How are our furry friends handling the stress of the pandemic? Do they like having us around all the time? Well, according to a dog training expert I heard on the radio, if man’s best friend’s behavior has changed, then they may be stressed out. (I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the dog trainer, but he had some really good advice.)
If we are stressed out, our dogs may become stressed, too. Barking more than usual, destroying things or being super clingy are signs of stress. The trainer said the best thing to do is not yell at your dog when they are barking or rifling through the trash, but instead say, “Come!” Next, work with them for a few minutes so they get focused. Run through a few sits and stays. Our dogs live to please us and they are dying to work for us. Spending a few minutes throughout the day with short training sessions can change their destructive behavior and make them feel better.
In an article called Preventing pandemic-related pet anxiety now and later by Kristi King on WTOP.com, a Maryland radio station, a veterinarian offers advice for our pandemic-stressed pets. Here’s an excerpt:
A veterinarian has advice for helping pets get through the pandemic when everyone is home and when their owners return to work.
With all the family at home during the pandemic, pack animals such as dogs could not be happier to have everyone in the same roof. Some cats, on the other hand, not so much.
“I think it’s very smart to think proactively,” senior veterinarian at Chewy, Dr. Katy Nelson said.
If you’re a dog owner, Nelson recommends making adjustments now to help dogs that might experience separation anxiety when you’re not constantly around.
Start by resuming former routines you might have dropped, such as waking up, getting dressed and leaving the house.
“Whether it’s just for 30 minutes or an hour, where you go pick up a coffee through the drive-thru and you sit in your car for a while. It gives your pets a little bit of time without you,” she said.
If you can, Nelson said to try to make your departure time as similar to your usual workday routine. Some dogs might need to revisit the habit of having to spend time in their crates.
Signs of separation anxiety can include dogs destroying things or overly grooming themselves.
“Really good exercise can help a lot with these pets. A tired pet is a good pet,” Nelson said.
The article also talks about cats and typically they aren’t as happy as the puppers to have us around all the time. That’s because cats like to be left alone and they like privacy. They probably believe we are invading their space. Cats definitely differ from dogs — they aren’t living to please us.
How are your pets doing during the pandemic? How have their schedules and routines changed?