Some of us are headed into week three of quarantine here in the US. That’s three weeks of uncertainty, figuring out this “new normal” routine. On top of “stay at home” orders, many of you are now working from home, homeschooling your kids, and trying to keep up with the basic needs of your household.
We applaud all that you are doing! Seriously, give yourself a high five, and take a deep breath! We would offer you a hug, but you know, “social distancing” and all that.
Our trainers love to hear from our past clients no matter what. As all of this mess has unfolded, we are getting texts asking how to help with new annoying dog behaviors that have not come up before. I want to take a minute to make sure your dog is coping as well as they can with the new routine and chaos in your home.
“My dog is fine”
Before you say “Nope, my dog is loving having everyone home and they are fine,” take a quick step back. One of my really good friends is a Vet Tech at the emergency clinic, and she said all she is seeing right now are dog fights. Shes stitched up more dogs in the last week that shes seen in a year. We’ve had reports from clients about dog bites, and numerous other concerns from people who now WFH. (work from home for those who are not up on the lingo)
Let’s assume your dog is not “fine.” From your dog’s perspective, his normal 16 hours of sleep has now been reduced to 7, maybe 8 if you and the kiddos are still on a routine. Dogs need 16 to 20 hours of sleep depending on their age. Lack of sleep is the number one symptom we see when we are helping our clients work through behavior issues. If you suddenly have kids, and people in your house 24 hours of the day, your dog’s normal rest periods have been greatly disturbed.
What do you need to do?
Here are a few of the guidelines that we seem to be recommending to all of our clients during this time of uncertainty. No training plan involved, we promise! You have enough on your plate!
- Stick to a routine – This is a good one for people too! Try to stick to your usual work routine. If you are usually out of the house by 9, then be ready to sit down to work by 9, with your dog in his crate or a gated room by himself with a stuffed Kong. Help promote those uusual sleep times for him by not giving him an option to follow you around the house.
- Walks in nature, not neighborhoods – Decompression Walks are on the list of “social distancing” approved activities. Take a drive to an empty field, and let your dog lead you around for awhile. Better yet, go into the woods for a few hours of fun in the sun and let you pup sniff some new smells!
- Enrichment – We just finished a whole month of enrichment ideas on our Facebook page, and we had no idea how important these posts would become. Most of the ideas are something the kids can help you with, and are short activities to make sure your pup is coping appropriately. For more information on enrichment, take a look at our e-book here.
If you think you might have an issue brewing:
Let us know! We are happy to help you walk through this weird time. We even developed a special program just for these unique challenges that will arise. Our Quarantine Questions program contains 2 virtual lessons with one of our trainers to help you through any of the challenges that might have come up recently. Virtual sessions allow our trainers to answer all your questions, and see your challenges without the worry of virus spread. Joining a virtual appointment is as easy as opening an email!
Stay Safe out there! Hopefully we will have our “normal” back soon!