The lifting of lockdown has been long awaited by us all, but bear in mind your dog has had you all to himself and we have spent much more time with our pets. If you are heading back to work or resuming your social life, take a little time to prepare your pet as change can be stressful.
If you have been a lockdown walker or as a family spend more time outdoors with your dog, suddenly reducing this time will leave your pet wondering what they did wrong. Boredom and lack of excercise can result in bad or destructive behaviour, now is the time to gradually increase the time your pet spends on their own
Leaving a radio on while you are out can help as this masks outside noises and can soothe an anxious pet. Providing a stimulating toy such as a Kong or tough toy can help.
Taking your dog for a walk before you leave them can help to tire them ready for a nap whilst you are away, try to leave them settled and with as little fuss as possible to avoid any stress for you and your dog !
Try some play or training sessions if you are unable to get out, this can use up some of that excess energy and stimulate their mind.
Teaching your dog not to follow you around the house is important as this helps when they are alone. Encourage them to spend time in their bed when you are occupied, place a treat in the bed for them to enjoy, this teaches them that their bed is a great place to be. If your dog does follow you around the house, avoid eye contact or speaking to them, this shows your dog that actually following you is boring. If your dog insists on being your shadow do not tell them off as this could confuse and make them anxious. Gently lead them back to their bed or favourite resting place and try again. Ignoring bad behaviour and treating good behaviour is rewarding for all involved.
Above all, be patient, your dog has also felt the stress of lockdown and may take time to adjust.