By Katy Cable-The Weekly Runt
A 3 min. Read
August is typically: “The most wonderful time of the year!” -BACK TO SCHOOL! After months of crowds invading my neighborhood bars, stores, restaurants and beaches, I’m always excited to have them all to myself again. This year, with CoVid, things are very different. Nearly every school around the country is either utilizing a partially or entirely online schedule. Many jobs are also being done from home or have been completely eliminated. The summer crowds may be here to stay for awhile. But for some of us, myself included, after months of being home, we’re heading back out the door to work.
A new routine can be extremely traumatizing to any pet. Especially a new rescue or shelter dog that has grown accustomed to having you home all the time. Even pets you’ve had for years may not take too well to you suddenly leaving all the time for work. Just this week, I realized how codependent my little Pug Olive had gotten. I made a quick trip to the grocery store while my husband was also out at an appointment. I returned home 2 hours later to a frantic, howling Pug who had torn through every trash can in the house and chewed through her bed! Whether you’re returning to work or school, or there’s a change in your routine, the following tips should be a big help in getting your pup adjusted.
1. EASE YOUR PET INTO THE NEW SCHEDULE BY STARTING WITH SHORT TRIPS AWAY FROM HOME. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re away. Your pet will learn that you leave but you always return.
2. CREATE A SPECIAL AREA FOR THEM THAT CAN ONLY BE UTILIZED WHEN THEY’RE LEFT HOME ALONE. I bring out a crate and put it in the bedroom that I leave my dog in when I’m away. I leave the door of the crate wide open and inside, I place a special pillow with my scent. I add a few drops of lavender essential oil and a special toy. Before I leave, I put on some soothing meditation music and my dog knows it’s ZEN time.
3. SET ASIDE SPECIAL TREATS & TOYS. My Pug Olive is OBSESSED with a little duck that makes real-life quacking sounds. I also have a little stuffed bear that is filled with lavender essence and pheromone which keeps her calm. Just prior to leaving, I open up her “special space” and give her a bully stick or extra-special treat. Pick out some favorite goodies that require lots of chewing. Gnawing on a Kong or bone does wonders for relieving stress. Find some interactive toys so your pet won’t get bored. Treat release balls and games are great.
4. GET IN SOME EXERCISE BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you can get your dog out for an extra long walk, hike or run, you’ll have a worn out, content dog while you’re away. A bored dog is a problem dog. Exercise will also help with their anxiety. You can also throw a Frisbee or play some catch. Anything to get the heart pumping and have some fun prior to leaving. This will also be great for your own stress levels.
5. GIVE YOUR DOG CBD WHILE THEY’RE ADJUSTING. The first week or two will be much less stressful if you can calm your dog down with some CBD. This will keep them balanced and relaxed. Many brands offer CBD treats that are perfect! If you need ideas, check my website for specials on CBD I personally use.
If you have to be out more than 4–6 hours, I highly recommend having someone come in after a few hours to give your dog a walk and potty break. Holding their bladder for hours on end can be very dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable. Plus, dogs are social creatures that thrive on human companionship. Right now, loads of people are out of work and would probably welcome a little extra cash to give your dog some love and attention.
Another idea is a play-date or doggie daycare a few times a week so your pup can have some social interaction.
During the pandemic, many people rescued new pets that may have gotten a RUFF start. If this adjustment is not going well, ask your vet to recommend a positive reinforcement trainer to help your dog overcome more deep-seated issues.
While many of us will have the luxury of more time at home even after the pandemic, getting your dog used to being alone is extremely important. By addressing separation anxiety issues in a fun, timely manner, most can be corrected and not turn into bad habits. Remember:
A GREAT DOG IS MADE NOT BORN!
Here’s wishing you health and safety as things open up and we begin heading out of our homes.
-Pugs and Kisses???