HOW TO HELP A STRESSED & ANXIOUS DOG DURING COVID 19 LOCK DOWN & BEYOND!

For several weeks now, we have all had changes to our routines and people are at home more of the time. With the changes to our routines, unavoidably, so come changes in our dog's routines and this can cause them real stress and anxieties.

 

There are various changes which can affect our dogs including:

  • More people at home more of the time when the dog is used to being left alone for several hours

  • A lot more noise in the home when it is usually quieter

  • Changes to our dog's feeding and walking routines

  • A reduction in our dog's exercise – especially not being off lead, running free and perhaps playing with other dogs

  • Household members interacting more than usual with the dog and perhaps interacting differently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many signs that a dog may be feeling stressed and anxious including:

  • vocalising more than normal e.g. barking, whining, howling

  • Appearing shy and not wanting to interact as they normally would

  • Generally less active and disinterested in walks or playing

  • hiding away

  • signs of aggression towards family members

  • changes in sleeping patterns

  • changes in appetite, reduced appetite, tummy upsets

 

 

Begin with adopting a DAILY ROUTINE. Try to keep feeding times and exercise times the same/similar every day. Factor in specific PLAY DATES with your dog where you interact and play with him/her with toys at regular times during the day. Playing with your dog is an incredibly important part of dog ownership as it builds a bond between you and the dog, it builds the dogs confidence in you and helps your dog become more responsive to you.

 

It will reduce the dog's stress and anxiety if everyone behaves in a similar fashion towards the dog – so the word here is CONSISTENCY. For example it is not helpful to the dog if one person allows the dog up on the bed or the furniture and another person does not permit this behaviour. This is a sure fire way to increase stress and anxiety in a dog.

 

QUIET TIME – a lot of our dogs will have been used to having the house to themselves for a period of time each day Mon- Fri. Now suddenly they do not have this quiet time. Our dogs are likely being bombarded with extra attention and fuss. This will also be a source of stress to them as they may feel they have to respond and are not so able to relax , settle and go for a sleep. Dogs, like us, require a decent amount of good quality sleep in every 24 hour period. Deprived of that, again just like us, a dog can become irritable and also stressed and anxious. It can make it even more of a challenge to cope with all the changes currently going on in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we are all at home so much just now and therefore our dogs have wall to wall company, we should give more than a thought to the potential of SEPARATION ISSUES. Even if your dog has never suffered from a separation related issue, there could well be an issue when you begin to try and leave your dog alone again in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like further help with your dog's behaviour or training, or you have a puppy and are concerned about the lack of socialisation it has had because of the Coronavirus lock down, then please do not hesitate to get in touch through my contact page on my web site www.k9intuition.works or telephone 07554421427. Online consultations and 1-2-1 sessions now available.

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. They like predictability. When things happen that a dog is not expecting, it can lead to him being stressed and anxious and to behave differently to usual.

We all want to help our dogs stay as stress and anxiety free as possible, especially during Covid 19 lockdown, so here is a brief list of some of the things which you can do to help your dog:

Make sure that your dog has an area that they like going to in the house and that they are able to access it whenever they feel they want to – a SAFE AREA, where they can take themselves off to and reliably know that they will get peace to relax and sleep. Everyone in the home should be encouraged to leave the dog alone when he/she is in their safe area. Make sure that this safe area is comfy and cozy, with perhaps a favourite blanket and toy in it.

Everyone in the house should make themselves aware of the dogs BODY LANGUAGE and facial expressions. Dogs are very good at signalling to us with their bodies and faces when they have had enough and want either to be left alone or for you to stop what you are doing. Just a signal as simple as the dog turning his/her head and face away from you can mean that he/she is not fully comfortable with what you are doing at that point.

We need to build in 'home alone' times for our dogs right now. Not wait until we are forced to leave them when we return to some sort of normality, once the lock down begins to ease. You can practice leaving your dog alone for small periods of time (e.g. in a different room to you, or you in the garden and the dog in the house) rather than them having forced, lengthy periods alone. If you have a car, take a cup of tea or coffee and a book or the paper and simply sit in the car and enjoy your cuppy and a wee read for half and hour while the dog is resting quietly in the house, alone.

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