I have had so many calls from concerned owners about their dogs’ weird behaviour in lockdown.
Dogs regressing to puppy-like chewing, demand barking, tail chasing, humping other dogs or people, unable to settle, barking in the garden etc.
If your dog is doing any of these things (or others) please don’t panic.
Although for the most part our sociable canine friends LOVE having us home more it has still disturbed the predictability of their day. Normally when we are out for extended periods (either at work or shopping or visiting friends or doing whatever it is that we do without them) our dogs rest.
When we come home from a tiring day at work we probably follow a similar routine of dinner, putting the kids to bed, tv etc. And our dogs have their role and their routine that slots in with us.
Fast forward to lockdown and everything looks a little different!
Not only do our dogs pick up on the anxiety that’s floating around everywhere they also want to be INVOLVED:
Mum’s home! Fab! Let’s play a game!
Dad’s home! Fab! Let’s follow and see what you’re doing over here in this room!
Kids are home! Fab! Let’s see if I can get a snack out of them!
For most dogs their nap time has been cut in half. Just like us, sleep is vital for recharging, repair, processing etc. I know how I feel after a bad night’s sleep and dogs need a hell of a lot more of it than we do!
Just like an overtired toddler, an overtired dog may not make that choice to put themselves to bed. Instead they might just make sure they aren’t missing out on family time over there instead….
And what happens when dogs are overtired? Displacement behaviour. Those irritable, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself’ feelings turn into barking, or chewing, nipping or whatever it is that helps your dog to feel better.
So what can you do?
Take it back to basics.
1. Enforce nap time. Make use of your crates, beds, quiet rooms and put your dog to bed for a nap
2. Monitor kids and help them to understand that the dog needs her rest and can’t play all day long (separate if needed)
3. Provide chews, lickimats and puzzle toys for your dog to enjoy independently (supervision from afar)
4. Reward calm behaviour
5. Keep a trigger record – note down certain naughty times of day and notice what happens just before or during those times
6. Make time for training. A 2-3 min training session learning something new is great “appropriate” stimulation for your dog and can be done waiting for the kettle to boil! They should flop down for a nap soon after.
This situation won’t last forever but it doesn’t mean you just have to wait it out when it comes to your dog. Putting some simple measures in place now will make it an easier time for everyone. For more tips like this be sure to check out:
DOG SCHOOL – Your Daily Lockdown Training Session in my private facebook group
Stay safe & keep training,
P.S We have a fun Bank Holiday Weekend impromptu challenge running in the facebook group – teach your dog to walk backwards on command and be in with the chance to win an Amazon voucher. Join the group to take part!