Help your dog to cope with changes of routine

Dogs thrive on a good routine, they’re creatures of habit and like to know when it’s time for walkies, dinner and play time. All dog’s need physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, our daily routines have gone out of the window and this has impacted us as well as our pets, especially dogs. Although we’ve been able to spend more quality time indoors with our dogs, we haven’t been sicking to our ‘normal’ working routines.

This has had a significant effect on puppies that have been taken on during lockdown. This has meant they’ve been growing up without experiencing outings and have always been used to seeing their owners at home.

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Dogs thrive on a good routine, they’re creatures of habit and like to know when it’s time for walkies, dinner and play time. All dog’s need physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, our daily routines have gone out of the window and this has impacted us as well as our pets, especially dogs. Although we’ve been able to spend more quality time indoors with our dogs, we haven’t been sicking to our ‘normal’ working routines.

This has had a significant effect on puppies that have been taken on during lockdown. This has meant they’ve been growing up without experiencing outings and have always been used to seeing their owners at home.

Things to consider

Now that the government has set out a roadmap of lifting lockdown restrictions, we all need to consider how our dogs are going to cope as our lives go back to how they were before COVID-19.

Will we be returning to the office? What about trips out to restaurants and pubs? Will you be going back to the gym or attending fitness classes again? If so, it’s important to think about how these changes will affect our canine companions.

What are the steps should you take?

Prepare

Preparation is key when it comes to thinking about returning to a routine. It is vitally important to do this gradually so it’s not a shock for your beloved dog. This will allow you time to work on anything that your dog might be struggling with.

Write a list

Jot down all the things that you might need to sort out, for example, will you need a dog sitter when you return to work? If you’re coming home a bit later than normal, will feeding times change? What about their training sessions and walks?

If you’re thinking about hiring a dog-sitter, read our article to help you choose one.

Take it slow

Gradually re-establishing an adult dog’s confidence when left home alone should be straight forward. However, for younger dogs this might be more challenging for them.   

  • Set your dog up for a busy day before you need to leave him. Take him for a good walk, followed by a short session of calm, but mentally tiring activity. This can be anything from reward-based training or a scent game, this will put your dog in the right state of mind before the next step…
  • Before you get ready to put on your coat, pick up your keys and leave, keep calm and create a peaceful environment to allow your dog to relax and settle.
  • Prepare a tasty treat that’s safe to leave for your dog while you’re out. You could try a stuffed Kong toy, or a Lickimat. Pop one of these down for your dog to enjoy while you get ready to leave.

Leaving something for your dog to chew on will allow them to concentrate and provide a welcome distraction, while promoting a calm mind state. If you’re still worried, check out our article: ‘How to leave your dog on their own’.

If, after following our advice you still think your dog is struggling to adjust to changes in their routine, don’t hesitate to contact our Pet Support Team for further advice here.