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How to prepare your dog (and yourself) for your inevitable return to normal routine

Many people have adopted a new dog during this crisis. Many shelters are worried about what will happen once life returns to “normal”. Some fear an influx of abandoned dogs in 4-5 months’ time. If you have adopted a dog during this pandemic, have you started planning for your return to the office? Are you prepared for the winter dog walks? How about readying your dog to be home alone while you are at the office and the kids are back at school?

The next few weeks and months are the perfect time to train your dog and get them used to being home alone for extended periods of time. Here are some tips to help them feel less anxious while you are out of the house:

  1. Find the safest place for your dog: Not all dogs are comfortable roaming the house freely. Perhaps a crate or a gated section of the house would be better for your dog. Or perhaps in a dedicated room. Each dog is different, so try different things out to find the right fit for your dog.
     
  2. Figure out how long your dog can be left alone: Does you dog have a weak bladder? Get anxious easily? Start off with shorter periods of alone time and work your way up to a full work day, if you can. This will help figure out what is best for your pup.
     
  3. Give them adequate time for their morning potty time: You may be in a rush in the morning, but your dog could care less. They need time to properly take care of their potty business before you leave for the day.
     
  4. Play music or put on the TV: Some dogs love listening to Mozart while their owners are away. Others love having Sports Center playing on the TV. If your dog seems to have their favorite show or music, put that on while you’re away and it will help them feel less anxious.
     
  5. Keep your curtains/blinds open: You might like your privacy, but your dog will appreciate being able to look outside during the day.
     
  6. Bring your dog for long walks: A well exercised dog will be less destructive. Take them for a long morning walk before work. The dog will be worn out and happier while you’re at work. And you get to benefit from the extra exercise too!

These are just a few tips and you might come up with others on your own. The main purpose is to get started on this now, so you have the time to put in the effort before you go back to your normal routine.

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