Many pet owners have noticed that as thrilled as their dogs are to have them home 24/7, Fido isn’t himself. Even though they are not watching the evening news, often they pick up the stress from us.
So we asked Aaron Hill, founder with his wife Leigh of Pets In The City
which provides expert dog training as well as walks/hikes and boarding, how to help our four-legged family members.
AARON: Yes, I have seen increased anxiety in animals, and I am still in constant contact with my clients and friends with pets, and they have all been noticing it too.
SIGNS YOUR DOG MAY BE STRESSED:
-Heavy panting (when there is no real reason to be panting)
-Change in appetite (eating more or less)
Bottom line is their routines have shifted dramatically, which can easily cause stress and aggression to come out in dogs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR DOG BE LESS STRESSED (AND YOU WILL BE LESS STRESSED TOO!)
-Try to maintain their “normal” schedule. If your dog was used to walking at 7am and 5pm pre-quarantine, try to keep those walk times as close to the same as possible (this will also help you and your pet when you return to work).
-Come up with ways to keep your pet mentally and physically engaged. A great way to do this is to play a quick game of hide and seek! You can be the hider, or you can hide his favorite treat but allow him to use his nose to find either.
-Walk your dog in a new neighborhood. Pop him in the car and drive to a new area and your dog will have all new smells to sniff!
-Include your dog in whatever family activity you are doing. If you are playing a card game, let him sit next to you on the floor. Keeping him “part of the team” will decrease his anxiety.
-Tire him out! The old standby….without pushing him to exhaustion of course. But a great game of chuck-it or chasing a ball around the yard will help him sleep better.
-Be mindful of your own stress during these times. When we are stressed and anxious, our dogs tend to develop the same feelings. Just be cognizant of how you are managing your stress so your pup doesn’t pick up on it too. I always say, I train the owner, not the dog!!
Lastly, reach out to your dog trainer if you need more hands-on assistance! Most of us are still doing FaceTime and Zoom calls.
171 Pier Ave. #413
Santa Monica, CA 90405