Pets respond to their humans being home.
My dogs, Davy and Ginger, and I have been spending a lot of time together since mid-March when COVID-19 rocked our world. I’ve been free to walk them more often and hang out with them. They have been great companions throughout and are practicing their obedience training and learning some fun new tricks while I catch up on a lot of reading.
I’ve also noticed some subtle differences in their behavior. Davy, my German Shepherd is more content to stay in the yard without me. Ginger, my Walker Hound, is more nervous on her walks because of all the extra people enjoying the outside. To lessen her stress, our walks have been shortened.
Nice to see you, now go away.
I did an informal survey of my friends with pets to see how their households are holding up. Many reported that their pets are confused about the humans being home so much. One cat servant noted their pet gives them a look that says, “Don’t you have someplace to be?” Other fur babies are clingy, and since pets are tuned in to our emotions, that could be because they are picking up our distress along with the change of routine.
Another pet owner reported, “My dogs DEMAND a long walk every day now. They’ve had more walks in the last 7 weeks than they have had their whole lives. My cats can’t get enough of us. I am grateful for this time with all of them.”
What do you mean you’re leaving?
In every case the pets and their humans have had to make adjustments from the dogs becoming personal trainers to cats who yowl when left alone in a room. And there will be readjustments when we’re allowed to go back to business as almost normal. This is especially problematic if your dog is a puppy, a young dog, or one that you recently adopted. It will be easier if you start preparing your pets now instead of letting them work it out on their own.
If your pets are already having separation anxiety just when you step out to get the mail, it is time to start retraining them to have confidence that you will return. Other forms of misbehavior like busting through the baby gates or taking over your bed and furniture need to be addressed before they get to be bigger problems with tougher solutions.
Go back to their basic training, change up your routine, and start to desensitize your pets to separation. If you find this retraining to be challenging, give me a call 252-635-2655 or drop me an email and I might be able to suggest some options for you. After all, we are all in this together!