With the spread of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, all of us have been handed an upset to our normal routines. We are either out of work, working from home, or working extra hours on the front lines in healthcare or some other essential business needed to stay open during this crisis. Either way, we are not in this alone. If we have children or pets at home, they feel it too. Only, they are probably going to express their stress and confusion through behavior rather than eloquently voicing their feelings. Here are five ways to help your dog through the lockdown.
Give them space
Typically, your dog is probably used to being left alone for a few hours a day. During these days spent together all day long, it’s important to continue giving your dog a little space where they can relax and feel safe. Leave your pet alone enough to give them the chance to play or rest. Provide them with a safe place to kick back and relax without disrupting their normal schedule any more than it already is tossed about.
Don’t allow them to develop bad habits
Be careful that your dog does not develop some needy, clingy, bad habits that will leave them feeling even more isolated when routines get back to normal. For instance, don’t let them track your steps from room to room, following you all day long or constantly begging for treats. One way to curb this is to go to a room and close the door to send the message that they are not to follow you constantly.
Keep sleep routine
It’s important that you maintain healthy sleep habits even though your daily schedule has been turned upside down. Your dog needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day for a full-grown adult dog, and puppies need as many as 18 hours a day. When the family is away at work, the dog may be able to sleep. But, with everyone around all day long, this may disrupt you and your dog’s sleep patterns. Perhaps, place your dog’s bed in a quiet room. Or, make sure the family understands how important it is to let the dog sleep.
Before you jump to discipline or frustration when your dog exhibits strange behaviors, like growling, understand that their routine has changed just like yours has. However, they are not able to understand it as you can. Give them extra love and patience throughout these days at home. Never reward bad behavior, but don’t be too harsh on them right now either.
Remember not everyone is stuck at home
If you are a healthcare worker or other employee who now suddenly needs to be away for longer work hours during these lockdown days, your pet is feeling your absence. Reward your pet with a toy to keep them busy while you’re not there, and offer them plenty of affection and walking time when you are able.