COVID-19: How To Help Your Quarantine Pup Transition To A Regular Schedule
As the COVID-19 pandemic rocks the globe, people are finding themselves quarantined in their homes for months on end. With minimal social contact and many being furloughed from their day jobs, countless people have chosen to adopt a pet including many puppies to be their quarantine companions. In fact, many animal shelters across America have seen empty cages due to the uptick of adoptions since the pandemic began.
The heartening increase in adoptions gives light and hope to what has been a dark situation for many across the country. However, just as shelters urge people to understand that there are always going to be more animals in need going forward, The Pet Gal team hopes to educate new pet owners on how to prioritize at-home training to help dogs and puppies adjust to life post-quarantine.
Quarantine Routines Don’t Accurately Reflect Everyday Life to New Pets
Currently, many newly adopted dogs and puppies find themselves sheltering in place with their forever families. This is a wonderful time for bonding, training, and acclimating to their new environment, however, it can set the tone of a routine that does not accurately reflect what their everyday life will look like once quarantine ends.
As it stands, newly adopted animals are spending nearly every second of the day with their family while their new pet parents work from home or stay sheltered in place. As a result, puppies and dogs will create intense bonds that will inevitably lay the groundwork for severe separation anxiety when quarantine is over. If not properly trained and acclimated to alone time, it will be very difficult for new pets when they are left alone for the first time.
Promote Alone Time Even While Sheltering in Place
To ensure your new puppy or dog does not act out with potty training regression, barking, destructive chewing, or dangerous separation anxiety-induced behavior like self-harm, take the time now to implement routines in which the dog spends some time by itself or with someone else, such as a pet sitter or dog walker, every day.
It is paramount to the pet’s post-quarantine transition that they get used to being alone now. The best way to do this while sheltering in place is to ensure your pet spends a little time away from you every single day. This could mean them taking a nap in a different room, spending some time in a safe, fenced-in yard on their own, or being left in their kennel or playpen alone while you go for a walk. It could also mean hiring a local dog walker to take your pet on a walk every once and while. By acclimating your new puppy or dog to time on their own, they’re less likely to have separation anxiety when life gets back to normal.
At-Home Training Sessions Keep Dogs Engaged
Another step pet parents can take to alleviate post-quarantine pet stress is to do at-home training courses to keep their pets occupied and busy. Dogs, especially puppies, thrive on mentally-stimulating activity and being given “jobs”, which are tasks to do that earn things of value, such as food, treats, pets, and experiences. Dogs who regularly have tricks to learn, toys to play with and jobs to do are less likely to experience separation anxiety in the long run. Plus, there’s the added bonus of behavior and obedience training, which is always valuable!
Tara Stermer, Owner & Head Trainer at K9 Workingmind is offering online training courses via Zoom as well as informative webinars to help pet parents keep their dogs and puppies occupied with enrichment and training. Her online training programs such as basic obedience and her webinars on topics such as separation anxiety, Tara and her team offer pet parents invaluable resources for getting their dogs through quarantine and beyond.
Dog Walking or Pet Sitting During Quarantine Helps Dogs Socialize
Throughout quarantine, pet parents can help their dogs socialize and become used to being without their parents by hiring local pet sitters or dog walkers to spend time with them outdoors. This is especially important for people who will return to work soon and will need the services of a sitter or walker once things get back to normal. Hiring dog walkers or sitters now allows pets to get to know their sitter and also helps support local businesses during these uncertain times.
The Pet Gal has been extremely fortunate to have been able to continue to provide dog walking and pet sitting services to our client base of essential workers throughout Austin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our sitters follow CDC guidelines by wearing PPE, sanitizing regularly, and limiting human contact. We are more than happy to help newly adopted pets adjust by taking them on walks or having backyard playtime even while pet parents are at home.Pet Gal Kirstie.