Dogs, COVID and Return-to-Work

Dogs, COVID and Return-to-Work

With COVID restrictions now relaxed, and most of us now vaccinated/boosted, workplaces are opening up. Maybe you too are returning to work. Your canine companion (maybe a COVID pup?) who has been so close to you every day now has to adjust to being alone for longer periods. For some (especially ‘Covid puppies’) this can be quite unsettling resulting in anxious dogs, destructive behaviours.

To reduce the chance of stress for your dog (maybe for you too there are steps you can take in advance to prepare for the change. To start – leave your dog at home for short periods: maybe just 10 minutes to start. Don’t just disappear: make it clear that you are leaving the home but without any fuss or long goodbyes. When you return home, wait for your dog to be calm and relaxed before greeting them. Yes, the wait may take a further 10 minutes, but it is worth it – the idea is to reinforce the good behaviour in your dog – the self-control that will help your dog accept change, and be confident and relaxed even when you can’t be there.

Something else that will help: making time for some dog games first thing in the morning: take a walk, throw the ball, play tug-o-war: a burst of relatively high activity with your dog’s ‘favourite person’ before you leave for the day.

As you leave, maybe take your dog to their happiest place in the house (perhaps their comfy bed) and giving them a favourite treat or treat-toy. This gives them an activity to focus on as they adjust to a quiet house.

Dog treat toys are a great option to keep your dog physically and mentally occupied. Kong have well-proven options and are designed to last a long time. Or you can try making your own Treat Mat. You will need to begin training your dog with one of these toys under supervision, and to make sure they use the toy safely before leaving them unattended. More information can be found in our Blog Post from June 2020.

Another great way to help your dog cope when you return to work is to give them their own ‘obligations’ for the day: say regular attendance at one of Melbourne’s dog day-care centres – assuming there is a qualified professional dog care provider near you. (Of course, if you are near one of our three Dogdayz locations you’re especially well placed to give your dog a great day of adventure and activity indoors and outdoors.) Daycare at Dogdayz not only gives your dog a great day out but gives them the invaluable and enjoyable social experience of ‘just being a dog’ in company with other dogs: a great way to build the self-confidence to thrive in our busy post-lockdown world.