Training your dog for post-pandemic life can be difficult because we all know that they are creatures of routine. During the pandemic life, they may have gotten used to spending lots of time with their owners. However, as COVID vaccinations increase and the official numbers start to go down, your dog will have to start preparing to spend some time alone at home while you go back to work.
Even though dogs will be sad when their owners go from spending all day with them to spending just a few hours at home, they are resilient creatures. With a little bit of training, they should be able to adapt to post-pandemic life. Whether you are worried about how your puppy will deal with guests after not having any stranger in the house for months or what it will do when you go to work, this article will help you quell your anxiety.
1. Start By Preparing Your Dog from Now
You might think that once you go to work for a couple of days, your dog will understand what’s happening, and it will be easier to prep them. Do not make that mistake. Before your dog goes back to spending time alone, it needs to build up its confidence.
The key to training your dog for post-pandemic life is to push them to be successful while avoiding failure till later on in the learning process. Start by encouraging your dog to be alone for 30 seconds and then go up to two or three hours in one go. Remain patient as you don’t want to rush the process and trigger a bad reaction from your dog.
New routines should always be introduced slowly and gradually. Think about what your usual workday would look like in a post-pandemic world and start by waking up, feeding, and walking your dog according to it. Then, introduce a consistent schedule where you leave your dog alone and lock yourself up in another room so that your dog becomes used to the routine. Initially, you want to start with short departures every day and then slowly leave your dog alone for long periods of time.
2. Make Sure Your Dog is Active When You are Home
If you want to prevent bad behavior, you need to ensure that before you leave, your dog has had lots of stimulation and exercise.
By burning off the extra energy, your dog will be more relaxed and is likely to follow orders without giving you a hard time.
3. Give Your Dog a Job Before You Leave
If you leave your dog alone without an aim, it will find ways to entertain itself. Let’s admit it; you may not be a fan of this, especially if you come home to your entire shoe closet overturned, with each shoe chewed on. To prevent this, all you need to do is give your dog something to keep them busy till you come back home.
By giving your dog a task to complete when you leave, you are encouraging them to focus on it till you come back home. Use the “place” command so that your dog stays in the same spot for an extended period of time. You can also invest in some mentally stimulating puzzles, toys, or snuffle mats. These will work as the dog’s home-alone toys, so you want to have to worry about them when you leave for work.
4. Don’t Make a Big Deal when Leaving the House
Dogs are extremely intelligent creatures. They can pick up cues and emotions from their pet parents. This means that if you seem stressed about leaving or make a big deal out of it, your dog will figure it out and will become upset or triggered.
Hence, when you leave the house, it is best to keep things casual. Give your dog a treat each time you leave the house so that your dog associates leaving with something positive and does not become sad.
5. Look Out for Signs of Distress
When dogs become stressed out, they will express their anxiety in many different ways. This could be in the form of constantly whining or peeing around the house. They may also destroy furniture, chew on shoes, bark at strangers, aggressively chase squirrels, and turn to self-harm.
If you find that you are coming home to some sort of destruction every single day, it is because your dog is anxious and terrified and hates the idea of you leaving the house for extended periods of time. This is a sign that you need to train your dog for post-pandemic life before it does something stupid.
6. Do Not Leave Your Dog Alone for Too Long
Have you noticed how your dog will act like an angel when you are around, only to become extremely destructive when you leave the house for too long? That is because dogs should not be left alone for long periods of time. If you have some work planned ahead, it is best to drop your dog off at a daycare for doggies or get a pet sitter so that your dog does not get bored and does not spend too much time missing you.
After all, leaving your dog alone for 12-hours is not only unfair, but it is also cruel. Dogs are energetic animals that need to spend time outdoors, interact with other dogs and people, take part in games, practice listening to their owners, and simply spend time with someone who loves and cares for them. That does not mean that you need to spend the entire day with them, but coming home during your lunch break or spending 30 minutes with them after school can make a huge difference to their lifestyle.