog from getting into something they shouldn’t and help keep them calm. Get them used to small periods of time in the crate and work your way up. Knowing you are close by in the beginning can help alleviate separation anxiety. You should make the crate enjoyable, not a punishment. You can have long lasting chews such as Nylabones or Kongs to help make it a fun place. Do not put anything in the crate that can be pulled apart such as stuffed animals or rope toys. Then, progress to 2-3 hours in the crate while you are not at home. By slowly increasing the time away from you, this will help make your new routine not as drastic for them. It may take several weeks for them to acclimate so do not feel like you are in a rush. When you feel like they are ready to be out of the crate while you are away, go back to being gone for only a few hours and see how they respond. If they are being destructive or are getting into things that they shouldn’t, go back to crating. This means they are not ready for that step yet.
Again, there is no rush. Having a dog walker come during the day can also help with this adjustment. Exercise and a chance to relieve themselves helps break up the time that they are alone. This is a great option for young puppies that still need to be let out more frequently or for people that work long hours. Whatever your new routine is, stick with it. Consistency and having your dog on a schedule are crucial for success. Need help getting your dog on their new routine? Contact us today to learn more tips on how to get your dog post pandemic ready!