How to plan for Alone Time after Lockdown

How will our favourite furry shadow adjust, I mean let’s face it, we’ve been spending our eternal days with them. The furry shadow we’ve been tripping over, sitting with whilst reading a new novel or drinking your eleven’s ( am or pm!!!). Playing in the garden on new training games & tricks or good old ball games and stroking them as we watch the news reports on how the world is responding to this pandemic of epic proportions? 

We should really be thinking of how all of this will look and feel like for our dogs. Even the most resilient of dogs may find a sudden change in routine a bit difficult to cope with. 

It’s always best to have a little plan, this plan can be applied to all dogs, however, if your dog is suffering from severe separation-related behaviours before we went into LOCKDOWN, I would advise speaking to a qualified practitioner that can support you all as a family to help you find a solution advised for you. 

I have some suggestions to start preparing your dog as we are phasing out of LOCKDOWN and into our new normal. Helping our furry family member, or as in my case, both of us!!! Yes, I too am going to need some small inoculations of time apart from Rew. I’m sure you feel the same. 

Top TIP’s For Alone Time 

Tip 1:

Using your own environment to build up their confidence of being away from you in short durations, having your puppy or dog in another room whilst you make a phone call or send some emails, if closing a door is waaayyyy tooooo much, I would suggest a baby gate, to begin with, leaving them with their favourite treat in a kong, or licki mat. 

Tip 2:

Use your car to make that zoom call or what’s app chat to give you both a small period of time you’re not with them, take a coffee with you and expect some funny looks from your neighbours!!

Tip 3:

Create a safe place, this could be a chosen room that your puppy or dog always feels safe and comfortable, this will help you when it comes to leaving them. If you have a really young puppy, this should be a place that you know they can’t get into mischief in, so a small pen or if you’ve already crate trained a crate. 

Tip 4:

Try to build lots of associations with the items you may want to leave with your dogs like kongs, licki mats and stuffed treat dispensers, we want them to feel good when these items appear, so they don’t start to be suspicious that you only present these things when you leave. 

If any of the tips above are already TOOO MUCH for your puppy or dog, I would suggest speaking to a professional to devise a plan for YOUR dog, all dogs are different and ideal they will support you find the right solution for you and the family. 

Tails of Alone Time!! 

The Tail itself will help you understand how much detail your puppy or dog will be taking in on your daily routine and how their superpowers can even spot when something changes just a little, this is why so many dogs have jobs these days. Their superpowers of spotting the smallest change in body language are so amazing, being able to witness first hand from being involved with the Charity Veterans With Dogs. Knowing their superpower we know they are going spot when we prepare to leave, there are certain things that we do.  I had one client who would wear makeup when going out to work, so the moment the makeup bag came out, the worry and concern would start with the dog, so by the time the dog was being left the dog was already quite upset and frantic about this. What we do know about dogs, is that the more worked up they are, (people that work with me, will always hear me talk about the emotional bucket) the less likely any problem solving can happen and this is the time we see the behaviours related to being separated.

With the client and her makeup bag we were able to do a few things, the bag came out every morning paired with a fun and relaxing game for the dog regardless of her routine, so we changed the outcome of the makeup bag, the bag soon became a predictor of something that felt so much better than the worry or concern of being left. We had a plan in place to work alongside this activity to start to build the dogs FUNdamental Skillset with the focus of confidence-building exercises, all through kind and supportive learning.

The learning from this for you would be to think of all those predictable things that you do whilst getting ready to leave the house and work on making them a non-event but changing the outcome of them, so grabbing a rucksack or handbag for work = a calm game for instance. 

How I can Help

If you would like a bit more of an idea on some of the FUNdamental Skills I would be focusing on, you can sign up to my TIPS & TAILS Opt-In HERE 

If you would like a more detailed plan and support designed for your dog on overcoming any separated related behaviours you can book a free discovery call on how I design a programme for you HERE