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Lockdown help for pet parents

02/02/2021 - Advice

Struggling to meet your dog’s needs whilst isolating or working from home?

Check out our training walks service.

How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting dogs
As a dog trainer I’m in regular contact with families whose dogs have been disrupted by lockdown.  Some pets were part way through training programs to help them cope with problem behaviours. Some have started to show signs of stress-related problems. Puppy parents are of course worried that their little ones could miss out on vital socialisation. And then there are the dogs with particularly busy brains. Energetic characters who think that humans are there to satisfy their need to play… which is great until you try to factor in home schooling or working from home.

Whatever your pet’s life stage, breed or temperament, lockdown is likely to have impacted their lives – certainly in the short term. But there is help to be had. Dog trainers have adapted their way of working so that pet parents can still get the support they need.

Top tips for helping your dog through lockdown

  1. Try to stick to a daily routine
  2. Spend a few minutes every day enjoying enrichment activities with your pet
  3. Try to build at least one daily walk in your routine
  4. Teach your dog how to settle and relax – that way you can get your work done without being hassled
  5. Be kind to yourself – dog training is not a race. All that matters is that you and your dog are safe and happy.
  6. If you are struggling with any aspect of your dog’s behaviour, ask for help. Dog trainers are still working – we’ve just had to adapt our businesses to keep everyone safe. 

Why lockdown makes dog training more important than ever
Dog training and dog walking may be more challenging this lockdown, but that doesn’t mean they should be put on the backburner. It’s difficult I know, when you are juggling work, home schooling, dreary weather and the stress of being apart from loved ones. But your dog is missing out too – and that could have a big impact on their behaviour.

Puppies and adolescent dogs in particular are at a crucial stage in their development when it comes to learning how to live peacefully among humans. Their little brains are like sponges at this age. They need to be finding out about the world, getting used to different sounds, sights and smells and understanding the best way to react to them. Dog trainers call this socialisation, and it’s a vital part of training.

Whatever age your dog may be, spending more time with them can also highlight some of the behaviours you’d rather they didn’t rehearse. Bin surfing, barking, chewing, following you around the house …. Many unwanted doggy behaviours will become less of a nuisance when your pet’s busy brain is given something else to do. A good walk combined with a training session is often enough to wear them out so that they sleep peacefully for hours when you get them home.

What if your dog’s behaviour makes walking miserable?
Even before lockdown, a large part of my job was helping people to solve their dog walking nightmares. Pulling on the lead, poor recall, fearful reactions, lunging at other dogs. There are all sorts of behaviours that make pet parents feel embarrassed, nervous and reluctant to go out for a walk.

But what if, during lockdown, you could still have hands-on help from a dog trainer? How about if someone were to train your pup for you so that your daily dog walks were no longer a battle? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just go for a relaxing walk with your dog to help the whole family cope with the stress of lockdown?

Many dog trainers offer training walks where they can do the hard work for you!

If this sounds like something you might be interested in you can read more here: https://www.nosey-barker.co.uk/face-to-face/training-walks/
There is no shame in asking for help. My van recently broke down and apart from look underneath the van and pop the bonnet for obvious restrictions I knew I needed someone who is qualified and experienced to do the job!