COVID-19 – Life during (and after) lockdown with your dog

COVID-19 – Life during (and after) lockdown with your dog

Do many of us remember what life was like pre-lockdown?  What about your dog?

At time of writing this post, it’s not yet clear how lockdown rules will be relaxed and what that means for each of us… and because this is a blog about dogs and dog behaviour, what will relaxation of lockdown mean for our dogs?

You already had a dog before lockdown… it was great at first, but some problem behaviours (barking or whining for attention, constant activity) are starting to appear…

If you already have a dog, did lockdown look like this for you and your dog?

  • Family members at home with your dog, all or most of the day
  • A good one hour’s walk as part of the daily exercise (and maybe even another walk or two carrying out essential activities)
  • A busy daily routine… working from home, home schooling your children, preparing every meal, planning activities to keep everyone in the household occupied, attending online fitness classes…

Your dog is enjoying having family around most of the day and it’s an oasis of calm and order… most of the time… Maybe your dog is whining or barking more for attention?  Stealing items and playing ‘keep away’?  Just generally having difficulty settling down for quiet time?

You got a new puppy or re-homed a dog during lockdown…  

Congratulations on your new family member if you did!  Being at home while your new puppy or dog settles in provides valuable bonding and training time.  The transition time from the pup’s previous home to yours is a crucial one in helping your dog feel part of the family.

In addition to trying to maintain a normal home life with family, you may have been working on house training, establishing a home routine (meals, bed time), and basic training for your new pup.  You feel like most of it is going ok for your pup and its training, but wish you had more direct support?

Lockdown has been a big change for all of us, dogs included!  Due to lockdown restrictions, in person puppy classes or in person dog training is not available.

But did you know that virtual dog training is available?

We can help with problem behaviours now (via virtual training) and work with you as a preventative measure for when lockdown restrictions are lifted.  (Preventative measures include leaving your dog at home during the school or work day, planning for routine visits to the vet, loose lead walking, or taking trips in the car.)

Benefits of Virtual Training:

For All Dogs

  • Convenience – no travel necessary, and can be scheduled to fit your daily routine
  • No distractions – from other dogs in the class; especially beneficial for dogs who are easily distracted or for nervous dogs
  • Observing your dog at home – the trainer can observe your dog with you and other family members in the home environment providing better coaching and support

For Puppies

  • Many puppies are still waiting for 1st and 2nd vaccinations; virtual training enables training to start in the safety of home environment

For Rescue Dogs

  • Introducing a rehomed dog to too many people in early days can be overwhelming for some dogs; virtual training enables training for your dog without having the trainer or other strangers physically present

Please get in touch with us if you would like virtual training support for your dog

So, what does lockdown look like in our house with our dog?

For the first three weeks, we enjoyed our mid-day hour exercise with Steffi.  The sun was shining, and other than missing our annual Easter break getaway, what was there to complain about?  We missed our regular walks in Richmond Park or driving to the Surrey Hills for countryside walks, but we made the most of our daily walks around the neighbourhood.

Part way through lockdown, Steffi dislocated her hip (jumping off the sofa, no less!), which resulted in an operation to repair the injury, and the beginning of a slow rehabilitation process for the 6-8 weeks following.  Not exactly what we’d planned… but when you’re given lemons, you make lemonade, right?

Our plan for the next 6-8 weeks:

  • Slowly building up the duration of Steffi’s walks
  • Daily home exercises to support muscle development and mobility of her hip (with guidance from vet physiotherapist)
  • Enrichment feeding and obedience training exercises to help tire her out mentally (she is still very energetic despite a hip that needs healing!)
  • Continuing to support the positive relationship between Steffi and our cat Ginger (helping them be more relaxed in each other’s company, building on our previous training)

Just like most people, we’re looking forward to enjoying the activities we miss the most; in the meantime, we hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.

Are you ready to enjoy a happy, well-mannered dog?  Then get in touch, we’d love to help.

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