Kate-Scott Dyer – Dogs After LockDown

My first guest to Loving Life is Kate Scott-Dyer, a professional dog trainer and animal behaviourist for 15 years, who talks about our dogs (and cats) after Lockdown, a topical and important subject as the world moves forward from this difficult and strange time we’ve all been living through.

If you would like to become a Guest on Kit’s Loving Life, please contact me, either through this website or email me at kitdominoworld@gmail.com

Welcome, Katie, and over to you…

DOGS AFTER LOCKDOWN – WILL THEY MANAGE WITHOUT YOU?

It’s been a really long time since lockdown began, some of you may have been home all this time, some even longer and your dogs and cats have gotten used to extended periods with someone home. How will they manage when you suddenly go back to work and normal life? How will you manage? What is normal anyway?!

This article was prompted after seeing the results of a recent survey by Banfield Pet Hospital, which demonstrates owners are worried about leaving pets at home following lockdown. Click here for more info on this. It was also inspired by the amount of consults I’ve been doing with owners and adopters worried about this very thing.
 
I mentioned in a previous article on my own blog about enjoying the time with your dogs because unexpectedly being at home more could be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy quality time with your dog that you wouldn’t often have. I know mine loved having us around more and we found ways to enrich our lives with them we didn’t have the opportunity to do before. It also made me realise how little training I’ve done with Hattie since I adopted her a year ago, and that I should maybe try to find time to work more with her, much as I love having dogs with personalities and a quirky nature! More on this in another blog though.
 
Depending on your own circumstances, this could also be a challenge and you may have noticed behaviours that you hadn’t before that pose a problem or a risk. The additional home time has unveiled some issues for many people that they want to seek professional help for, with some of it being medically related – for instance, some clients have reported seizures they hadn’t realised were occurring before – some of it being behavioural – for instance, some clients have reported their dog barks excessively during the day.
 
Your pet might actually just re-adapt back to previous routines and not be worried about you being at work.
 

With lockdown restrictions being lifted for most people, the return to normal working patterns can also raise the issue of your dog or cat feeling anxiety at being separated from you. And as you are only human, you may be feeling anxiety at this time too.

But I have to work, Katie, what can I do for my dog?

Great question and I’m so glad you asked. This might be more complicated than it seems so I’ll keep it short.

  • If you are yet to return to normal work patterns, let’s put some plans in place to help your dog or cat now to ease the transition.

    • Self-settle practice is a good way to start and how this is achieved will depend on individual dog personalities and preferences.

    • Start weaning yourself from your dog, being mindful of doing this at your dog or cat’s level of comfort. I can’t over-emphasise this enough, go slowly.

    • Seek professional advice if you are unsure of how to achieve this, it’s always better to get help now rather than wait until the problem is worse.

  • If you have already gone back to work and your dog or cat is experiencing feelings of frustration or anxiety with you no longer being home, then seek professional help as soon as possible.

    • This may seem like an obvious thing for me to say but, honestly, there is no shame in reaching out. Professionals want to help you, be it veterinary or animal or human behaviour professionals. We seek to work collaboratively with you to help you and your dog or cat feel better.

    • Animals sense our emotions and affect them behaviourally and emotionally too, likewise we can be emotionally affected by our pet’s behaviours. Let’s all help each other have good mental health.

A secret between you and me – I know some people have enjoyed the non-social aspect of lockdown, so it’s all subjective as to how we have coped with restrictions in place for our safety. I admit I have liked my own personal space not being invaded as well as my dogs’ personal spaces not being invaded by off-lead dogs but, having asthma, I have been particularly mindful of staying safely away from other dog walkers even though it has frustrated my dogs as well myself. We are dog and people friendly but avoided people rather than risk breaking social distancing rules.

What things worry you most about post lockdown and your dog?

Thank you, Katie, for those great tips there. And readers, if you have any worries about your pets post lockdown do get in touch with Katie, either by contacting her direct, or leaving a comment below. 

Website: https://katiescottdyer.com

 

Worried about your dog after lockdown? Great advice here from professional dog behaviourist via Kit Domino’s Loving Life blog #dogs #dogtraining #animalbehaviour #pets

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