Your Dogs Have to Adjust to Life During Coronavirus, Too

Traverse City Trainer Discusses Helping Your Pets in Unusual Times

After lots of isolation time during the Coronavirus, people are starting to ease back into a new work schedule.

But that may take some getting used to for you – and your dog.

That’s especially true if you recently adopted a new family member.

All that “togetherness” at home is starting to change. Dogs3

Jennifer Loup is a dog trainer with Loupine, LLC in Traverse City.

“I’m sure some dogs have been more stressed with this as people are taking on more stress.”

One way people are dealing with the stress of the pandemic has been to welcome a new member of the family.

Loup says she’s seeing “a lot of adoptions. A lot of new dogs.”

But for weeks – or months – many dogs have only known their own house and their own families.

“My biggest concern has been people who adopted puppies and haven’t been able to get them out much for socialization. Being out in the world and seeing other dogs and other people. Same with the rescues too.”

Dogs4Loup says dogs can adjust – but they need variety.

“I think dogs really do enjoy variety. Routine can be our friend when we have a new dog, a puppy or a rescue. But eventually, we want to change it up anyway.”

Her training classes have been very busy.

“I think people are enjoying the time with their dogs. I don’t think people have been doing a lot of training, even though they have all this time with them. I think we’ll see more in the next few months.”

Erika Cotner now has “Ollie” – her second dog but first time in training.

“I realized how important dog training is after I did not choose the best route the first time,” she laughs.

“In order to make my life easier, and the dog’s life happier, I thought it was a good idea.”

Cotner has been working from home and has had lots of extra time with Ollie.

But that will be changing.

“It will be interesting to see how he adapts when I go back to office life. Hasn’t been decided or determined when yet, so who knows? And training is more important than ever before now that we’re spending time together.”Dogs5

Loup says that’s a common concern these days.

“If your dog is used to you being around a while, and maybe that’s the only thing they’ve known if you’ve just acquired a new puppy or a rescue, then you need to figure out a way to help them with that transition.”

If you’re moving back to regular days at the office, try to ease into it for the sake of your dog.

“One of the hardest things I think right now with the transition is to do it slowly so it’s not so abrupt. If you have a neighbor that can come by and let them out in the middle of the day. Maybe there’s a kid home that might want to do some walking for you. Kind of break up something (in the day) so it’s not ‘oh, I had someone always available’ and now someone’s not available for eight hours.”

Dogs2Loup also says in some cases of stress or anxiety, dogs can be left in confined space or a crate – complete with toys to play with and things to chew on while you’re away from home.

“If you are going from being home all the time to now you need to have a regular workday, seeing if you have someone can break up that day for them. Seeing if you can leave your dog with toys and puzzles and food dispensing things so they have something to do.”

Loup adds that exercise and activity are the keys.

“It usually has to do with making sure they have enough exercise. And also these kinds of mental activities. There’s a lot of things you can set your dog up with when you leave, to get them used to the idea, that they have something to, that they’ll be entertained, and also that you’ll come back.” Dogs1

As you start to spend more time back in the office, your dog may be spending more time with the kids.

And that can create another dilemma to solve.

“Oftentimes dogs will develop a relationship, a closer relationship, with some people in the family. And so the more that everyone works with them, and the more everyone has consistent rules, the better they’ll be able to understand what everyone expects.”

And changing “who’s the boss” can be a stressful transition for everyone.

“Dogs do very much pick up on tension in a household… some dogs are more sensitive than others. And so if you are seeing behavioral problems, we have to address how everyone is treating things and how everyone is feeling. So I’m sure some dogs have been more stressed with this as people are taking on more stress.”

That may mean leaving for a few hours at a time before you jump right back to a full-time work schedule.

You can learn more about training from Loupine, LLC here.

For more on finding a trainer, see this link from the American Animal Hospital Association.